I was approached by the company managing the highly acclaimed Uchi restaurants in Texas area for a revamp of the host and hostess stand there. The original one was made out of walnut plywood and it had been showing some wear and tear for awhile now. My clients wanted to use locally sourced spalted pecan to match the other furniture in the restaurant.
I went to my favorite local sawmill Berdoll Sawmill in Cypress Creek, TX to get the spalted pecan. Spalted wood is beautiful, but it can be too busy if used without restraint. The front, sides, and the legs are spalted pecan, but everything else is made from hickory plywood to give it a nice contrast without the contrast being too stark. I allowed a expansion gap in the center of the front so the solid wood pecan could move freely without cracking.
This new host stand was an opportunity to correct/add details that improved the functionality of the host stand. The first improvement was creating one of the legs hollow so the power cord can be discreetly fed through the cabinet and up to the top surface. Another improvement was creating a recessed area for the monitor to sit in. The clients wanted the customer’s first interaction with the friendly hosts and hostess to be unobstructed by distractions. The sides and the front is raised up front the top surface for this purpose- to hide any clutter that accumulates during a busy dinner service.
In the cabinet, there are 3 doors, 1 drawer, and 1 cubby area. On the side, there is a little menu holder made out of spalted pecan. I chose a toned down board of spalted pecan for the menu holder so there’s a bit of a contrast.
This was a fun project that meant a great deal to me. When I first moved to Austin and I was looking for a job, I worked as a prep chef there briefly until I could get my bearings in town and go work for a guitar maker. I recall my brief time there with warmth. The chefs and everyone there were extremely friendly and the buzz I felt during dinner service was intoxicating. I always wonder what would have happened if I stayed there instead of pursuing my woodworking career.