Combining fun and functionality, summer kitchens are a hot commodity on the Space Coast
Summer kitchens and the Space Coast go together like peas and carrots…
“Living in Florida, what better way to enjoy the summer months than outdoors in the sunshine?” asks Scott Krenz, operations manager of Mr. Fireplace Patio & Spa in West Melbourne. “Today’s homeowners are spending money on making their outdoor areas more comfortable, relaxing and fun.”
And one of the most common ways they’re doing so is through the addition of a summer kitchen. That’s because, quite simply, the at-home year-round fun and functionality afforded by today’s summer kitchens are hard to rival.
Mr. Fireplace Patio & Spa is owned by John McMillan, who acquired the business in 1999. The team at Mr. Fireplace
has been installing summer kitchens since its founding in 1980, but Krenz says that it’s only over the past 10 years or so that homeowners have been making serious investments in this element of the home.
Nowadays, summer kitchens can be as simple as a charcoal or gas grill with a side burner; to as elaborate as a full workable kitchen that also includes an enclosed pantry, warming drawers, wood-fire pizza oven, ice machine, refrigerator and bartending station with an under-counter beverage center.
“There’s always something new coming around the corner for summer kitchens,” says Krenz. “Heck, who would have ever thought you could add a wood-fired pizza oven to your summer kitchen?”
While the combination of all the aforementioned features can prove to create the ultimate summer kitchen, almost every summer barbecue aficionado will agree that it’s the grill that really can take outdoor entertaining to the next level.
“Today’s grills are much more advanced than the grills from 10-20 years ago,” explains Krenz. “In this day and age, grills have the capability to heat faster and reach 700 degrees and above. And most have controls for adjusting the precise amount of heat to an area for precision cooking, along with infrared high-temperature burners for searing foods that can reach 1,500 degrees in four minutes, or a 18,500 BTU burner for a rotisserie.
“Some also have a built-in smoker box with dedicated 5,000 BTU burner, allowing the griller to add more smoke flavor to their foods,” he adds.
As there are a lot of grill companies out there, it’s a smart idea to invest in a grill produced by a company that has been around for awhile, such as Alfresco, Vintage or
Luxor, just to name a few. These companies lean more toward commercial-grade and produce high-end heavy-duty grills. Also, when it does come time to replace parts or the entire grill itself, these companies will be able to get a direct replacement to fit into your cabinet without any modification, and/or get the manufacturer’s original parts.
The construction of the grill is important with the environment we live in, Krenz also points out. “304 or 305 18-8 stainless steel is a must to help fight against corrosion,” he says.
BEYOND THE KITCHEN
As one would guess, a supreme outdoor living area doesn’t begin and end with a summer kitchen. Pools and spas, games, high-end patio furniture and other conveniences, undoubtedly, can also boost up backyards.
Outdoor wood-burning fireplaces or stainless-steel gas fireplaces, in particular, are commonly used by homeowners to enhance their alfresco environments. “Unlike indoor fireplaces, outdoor fireplaces can be enjoyed all year long — the heat dissipates quickly allowing these fireplaces to be enjoyed even in the summer,” says McMillan.
Gas fire pits, also known as fire tables, are also becoming very popular for outdoor areas. There are all types, including electronic spark ignition, remote control and more, as well as a wide variety of table sizes and shapes. Various glass colors are also available so the homeowner can add their own personal touch. “These work great also for the homeowner that does not have a lot of room, but still would like the ambiance of an outdoor fire,” says Krenz.
He adds that some of the burners can even be shaped like a martini glass or sports team logo.
TURNING WISHES INTO REALITY
“Our summer kitchens are designed with the homeowner’s needs and wishes in mind. We consider the space available then design the kitchen to allow the homeowner to work in the space with ease, but also have the ability to entertain guests,” says Krenz.
Layouts of summer kitchens can vary greatly and are usually
determined by the type and amount of equipment being incorporated. And whether it is stucco, stacked stone, granite, tiles or another material, the finishes of a summer kitchen can complement the exterior of almost any home.
With all the exciting elements to choose from, homeowners can be hard pressed to know where to begin. Krenz advises these individuals to make a “wish list” of equipment and features they desire in their summer kitchen and then stop by the Mr. Fireplace showroom to take a look at the different options available. “From there, we consider the area available and size of equipment to determine how best to make the homeowner’s wishes become reality.”
No matter the size or scope of the project, however, consulting a professional should always be a homeowner’s
first priority. Professionals can help ensure the equipment purchased will offer maximum value.
Service and warranty is also an extremely important consideration, according to Krenz. “This is the No. 1 thing homeowners don’t think about when purchasing a summer kitchen,” he says. “We give our customers front-door service. In other words, we come to them. We have technicians that come out to the home when a customer has a problem.
“The products we sell are manufactured here in the U.S. which makes it easier and quicker to get your warranty part and in less down time,” he adds. “This all makes happier customers in the end.”
Mr. Fireplace Patio & Spa is a sister company to Hearth & Home Heating and Cooling, a state-licensed air-conditioning and heating contractor. In addition to complete summer kitchens, the company also offers indoor and outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and Jacuzzi Spas. Mr. Fireplace offers a full line of barbecue grills and smokers including the Big Green Egg, as well as related products to go along. Mr. Fireplace has been serving Brevard, Indian River and Volusia counties for over 30 years. Stop by the showroom at 3351 W. New Haven Ave., West Melbourne, call (321) 253-5555 or visit www.MrFireplaceAndPatio.com for more information.