WENATCHEE — There are seven restaurants under the Visconti’s umbrella and all are stretched thin. Most of the kitchens are small and struggle to keep up with the restaurants’ booming business and side catering gigs.
“We don’t have the facilities to really go to the next level of what we want to do,” said co-owner Dan Carr.
But reinforcements are on the way — in two months Visconti’s will open an 18,000-square-foot food prep and production facility in the 1500 block of North Miller Street, next to the Super 8 motel.
There’s a dedicated bakery space that will bake bread for all the restaurants and a gelato-production space that’ll churn out product for Ice, Fire’s sister shop in Pybus, and Viadolce in Leavenworth.
The facility also has a prep kitchen to make anything from sauces to desserts that the restaurants might need.
But the production facility will stick to prepping products that can be made ahead of time; each restaurant will still cook, prepare, plate and serve individual meals to-order, Carr said.
“That way the people in the restaurants can focus on finishing and using the products we make here to finish the dishes,” he said.
Four or five of the kitchen staff will move to this location, but several more hires will need to be made to keep up, Carr said.
“I think there will be a dozen new jobs here in the first year and there could be more later,” he said.
More staff and more space will also allow the company to expand the array of food it can make in-house, Carr said.
“Right now, we can make focaccia and baguette-style bread but that’s all we can produce,” he said. “There’s so many other things we’d like to produce for our restaurants. Down at Fire we make an incredible hamburger, but we have to buy the bun.”
All the company’s catering will also be run out of the building. There’s also a large production space for the company’s salami, sausage and jerky business, Cured, which just won the American Cured Meat Championship for its beef jerky.
Last year, Cured produced 150,000 pounds of product. The new production space will allow the company to at least triple its output, Carr said.
Then, once the production facility is complete, Carr said he plans to turn to the Fire and Ice shops in Pybus.
“When this is done and open and going, we’re going to look at doing a remodel down at Fire. Right now, it’s got a tiny kitchen that can’t keep up,” he said. “By having this facility available to us, that restaurant will be able to flourish and do anything and everything we want it to do.”
Along every step of the way, the company’s goal is to make all the restaurants more efficient while maintaining quality, Carr said.
“The whole concept with Visconti’s is I like to call it an organic company,” he said. “Everything we have done has been out of necessity to service the other restaurants. Everything was created to make the originals even better.”