Posts tagged with "Restaurants":

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A fast-casual restaurant's signature dish—and traditional fish markets—inspires its design

Mainland Poke, a fast-casual restaurant specializing in chopped fish bowl restaurants recently opened a second outfit at the Americana outdoor pedestrian mall in Glendale, designed by Culver City, California–based Abramson Teiger Architects. The original location is located in Los Angeles's Beverly Grove neighborhood.

The firm utilized poke bowls’ aquatic origin—a poke bowl is a dish of cubed fresh fish served over rice and topped with an assortment of flavorful toppings—and the traditional fish markets where one might go to acquire their ingredients, as inspiration: A polished concrete floor is topped by a medley of fine design objects such as minimalist chairs and tables and smooth marble countertops. The 1200-square-foot store consists of a single brightly lit dining room facing the street, its mostly-glass storefront supplemented by a glass block transom window.

A decorative pattern comprised of variously recessed wooden blocks lines a main interior wall, while tessellated white tiles reminiscent of fish scales wrap the separate food preparation area. Design principal Trevor Abramson explained, “The white tiles and wood talk to materials found in a traditional fish market and are a perfect palette for the vibrant colors found in the fresh fish poke.”

Mainland Poke 252 S. Brand Boulevard, Glendale, CA Tel: 213-712-2683 Architects: Abramson Teiger Architects

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LPC votes to calendar Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo's Ambassador Grill and Lobby

Today the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted to calendar Kevin Roche and John Dinkerloo's Ambassador Grill and Lobby at ONE UN New York Hotel, previously known as the United Nations Hotel. Now that it's on on the LPC's calendar, the space is safe from demolition (for now). The luxe late modern United Nations Plaza Hotel Lobby (completed 1983) and Ambassador Grill & Lounge (completed 1976) at One United Nations Plaza were threatened with demolition when the current owners, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, closed the restaurant to commence a significant renovation that would have stripped the space of its characteristic mirroring, white-veined black stone, and trompe l’oeil skylights. Preservationists, naturally, were outraged. Advocacy groups like Docomomo's national chapter and MAS were joined by local preservationists Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, Theodore Grunewald, vice president of the Committee to Save the New York Public Library, and members of local Docomomo chapters who together rallied to save the spaces by asking the LPC to consider designating the lobby and grill as interior landmarks. There are currently 117 interiors that are New York City landmarks, and only four of those are restaurants. When reached for comment, a member of ONE UN New York Hotel's management team told The Architect's Newspaper that, with the General Assembly in session, the hotel couldn't answer questions about the status of the Ambassador Grill. "You picked the wrong time to call," said a woman who would only give her first name, Pat.
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Japanese joinery with modern flair defines this San Francisco ramen spot

The recent proliferation of oh-so-chic ramen joints in cities across the country can sometimes mask what it is really all about: The ramen. In Japan, this fast, fragrant, noodle-and-broth dish is often found in nondescript establishments, tucked away from the bustling street. At Orenchi Beyond, the restaurant chain’s first San Francisco location, the ramen is front and center, starting with a floating, open kitchen anchoring the 1,800-square-foot space where patrons can see chefs at work behind a row of large, boiling soup pots. Taking its cue from Japan’s street culture and indigenous craftsmanship, the restaurant, designed by local firm Craig Steely Architecture, fuses the unfussy, Japanese-style ramen shop with a West Coast design sensibility.

To maximize the outdoor connection and exploit the temperate San Francisco climate, principal and founder Craig Steely decided to knock down the existing facade, which originally stood flat across the front of the building, and push it back 12 feet to create what he describes as an “interstitial room” or an “engawa space” between the street and restaurant interior. “In Japan, there isn’t that luxury to have this whole space, and it seemed like such a perfect opportunity,” Steely explained. “It feels different from other restaurants in the city where there is a hard, demarcating line. Here it is really indoor-outdoor and welcoming—eating and drinking outside is nice and communal. It’s a real mix of private and public space.”

The prismlike facade, punctuated by a red glass door, is made of Sakura wood and quietly references Japanese woodworking. “It was an attempt to build upon a language of Japanese carpentry,” said Steely. “I took the idea of those details and built it in a way that appreciates or riffs on Japanese joinery without it being authentically Japanese.” The permeable storefront allows for customers to be served outside through the windows.

In typical Japanese style, the restaurant bears no sign—in many ways, the crowd congregating outside around a 4,000-pound Yuba River basalt rock is the unofficial signage. Of course, the line of sake bottles in the window is also a not-so-subtle clue as to what lies inside.

Painstaking attention was paid to the details to reflect and pay homage to Japanese traditions, from the visual iconography to the craftsmanship. The stool seating is based on sake barrels, the brackets and handles are made of elm branches by artist Kenji Hasegawa, and the interior wood is from Paul Discoe’s Joinery Structures, who has worked on projects in Japan for several decades.

