Case Study: Tex-Mex and Easy-to-Use AV

Northern Chicago’s historical neighborhood of Logan Square has emerged as one of the city’s most popular hospitality districts. Milwaukee Avenue’s newest hot spot, The Old Plank, is owned by Esam Hani and is the seventh establishment he has opened within a three-block stretch. The sports bar is equipped with several TVs for sports viewing, garage style doors, an outdoor patio with fire pits, and locally brewed craft beer and cocktails.

The Challenge

Because the modern agave and whiskey themed sports bar houses 21 TVs with eight different sources, ideal for when several popular sports teams are playing at the same time, or when a DJ is on-site, Hani realized he needed to find an effortless solution that his employees – primarily bartenders and wait staff – would be able to easily operate in order to switch between the various sources (i.e. music, sports, and other audio/video (AV) entertainment) on the fly. 

During construction, longtime technology integrator and friend of Hani, Jose Rivas of Integrity Wire Solutions was brought onto the job to handle the video source installation and source broadcasting before The Old Plank’s grand opening in May, 2019.  Hani challenged Rivas to install an AV system that would “simply work” and not cause his employees headaches so that they could concentrate on his number one priority for the restaurant – providing customers with top-notch service and a memorable dining experience. 

The Solution

Just before beginning the project, Rivas, who was responsible for installing the AV systems at Hani’s six other establishments, had discovered Vanco’s Evolution EVO-IP HDMI over IP System, which simplifies the process for managing, transmitting, and receiving AV signals and controls hundreds of devices over a local network. Unlike other similar solutions available to the market, EVO-IP is fully customizable, and easy to design, integrate, and install, making it an ideal solution for efficiently routing video to several locations throughout restaurants and bars like The Old Plank.

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“I specifically selected technology that was user-friendly for The Old Plank project and the EVO-IP checked that box as well as provided the ability to control hundreds of TVs on a single network,” said Rivas. “It is the simple but robust solution Hani was looking for, and on top of that it is extremely cost-effective.”

With Hani’s blessing, Rivas incorporated the EVO-IP solution and despite a couple of resolution setbacks caused by old cable boxes, he was able to get The Old Plank’s AV system up and running just in time for their grand opening.

The Results

Since opening in May, 2019, Rivas’s AV system design has allowed The Old Plank team to get their jobs done efficiently without any AV-related hiccups.

“We are beyond happy with the results of the technology incorporated into The Old Plank,” said Hani. “Customers love that they can sit in one spot and enjoy multiple sports games simultaneously, and the staff is happy with the simplicity and reliability of the overall system.”  

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Tony Rodriguez, the assistant manager of The Old Plank added, “We were thrilled by the turnout of our grand opening. Jose finished the installation at 1:30 a.m. the Friday before we opened, and due to the user-friendly nature of the system, the whole team still had time to learn and feel comfortable using it before the doors opened. We’re located on a very busy, commercial strip full of restaurants, cocktail bars, and taverns, and we want to be the place where people come to enjoy the game, or to just kick back and have a good time. I’m confident that The Old Plank’s AV system capabilities has provided us with a leg up in this modern restaurant scene.”

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