Tom Capobianco and his HAFSCO team constantly find themselves in the most challenging of positions. Over the past decade, they have become the preferred kitchen design/build choice for many of Metro New York’s most legendary Country Clubs. With that reputation has come the responsibility of having to deal with clubhouses which date back 100 plus years so in most cases, the kitchens have not been upgraded.
Once again, with the 2018 club season on the horizon, West Haven, CT based HAFSCO has been entrusted with a number of major club renovation projects in the Tri-State region. Glen Head Country Club, founded in 1947, is regarded as one of the finest family centered clubs on Long Island. It is situated on over 160 acres of land encompassing a world-class golf course.
For the club’s manager Luis Nunez, the challenge was to get ready for the new season with a new kitchen among a list of projects that included a bunker renovation project, installation of a state of the art emergency generator, renovation of the first floor of the clubhouse, including a lady’s locker room with a new bridal suite.
With that very full plate in mind, it was essential that Nunez select a kitchen design resource that could carry the proverbial ball while he dealt with his extensive agenda. Prior to taking the reins at Glen Head in 2008, Nunez, served as the Assistant General Manager at Fresh Meadow Country Club and the Larchmont Shore Club.
The strength of the Nunez management style is his ability to keep his finger on the pulse of the needs of club members. “During my tenure, the needs of our members have evolved significantly. We went from a very traditional old fashion club to a more casual, family centered, high-energy vibrant and very active atmosphere for our members. The recent renovations of the club show the style and vibrancy of our current membership. We have changed the traditional country club look with dark woods and heavy fabrics to a more transitional look. A complete change for our club to a much fresher look which represents our membership of today.”
So, Nunez sought HAFSCO for their ability to turn those needs into a kitchen that would reflect the “new vibe” at Glen Head. The Long Island club’s kitchen itself was the original from 1947 and they just kept adding equipment, as they needed to. “We called it the ‘Runway’ if you thought of the most inefficient way of setting up a kitchen, well then you are describing the old GHCC kitchen,” Nunez lamented.
Glen Head started the planning of renovating the kitchen in 2015 but the work was actually done during the winter of 2016. “We are absolutely thrilled with the final product,” Nunez noted. “We received bids from a number of kitchen designers and kitchen equipment suppliers. However, we felt really comfortable when we met with Tommy. He was very receptive and understood our needs. He designed a kitchen which included the essentials to satisfy our membership needs and wants but most importantly, included so many features to help us improve our efficiency in all aspects of our food and beverage program,” added the veteran club executive.
The goal for the Glen Head/HAFSCO team was to create and execute a design that would improve efficiency and flow of the kitchen. In addition, as with many of the projects in the HAFSCO portfolio, Capobianco is sought after to help clubs specify and install an equipment package that blends the right equipment to support a club’s a la carte and catering demands.
With HAFSCO’s guidance, what had been a formerly disorganized energy wasting design layout due to age was converted into a state of the industry design. The new design simplified and condensed the spaces, and made it much easier for Glen Head culinary and wait staff teams to navigate.
“They do a tremendous amount of garde manger prep,” Capobianco added. They are closed three months of the year so, while operating in the warmer months, I knew that salad prep was a key and we had to move it closer to make it flow efficiently. It’s interesting when you work in a space as big as this that it can actually be more challenging. The equipment might fit but you have to make sure that you are focused on how far someone needs to move from the line or to get to a walk in.”
Another of the Capobianco/HAFSCO signatures is the creative design of dish and ware washing suites for their client clubs. “We created a large good size area for ware washing and then I created another satellite area for their steamers and skillets on the back line and then hid a walk-in cooler. We were able to create a pantry area behind the walk-in coolers while dealing with the challenge of a very low ceiling.”
“By thinking about the creation of smaller spaces within the overall plan, we were able to build a bakery downstairs with a dedicated walk in cooler. We even added an elevator to serve the bakery and its pan racks.”
The independent station theme also enabled the HAFSCO team to dedicate the right footprint for a club that truly loves its sushi. They actually were able to create a flow so that sushi could easily be prepped and served in the main banquet area.
“When I see a large space like this, one of my priorities is to minimize “schlepping.” So, my design approach was to install a walk in with a glass door that could easily accommodate the wait staff,” Capobianco continued. “There was a lot of room in this kitchen and I didn’t want to have them walking all the way back to the walk in so I put in a glass door to accommodate the wait staff. By hinging the door right, they could easily access the salad dressings and then I installed a dual door to maximize food safety and another glass door built into the walk-in cooler on the exterior where they could get their extra salads, do their crumbling and whatever they needed.”
“Our new kitchen has already made significant impact in the overall efficiency of our food program,” Nunez concluded. “The Glen Head Country Club is able to provide our members with a variety of menus which in prior years were not an option. We are also able to service our private banquets in a more effective and efficient manner which translates to positive financial results for our club.”
To learn more about HAFSCO and the industry experience they brought to Glen Head Country Club, please visit their website.