Spotlight on InfoComm 2019


Inside Celebrity Chef Richard Blais’ New SoCal Restaurant, Complete with ELAN Control

The Crack Shack needed a robust security system since the outdoor, open-air venue had no doors, windows or even walls. The final result is a custom-designed automation system centered around ELAN Entertainment and Control.

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You might know him as a judge on Bravo’s popular cook-off show Top Chef, but when he’s not winning Top Chef All Stars or appearing as a host on the Food Network, Richard Blais is opening organic, locally-sourced restaurants in San Diego.

His last San Diego venture, Juniper & Ivy, was so well-received that Blais partnered up with restaurant owner Michael Rosen once again to open a 4,000 square-foot outdoor, open-air venue in the same neighborhood called The Crack Shack.

The new restaurant has locally sourced food, beer and wine on tap as well as a “chicken and egg concept menu.” As an outdoor, open-air venue, what it didn’t have was doors, windows or walls surrounding the dining area. This left The Crack Shack vulnerable during closed hours and at night.

Rosen worked with local integration firm Paradise InfoTech on Juniper & Ivy an, pleased with the outcome, turned to the firm once again to secure The Crack Shack, as well as outfit the spot with audio and video integration. The final result was a custom-designed automation system centered around an ELAN Entertainment and Control System.

“We worked with the same management team on a past project,” says Zack Paradise, owner of Paradise InfoTech. “They really liked the technology system that we installed in that space, so they called us again for the new project. We designed a system for the outdoor space centered around an ELAN g1 and gSC10 control system to integrate advanced security, lighting control, audio, a 2×2 video wall and more.”

At the Forefront: Security

Paradise InfoTech integrated a DSC Neo Security Panel with Luma Surveillance Cameras as well as a networked video recorder to monitor the outdoor space.

“The owners love being able to log into the ELAN App and see how the restaurant is operating even if they are not there,” Paradise stated. “They can see what the crowd is like and how many people are at the restaurant.”

Motion detectors are on guard after the restaurant closes. If there is any sign of movement, a notification is sent from the security panel to Paradise, the security lights are turned on (via ELAN lighting control), a warning is played through the audio system, and a private security company receives an email and can access the video cameras to check out the disturbance. If the alert requires action, the security company can dispatch personnel to the venue.

Outside: AV Compliments Perfect San Diego Weather

Dining customers can listen to music through two outdoor zones of audio (one in the trellis area and one surrounding the bocce ball courts) connected through a Niles MRA6430 multi-room audio controller.

“Using outdoor, weather-proof landscape speakers and subwoofers, we were able to provide a nice full sound in both areas throughout all hours of operation,” Paradise added.

Paradise also installed a 2×2 video wall next to the outdoor bar, along with an additional two TVs.

“Integrating the video wall into ELAN was a little bit different for us,” Paradise continued. “We created custom interfaces within the ELAN platform to make sure the walls could be operated through the system.”

Bartenders have the ability to change TV channels through the ELAN App on iPads while patrons can hear the audio through SpeakerCraft AIM272 in-ceiling speakers by the bar and in the bathroom area.

In the Kitchen: Working Hard or Hardly Working?

The Crack Shack kitchen is a fast-paced, collaborative environment. Staff members have access to their own zone of audio through the ELAN App on an iPad which plays out of SpeakerCraft AIM272 in-ceiling speakers. Paradise installed a microphone in the kitchen so cooks could communicate with the staff and guests throughout the day, but says it is often used for “chicken-themed jokes.”

“The system is set up through a 4 Bus Behringer mixer in the rack to play it over the Niles MRC-6430 controller,” says Paradise. “When the Sense Gooseneck Microphone is in use, it plays over the same speakers that are used for the music, so everyone in the restaurant can easily hear the team member’s joke.”