Case Study: Duke'S on 7

Case Study:
Duke'S on 7

Minnetonka, MN

Restaurant Design, Equipment Supply & Installation

Luke Derheim, co-owner of Craft & Crew Hospitality, has developed several restaurants in and around the Minneapolis, MN area: The Block in St. Louis Park, Pub 819 in Hopkins, The Bar Draft House in Hastings, Stanley’s in NE Minneapolis and The Howe Daily Restaurant on Minneapolis’ south side (the last two being prior remodel projects with Boelter). He began his working relationship with Boelter Premier as far back as 2014. His latest project, Duke’S on 7, initiated early discussions in July of 2020, at a time when the restaurant and bar industry was recovering from devastating losses due to the ongoing pandemic.

Luke approached Gus Parpas – then owner of Christos, a Greek Restaurant in Minnetonka – to discuss the possibility of purchasing his building and the interesting restaurant history that came with it. In the 1980s, the building was home to a local Shakey's Pizza restaurant, a staple of Midwestern culinary culture. After that it was remodeled into Sydney's, a traditional American cuisine restaurant. Eventually, it transformed into the Greek-inspired restaurant, Christos. Gus Parpas was the tenant and owner/operator of Christos for more than 15 years, and he still owns a separate location in Minneapolis.


After a few months of negotiations with Gus Parpas, Luke was able to secure a deal and immediately began working with Robert Machacek, Boelter’s Project Manager. Robert kicked off the project with a thorough inspection of the building prior to its closing, providing valuable insight into initial design options and an evaluation of what would work and what may prove to be more of a challenge. This assessment resulted in a redesign of the entire building – from the top down – including replacement of all existing plumbing and a complete overhaul of the HVAC system. In fact, very little of the building’s original features or utilities were able to be salvaged or repurposed for continued use.

“Duke’S on 7 is about 40 to 50% larger than any of our other locations. The design efforts and working with Robert was great! Putting everything in the right spot to make it the most efficient kitchen possible has made all the difference.”


Industry Experience

Leaning on his years of experience in the industry, Robert identified approximately 90% of the original kitchen equipment that needed replacement. Some of the equipment would not fit into the new design, while other pieces of equipment were simply too outdated to be safely and efficiently used. After the architect provided the initial set of plans, Robert and Luke begin working together closely to further refine both the bar and kitchen area layouts.

While reviewing the architect’s plans, it was noted that the kitchen space was too small to meet the needs of this new restaurant. Not entirely uncommon when developing a new restaurant, there are always discussions between the value of a larger kitchen and the space needed at the front of the house. Although it’s important to have adequate seating capacity to consistently host a larger customer base, Luke determined that in order to serve his customers in the manner intended, he needed to get creative with the kitchen and look for opportunities to increase the overall square footage. The decision was made to adjust the kitchen space with smartly designed structural changes that would better accommodate for a more functional and efficient kitchen workflow.


As the project progressed, special attention was given to the development of a variety of pick-up, production and prep lines, allowing the kitchen space to achieve a more fluid design. Robert installed the necessary refrigeration, self-contained rotisserie and cook and hold ventless cooking equipment that would more than accommodate for the restaurant’s expanding menu. Luke’s consistent flexibility and consideration of interim plan changes during the construction process made the installation and kitchen development a great success.


A Refined Design

Another important design feature of the kitchen was the addition of multiple shelving options that would promote an increased number of orders, including a greater focus on the landing spots for their to-go and delivery service. To better accomplish this, Robert spent time visiting the other restaurants that Luke co-owns to evaluate and build upon those existing designs to develop a more robust solution. What resulted was multiple drop windows for enhanced efficiency and the installation of a triple pass shelf designed to add greater capacity to the order pickup area.

“The nice thing about working with Luke is his willingness to adapt and not being limited to the initial plan. He was also willing to listen to alternate ideas and changes to ensure that the final project was the best that it could be.”


During the initial walkthrough inspection, a large, outdoor area was selected to build out an area that would accommodate for additional seating and enhanced customer service. Looking beyond the shrubbery and collection of garbage cans the space was currently reserved for, the development team planned something truly unique; something that would become a signature component of Duke’S on 7. From hard work and creative thinking, Luke’s newest restaurant went from a 20-seat establishment to accommodating for more than 170 customers with the addition of the outdoor patio and 14-person bar.


Unique and Friendly

What makes this added space truly special to a growing percentage of the population is the focus that it has on our 4-legged friends. Adding a 9-item dog menu – including a 3-course meal – a dog-sized yoga mat to lay on and a variety of dog treats to choose from, this dog-friendly area became the added driver for creating a welcoming and more inclusive restaurant for customers and their furry companions. Plans are already being considered to install an all-season pergola over a third of the patio space, making this a year-round feature.


The Duke’S on 7 bar offers a wide selection of beer with more than 20 different taps to choose from, many of which promote the local craft beer scene. But the bigger focus for the outdoor bar is their large industrial slushy makers. Featured as the cornerstone of their bar program, they offer a unique twist on the summer slushy drink, with several of their slushy recipes served with alcohol. The main attraction, and one of their most popular drink menu item orders, is a 32-ounce slushy that’s perfect for the entire table to share.

“Robert knows before even being asked what my responses are going to be or the direction we want to go. Whether it's bar equipment or kitchen equipment, our strong relationship with Robert and Boelter has helped with the process, saving time and money when you're dealing with a project like this.”


As has been done with his other new restaurant openings, Luke conducted a variety of market research, including surveys and social media engagement to level set community interest. Working from an overwhelming response and acknowledging a high interest in this style of restaurant, Duke’S on 7 was able to more clearly develop their larger concept and better identify their menu items – from vegetarian and gluten free options to the classic burger and fried chicken sandwiches – well before breaking ground and beginning the project. Since opening their doors in June of 2021, the reception has been incredibly positive and the future looks busy for Luke and the entire Duke’S on 7 team.


“It’s really important that when you're working with somebody like Robert that he not only has the guidance and knows what goes where, but then to have the drawings and the backend support, because when you're doing a project like this, it's easy for things to fall apart. Robert’s work has been invaluable.”


Interested in learning more about how we can help your operation? Get in touch with a Boelter expert today.


Robert Machacek has more than 21 years in the industry and specializes in kitchen layout and design from the ground up, placing an emphasis on function, flow, energy usage and code compliance.

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