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Specialty Ice Made Easy with Hoshizaki

Hoshi DSC03632Hoshizaki ice makers deliver perfectly formed, clear ice — the heart of every craft cocktail program.Curious Kitchen and Bar is an 85-seat restaurant that specializes in what owner Scott Smith calls “polished Southern classics.” Some examples of his creative spins on Southern classics include a fried green BLT sandwich and a country fried pork chop with collard greens and black pepper gravy. The menu at The Curious Pig, which opened in 2018, leans more toward the new American side, with an emphasis on such gastropub favorites as burgers, chicken club sandwiches and fish tacos.

At both restaurants, Smith says, “we focus on a high-quality bar program. That’s how I feel you become successful — by having really good cocktails and then good food. Most times, people can’t get that at the same place, and that’s why they decide to come back.”

One key to the success of his bar programs is differentiating them from other restaurants’ bar programs. “A huge focus for us is having people behind the bar who are knowledgeable about the product they’re serving,” Smith says, “and actually having a product that might not be at everybody [else’s] bar.”

Serving only top-quality products has also been a reason for his success, Smith says. “We don’t serve well versions of spirits,” he says. “Everything we do is a call brand.” Although there might be a higher profit margin in using less-expensive liquor, he says, “we don’t do that. We focus on a premium-quality spirit for every aspect of what we do. As much prep goes into the bar as it does the food.”

Having the right ice is also a critical component to Smith’s bar programs. “The people who run our bar programs are finicky about everything,” he says. They notice any changes in the ice, “so having an ice machine that makes the same cube every time is a huge part of consistency,” he says. Delivering a superior ice cube that’s clear and slow-melting is important to Smith and his customers, because “people are pretty blown away that we put that much attention to detail into things.”

Hoshi 1by1IM Large Square 2 Grapefruit Cocktails close upThese 1-inch ice cubes add a touch of elegance to any beverage.To make that superior ice for his craft cocktails, Smith relies on specialty ice makers from Hoshizaki. They all provide just the right amount of chilling with minimal dilution, and they produce ice that’s clearer and cleaner than ice made in silicone molds. With their small footprint, these machines fit easily under a bar. There are three models to choose from: a 1.8-inch sphere cube model, and a 1-inch cube model and 2-inch cube model. Each model offers significant savings over the cost of outside ice vendors.

Smith trusts all his Hoshizaki equipment to work efficiently and deliver cost savings. “With my past 20 years of experience,” he says, “I’ve not always had the opportunity to make the decisions for machinery. Using Hoshizaki, you get spoiled because you just know it’s going to work. It takes a lot of the worry out of things you would normally have to think about.”