Contrasting this otherwise muted space are a massive, candy-colored mural of a fractal bear by local artists Ricardo Richey and Chad Hasegawa and tables featuring paintings with imagery from Japanese myths and Yakuza films, such as a dragon in the form of ramen with its tail spelling out “Orenchi.” For a restaurant named the “Beyond,” this West-meets-farther-West space is wholly appropriate.

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Chicago's LondonHouse opens with infinitely Instagrammable rooftop bar and restaurant

One of the best ways to experience Chicago is from a rooftop, so naturally hoteliers are cashing in. Case in point: The new Goettsch Partners-designed LondonHouse. Located at the corner of North Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, along the East Branch of the Chicago River, the 452-room hotel boosts a three-story penthouse bar and restaurant. The LondonHouse is a hybrid renovation-new-build with 183,000 of its total 250,000 square feet located in the historic Alfred Alschuler–designed 1923 London Guarantee Building. The remaining 67,000 square feet are in a narrow sliver of a building that finally completes Wacker’s streetwall, filling an odd 20-spot surface parking lot. This contemporary curtain-walled addition acts as the entry to the hotel with a second-floor lobby and restaurant, the Bridges Lobby Bar.

The main draw of the hotel for guests and the public alike is the three-story LH bar and restaurant on the building’s roof. With infinitely Instagrammable views up and down the river, the scene is a veritable architect’s dream. Directly across from the hotel sits no less than, Marina City, AMA Plaza (formerly IBM), the Trump Tower, the Wrigley Building, and the Tribune Tower. With special attention paid to the city’s landmarks codes, a cupola of the Guarantee Building has also been opened for events, accessible through LondonHouse.

LondonHouse 85 E Upper Wacker Dr., Chicago Tel: 312-357-1200 Architect: Goettsch Partners Interior Design: Simeone Deary Design Group

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Sleek quinoa automat coming to NYC

Love quinoa but loathe human interaction? A California–based restaurant is bringing its healthy quinoa power bowl automat (yeah) to Midtown this fall. At Eatsa, which has locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles, patrons order via iPads instead of popping coins into a slot in exchange for food. Diners can customize their quinoa bowls, or choose options like the "Cantina Kale Salad" or "Chili con Quinoa" a-la-carte. In the video below, food blogger Eddie Lin, alternating between amazement and pure, unadulterated joy, offers a blow-by-blow look at the bowl-ordering process: Other corners of the internet are abuzz about the old-fangled concept updated for 21st-century habits. See this diner pick up his food and beverages from the slot with his name displayed on it:

Greetings from the future. Coolest restaurant ever!!! #eatsa @meagle23

A video posted by Chelsea Franco (@francothetank0) on

Quinoa bowls are prepared behind the scenes by real live people but delivered automatically into cubbies with light-up, numbered displays and include the diner's name. While Bamn!, the short-lived automat on St. Marks Place, had a vintage, Jetsons-in-pink aesthetic, Eatsa's brand skews more Apple Store. Crucially, while the automats of yore kept items to temperature with in-cubby heating, Eatsa's items are made to order.
As an added bonus, all dishes are priced under $7.00. Mmmm.
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Chioco Design crafts an ingenious lighting solution for indoor-outdoor Austin bar

Austin’s newest bar, Backbeat, sits on busy South Lamar Boulevard, a main drag that was strictly car-oriented until recently. “Our main concern and objective was to create a comfortable neighborhood cocktail bar,” explained Jamie Chioco, principal of Austin-based Chioco Design. Drawing from their experience running popular watering hole drink-well, Backbeat’s owners are enticing South Lamar’s pedestrians with the Pink Squirrel (a spiked milkshake), pâté melts, and an indoor-outdoor dining area that offers a pleasant contrast to its hectic surroundings. To beckon patrons and light into the long, narrow interior, Chioco installed a large monitor—essentially a two-story glass shaft—to visually connect the roof deck with the main floor below. One wall of the shaft is clad in mirrors, giving patrons views to the outdoors above. Through the glass-paneled main and rear entryways, bright desert-blue booths and stools complement the walnut wall and ceiling panels, as well as the brass light fixtures and white marble bar, the heart of all the action. Backbeat is located at 1300 S. Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX.
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Scott Kester designs a slick, utilitarian interior for Los Angeles restaurant LocoL

Take a trip to Watts and experience LocoL, the fast food joint that star chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson launched to revolutionize the dollar menu.

