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08/29/2003 - Heroes and Legends: A Restaurant Review

Many family restaurants have a display case filled with pastries and treats. Some pubs have glass front refrigerators filled with bottled beer. The local fish house has the catch of the day on ice. At Heroes and Legends, they have a three bay, climate controlled cabinet filled with rack-mounted hubs, switches, routers, and transceivers.

Heroes and Legends, at 825 W Riverside, is a blend of a family restaurant and a "sports bar." It is also the place that accommodates both sports fans and computer geeks. There is a smorgasbord of technology available for use and entertainment. "We consider ourselves both a restaurant and an entertainment place," says Tom Griffith, co-owner. Kids are welcome, and they'd love it. Although the central bank of televisions most often displays sports programming, the staff will tune in a Disney channel or anything child friendly for a family.

Heroes and Legends has a total of twenty 32-inch flat screened televisions, a 60-inch plasma screen, a 50-inch plasma screen, and twenty 32-inch plasma screens. Over the bar is a 10-foot, 16 X 9 aspect ratio television projection screen. In the restrooms, there are LCD video screens mounted in several places so one need never miss any of the action. Spokane's Netrik Consulting, Inc. designed the Internet connections, wireless, and POS systems.

Heroes and Legends makes heavy use of wireless technology. The server takes orders on the same sort of hand held wireless device physicians use at hospitals for patient records. This palm-sized IPAQ point-of-sale system (POS) makes any adjustment to an order, transmits the order to the kitchen, and prints the guest check. Soon, the server will be able to use the IPAQ to swipe a guest's credit card at the table while the guest watches. IPAQ hand held POS systems are from CampuWave Technologies, Inc. of Vancouver, BC.

Heroes and Legends has an 8 megabit internal wireless access (802.11b) Internet connection to a fiber optic network. Their fiber optic cable is through Time Warner. In addition to the POS system, additional wireless is used to control television selection and sound for a bank of booths. Customers may connect to the Internet, free of charge, using the 8 mbs wireless connection. "Standard wireless encryption and security protocols are in place," says Christian Lehinger, Netrik Senior Software Engineer.

To control sound and hear only the programming you, the customer, select, Heroes and Legends has two different devices. One device is a 4-way table top speaker that uses analog audio carried over a special radio frequency system. The second system is a touch screen 802.11b Windows CE terminal that can also connect to the Internet. The terminal stands on the table at each booth and displays a schema of the televisions with a slider that controls the volume of a speaker that hangs directly over the table. The audio systems aren't perfect, because the sound bleeds, making it necessary for all guests to be good neighbors. Although the Windows CE terminal does connect to the Internet, and is excellent for finding sports scores, it is painfully slow at Web site display. Customers are advised to bring their own lap tops if they want to work on the Web.

The frosting on the entertainment cake is the two Xbox systems that are hooked up to a 60-inch plasma screen. The Xbox comes with a good selection of games, and may be hooked up to the Internet sometime in the future.

This is Spokane's most high tech restaurant. It has two server computers --- one for the POS and one for direct TV. The roof is festooned with satellite dishes and wireless antennae. However, the cooking is done by a human. The food is casual --- leaning toward sandwiches and burgers --- with only a handful of higher end entrees. Open for just 2 months, Heroes and Legends is smoke free. One corner of the dining room is available for groups, like a recent Fantasy Football gathering, who want to use the plasma screen capability.

For more information about Heroes and Legends, go to http://www.spokanelegends.com.

Billie Moreland
 
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