ROCKVILLE, Md - Rehearsal before opening night. Practice before the big game. What's it like before the opening of a big restaurant?
There was hustling, and quite a bit of activity in the kitchen at Chef Geoff's new restaurant at 12256 Rockville Pike in Rockville Tuesday.
It was noisy as cooks, servers and dishwashers scurry around with the boss watching every move.
"They have to memorize every item that's in every single dish. They have to learn about our entire wine program," says owner Geoff Tracy, who prefers to be called simply "Chef Geoff."
Standing in the kitchen, with the smell of a dozen dishes being cooked, was one of the two sous-chefs, Chef Max, wearing a baseball cap, and talking like an athlete before the big game.
"We're not afraid. We mean business," he says as Chef Geoff notes that Max has been transferred from one of his other restaurants to take on the job.
It took Tracy 10 months to get the restaurant ready to open, from the day he signed the lease until Wednesday when the first customers will arrive for lunch.
There were nine days of training for the staff, including two days when they actually served customers, patrons of Tracy's other restaurants who received special invitations.
Tracy says his staff got a "C" the first day, an "A-minus" Tuesday.
As for the customers?
"I told them it was going to be like getting a haircut at a barber schools. Sometimes the haircuts are good, sometimes not so good," Tracy says.
Joe Fitzgerald, a regular at Chef Geoff's on New Mexico Avenue in the District who was filling out a comment card, says the food at the new place was just as good.
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