Counter 3 Counters the Norm with a “Chef’s Table” Dining Concept

There’s a new formula for fine dining, and it includes the numbers three, five and seven. COUNTER 3. FIVE. VII, an inventive counter-style restaurant, is on a mission to bring chefs back to the forefront of fine dining. The restaurant’s eclectic Chef’s-table design, the first of its kind in the Austin community, envelops patrons in an intimate dinner party style setting, providing them with exquisite food and esoteric wines in a sleek, yet comfortable space.

COUNTER 3. FIVE. VII was founded by two chefs, Eric Earthman and Lawrence Kocurek, who were “over” the exhaustive and demotivating restaurant mentality and culture. Eric and Lawrence new they wanted to do something more – more for themselves, other chefs, those who thrive on working in the industry and of course, those who love food. After many texts, calls and emails between the two, Lawrence proposed the idea of a restaurant where patrons would feel like they were enjoying an intimate dinner party hosted by some of their closest top-notch chef friends. Larry and Eric’s dream and vision is now a reality, and guests now only have to decide how many courses their culinary journey will be: 3, FIVE or VII.

To continue with their progressive vision, it’s not one chef shouting down his menu to the staff; instead, all of the chefs dream up the menu together — ideas and creativity are embraced, not shunned. As if that’s not enough, all of the chefs are salaried and, in lieu of gratuity, a capped 18 percent service charge is applied and shared amongst the staff. You will never see a gratuity line on the bill. The COUNTER 3. FIVE. VII experience is genuinely one-of-a-kind with no servers, no tables, no menu options, no prep kitchen, no barbacks, and limited seating to ensure everyone has the best seat in the house.
“There are three chef de cuisines, which is unheard of in the industry, one pastry chef, a sommelier and sommelier assistant, plus the maître d’ and that’s it. We really have minimized certain areas to maximize output and return in others, like ensuring our staff gets more in their pockets, leading to a happier, more invigorated team,” said chef partner Lawrence Kocurek. “We truly had a desire to revolutionize the restaurant industry and wanted to provide a sense of ownership and pride in what we do for ourselves and our teammates.”
Chefs Eric Earthman and Lawrence Kocurek Upend Restaurant Industry’s Status Quo with Immersive Dining Experience and Forward-Thinking Practices from the Front to the Back of the House
This progressive thinking is infused in everything the staff at COUNTER 3. FIVE. VII does, including
the food and wines. All sodas are crafted by hand and all of their charcuterie is completed in-house. They are the only Austin restaurant to utilize an Urban Cultivator – an indoor growing system that is used to cultivate and grow the restaurant’s greens every day. The food at COUNTER 3. FIVE. VII is imaginative, inspired and approachable and, as they like to say, playfully clever. The wine list will change with the menu and is helmed by sommelier Jason Huerta, who brings an array of accomplishments to COUNTER 3. FIVE. VII, including winning TEXSOM’s Texas’ Best Sommelier Competition in 2010, being certified as a Level III sommelier, and most recently being invited to achieve his Level IV Master Sommelier Diploma.
The physical space and location of the restaurant is as equally as superb as the food and chefs behind the counter. The space was restrictive since, one, it was an old building and two, there are neighbors above, below and on both sides, making this a true adaptive reuse project. It wasn’t easy designing the entire infrastructure needed to run a restaurant, but Jamie Chioco’s team somehow managed to fit it all in and really bring to life the founders’ vision. “When they first approached me I thought it would be a great opportunity to help them develop an environment around a very interesting dining concept,” said Jamie Chioco of Chioco Design. “The interaction between chef and diner, and then diner with the food was the most important, so we kept the design simple and straightforward, akin to a chef plating on a white plate. We want the food and experience to shine.”
The vision of COUNTER 3. FIVE. VII. is to be the premiere Chef’s-table style restaurant in Austin that will truly delight diners. With a chef-driven experience that has progressive yet approachable food, Earthman and Kocurek’s counter-style concept is sure to revolutionize the restaurant industry. For more information visit www.counter3fivevii.c
Photo: www.counter3fivevii.com

About The Author

Hayden Walker
Executive Editor | Co-Publisher
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Hayden Walker is the Editor in Chief and Director of Operations for Austin Food Magazine

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