So last night I read 119 pages worth of updates from marubozo. What an amazing story. When I saw the thread start date I would have expected the place to be open within 3 months and the restaurant would be 9+ months open at this point. I live in Cleveland and at some point will have to plan a trip to Chicago or just take a one day trip and visit the place, if for nothing else but to eat there. I also had to laugh when you mentioned your first firings were because of jail. In the first few pages you mentioned all the applicants were jailbirds. It came full circle.
A couple comments and suggestions;
I'm sure it is already up, but don't go with a 70" tv in a place that small. 50" max. lol. I wouldn't want to create a sports bar atmosphere nor create a distraction, however my local McDonalds has several televisions hung on one wall that are just tuned to CNN, MSNBC, etc and when I eat lunch in there it is nice to see what is going on. No sound though as it would be very annoying, and only on one wall.
Make sure you have an ample supply of those steel gloves and just wear a latex glove over the top to keep it from getting dirty. One workers comp claim will set you back a bunch of cash, so make sure everyone is protected. I'm sure by now you already have a couple, but I would make sure every single person involved in the process wears one.
Running out of food is not a bad thing, and in fact creates demand for your product, as long as you maintain quality. I've been to pie shops that open one day a week and sell out in a couple hours. I've been to restaurants that have a special once a week and frequently sell out. Heck, we have a place in the city here called Hot Sauce Williams that smokes shoulder and I can't tell you how many times I've gone through there too late to get any. They make a certain amount and when it's gone it is GONE. The fact that I know it is fresh and not warmed gives me confidence in their quality. It also gives you a local business feel vs a chain restaurant feel. Freshness, freshness, freshness...
Eventually I would just establish lunch and dinner hours. On your website it shows you opening at 11 and then "until sold out". Just have two sets of hours. Lunch from 11 until 2:30 (that seems to be the time I see you run out, according to your posts) and then dinner from 5 until "our delicious smoked meat is sold out". I would even put a typical time window so someone doesn't show up at 8 expecting a meal only to find out that you normally don't have anything past 6:30.
On your answering machine, give a daily update if anything is new. It takes a minute to change a message and you can just take a moment to tell customers for the day that you are not taking orders over the phone. I've called places like this and they usually just say update for May 7th, we are once again extremely busy and won't be taking phone orders. It lends a nice touch and gives the impression that you aren't just ignoring the phone, and that you actually want to keep your customers informed.
Make a point to advertise that all your pork comes locally sourced, within 60 (or whatever distance) miles from your business. This gives a vision of quality and freshness to those people who are deciding between your product and another down the road. May not mean much now but more and more people want to buy local and this gives you an advantage down the road if business subsides. If the farm cannot supply you that day or week, just post a printed sign on the door stating that due to a shortage or whatever that you don't have your usual locally sourced meat.
I have a feeling that new pit will be used most every day. If not I can imagine you will just see lots of comments from people about how you have this big smoker that you aren't using and yet you run out of meat in only an hour and a half every day. Just burn some wood in it to give the illusion you are using it.
Definitely contact the church about parking and offer discounts or some catering in return. Also contact the city about placing a crosswalk and warning signs should you do so. No need making the crossing unsafe for your patrons and then getting dinged on reviews for it. (or even having the church cut you off because someone got hurt waking from their property) I originally thought about just a truckload of gravel to create some overflow parking but I am not sure where you would have the room based on the pictures I saw.
I noticed that you mentioned people wanting water and then getting soda. A place here will give you cups for water but they are smaller in size than their normal cups and easy to spot. Also glad you added tea to your counter. I could not imagine a place these days not selling some type of sweet tea, especially a BBQ joint where one imagines iced tea as going well with BBQ. (places around here literally advertise their sweet tea or raspberry sweet tea or whatever flavor, it is that popular.) The whole brewed fresh thing just adds to the look that everything you have is fresh daily.
I had so many more mental noted about the city process but whats done is done and I'm just glad you are open. I have heard of places suing the city over the slowness of approvals. Around me the mayor would have a lot of influence, especially if he was missing out on tax dollars.
Good luck and I can't wait to some day visit and buy a shirt. Hope you order them in large sizes.