For architects who design restaurant and hospitality projects, the energy source of their building may not be top of mind during the design process. But as a destination restaurant in Raymond, N.H., shows, bringing in the right fuel for cooking and other restaurant amenities can be critical to a project’s success.
Tuckaway Tavern is the brainchild of Bobby Marcotte, a Tampa, Fla.–born but locally- raised chef with a passion for high-quality, local ingredients. An appearance on Guy Fieri’s popular “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” television show helped raise the restaurant’s profile, but Marcotte put himself on the map with a focus on what he considers to be the three elements of a perfect restaurant experience: quality of food, service, and atmosphere.
In a town of 9,000 people, the Tuckaway Tavern and Marcotte’s three other restaurants have become economic drivers, sparking new development and other restaurants to feed the hungry tourists traveling from around the world. But city amenities such as natural gas haven’t yet reached the rural community about an hour’s drive north of Boston. Instead, Marcotte relies on propane to provide the high-quality cooking and guest experience his fans have learned to expect.
Grilling with gas
Architects and engineers working on hospitality projects often have to tailor their system specifications to the energy sources available in the local market. For restaurants in rural or small towns like Raymond, propane can be critical for operating a variety of building systems effectively and efficiently. Cooking, of course, is the first feature that comes to mind, and for Marcotte, gas cooking is indispensable. Tuckaway Tavern is attached to a full-scale butcher shop, highlighting the prominence of fresh, quality meat on his menus.
“A big part of what we do is grilling, and our meats that we sell obviously are made for grilling,” Marcotte says. “I think gas cooking is critical, and the best part about gas is precision, as far as I'm concerned. You just don't get the control with electric or anything else that you do with propane.”
At Hop + Grind—his craft burger and beer concept with locations in Durham, N.H., and Peabody, Mass.—the propane-fueled griddles are based on quadrants that Marcotte fine-tunes to individual specifications thanks to propane’s easy controllability. “I would lose a significant amount of my menu without propane,” Marcotte says.
Heating for small-town restaurants
Restaurant comfort is also critical to achieving a top-notch guest experience, and the propane heating in Marcotte’s restaurants assures that guests are never distracted by unreliable heat. Propane can also fuel high-performance water heating for restaurants and is especially cost-effective in the New England region, where electricity costs are through the roof. And propane generators ensure restaurants can keep operating even during the winter’s frequent icy cold snaps or severe storms. A generator that was part of the existing lease for one of the Hop + Grind locations was a “big plus” when Marcotte was evaluating properties, he says.
Architects and designers can make themselves more valuable to hospitality clients by helping them navigate energy decisions to ensure they have all the amenities their business requires, no matter where their operation is located. Visit propane.com to see how utilizing propane’s ready availability can help deliver a guest experience worthy of becoming the next foodie destination.