Cow Palace Inn Kitchen Set to Cook

The Cow Palace Inn recently turned another corner in the motel’s comprehensive renovation project. The long awaited kitchen equipment has been installed. Manager Doug Thrall said Friday, February 10, “We’re waiting for a final inspection from the county health department and we hope that will happen this Wednesday. If we get the green light, we’ll used the kitchen to prepare the dinner for the annual PCDI meeting.”  A limited menu is currently featured for dining in the lounge.   Thrall and Chef Enrique Guerrero explained that the grill and the food preparation area in the outer courtyard will also be remodeled before it’s brought on line. A divider wall on the south side of the grill area will be halved in height and rebuilt so diners can watch the meals being prepared, or take their meals from a counter area.

Grills and Fry Station in Kitchen

The inner dining area is being remodeled. Thrall said, “We’re lowering those elevated bench seats on the east side of the dining area and taking out that small divider wall as well,” adding that those extra steps made it difficult for the waitresses to serve customers. Guerrero said the cooks and wait staff is being trained to use computerized menus from their stations, and he expects a diner will have to wait no more than nine minutes for their main course. There are two refrigerated meat storage areas directly underneath the grill, eliminating a run to the walk-in when someone orders a steak or burger which will also save time in meal preparation.

New Entryway to Inner Courtyard

The fireplace which used to connect the bar to the dining room is gone, replaced by a wide entryway that allows motel patrons to get to their rooms directly, without having to carry their luggage either through the bar or dining area to reach their rooms on the inner courtyard. The bar, renamed the Branding Iron Lounge, now has seven flat screen tv’s on three of the four walls and the floor plan will be renovated. Much of the motel’s new decor will reflect a more western image or theme.

Carpenters are preparing the pool and hot tub area. The replacement hot tub is a smaller model, but additional seating surrounding it will be available on a new redwood deck. The pool is being sandblasted for a new surface area, after which the pool and walk area will receive a new paint scheme. The pool’s black metal security fence will also be lowered in height and a pool bar is being added. Thrall said large-bladed decorative fans are being installed in the ceiling; the blue support beams to the high ceiling are being painted a terra cotta color, and extensive work was done where the main building’s roof and walls met. Thrall said when renovations began, workers noticed that some shrinkage of the old materials had bubbled and created a dam at the roof’s edge where water would collect.

Thrall also said the Cow Palace Inn employees are now working in teams. Housecleaning, bar and restaurant and reception and motel staff are eligible for bonuses for productivity. Noting that motels traditionally have a lot of staff turnover, he said the Cow Palace Inn is now offering medical benefits for all employees.

by Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCountyEconomyEmploymentFestivalLamarTourism


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