LocoL opened to massive crowds with an interior designed by veteran restaurant designer Scott Kester in an area of L.A. not typically frequented by foodies. Kester’s utilitarian interior gives LocoL the look of a professional kitchen—sleek subway tiles framed by black plywood and stainless steel—while keeping true to Choi’s reputation for casual, experiential dining experiences. The ceiling is decorated with geometrically-arranged tube lights, while “pixelated,” unpainted plywood seating and tables are arranged below. This interior furniture is freestanding so patrons can rearrange it as necessary. “We tried to blend an open, welcome feeling with simple playful forms,” Kester explained. The dining room is reminiscent of a food truck waiting area, with patrons pointed toward the kitchen where focused cooks assemble their signature two dollar foldie sandwiches and six dollar chili rice bowls.

That seating area continues onto a patio designed by Eagle Rock-based landscape architects Superjacent; some of the patio’s seating elements become planters for succulents. “Our design intent for the project was to create landscape strategies and public spaces to best connect LocoL to the community of Watts,” Superjacent principal Chris Torres told AN. “LocoL is about community and bringing the best food possible to the widest audience,” he added.

Watts LocoL is located at 1950 East 103rd Street, Los Angeles, CA.

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Otto Architects designs a nautical-themed restaurant for Dogfish Head Craft Brewery


The owners of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in southern Delaware are known for creating “off-centered ales” and, naturally, off-centered places to enjoy them. The newest offering is Chesapeake & Maine, a seafood restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, that explores nautical themes without resorting to clichés. 

The 150-seat restaurant opened in March, next to the Dogfish Head Brewhouse. The architect for the exterior was DIGSAU of Philadelphia. The interior was designed by Otto Architects of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with Dogfish Head founder and president Sam Calagione and his wife, vice president Mariah. The first sign of whimsy is the front facade reminiscent of  a lobster trap. Inside, a vintage Russian diving suit in a glass case, porthole windows, shark-shaped beer tap handles, and boat cleat door knobs, continue the oceanic vibe.

Artwork is used extensively: Chicago artist Jon Langford reinterpreted music legends as seafarers; Travis Louie created Gothic portraits of sea creatures; and illustrator Tony Millionaire contributed a map mural. “We wanted to create a nautical theme, but not by hanging life preservers and fish nets on the walls,” said Joshua Otto, the founder of Otto Architects. It was very much a collaboration with the Calagiones, he emphasized. “They have a unique eye.”

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Hot stuff! Sauna located in a Finnish Burger King

Finland is well known for its saunas. In fact, such is the Finnish people's obsession for sweating it out that they have a sauna in every one of their embassies across the globe. The sauna's have even been dubbed as their "diplomatic secret weapon." In Helsinki, Finland's capital, sauna's appear to be becoming even more of a way of life, especially in the case of fast food restaurants. Designed by Fin Teuvo Loman—who is somewhat of a design celebrity in his homeland—a Burger King in Helsinki now has its very own sauna. Complete with wash facilities, dressing rooms, and wooden benches in the company's customary colors, visitors can enjoy their meal in the sauna located on the lower floor of the Mannerheimintie Burger King outlet. Servers from the restaurant even visit the sauna to take orders; the sauna can accommodate up to 15 bathers. According to the outlet's webpage, the venue is more suited to "private and business outings, birthdays and for watching major sporting events." Booking the sauna for three hours will set you back $285, though the price includes "exclusive" use of the sauna and lounge area, access to Burger King branded towels (for hire), cleaning services, seat covers, toiletries, and access to entertainment electronics. Bathers will also be given Burger King crowns to wear (though this isn't a requirement, sadly) and have the option of eating in or outside the sauna. In terms of the electronics, the sauna comes equipped with a 48” television, a nearby media lounge features stereo equipment and Playstation 4. A "premium" experience will grant bathers access to "royal" Burger King bathrobes. Tempted? Booking details can be found here. The sauna isn't just winning the hungry bathing public over either. This year, the sauna claimed third place in Euromonitor’s ‘2016 New Concepts in Foodservice Contest: Customization, Technology, and New Experiences,’ competition. “The concept takes the idea of a unique dining experience to an extreme, offering both entertainment and functionality for Finnish consumers who see saunas as an integral part of their local culture,” commented Euromonitor food service analyst Elizabeth Friend. “Saunas in Finland are taken frequently as social, health and wellness rituals, and it is not uncommon for friends and business associates to sauna together," she added. "In this way, Burger King’s in-store sauna offers a powerful example of localisation, demonstrating an understanding of local preferences while also offering customers the novelty experience of a sauna alongside their Whopper and fries.”
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Archtober Building of the Day 29> The Musket Room by Shadow Architects

The Musket Room 265 Elizabeth Street, Manhattan Shadow Architects If we visit Michelin star restaurants next Archtober, we’ve got to make a deal for the meal. The meal’s the thing here. The Musket Room moved into Manhattan's old Rialto space, a long-gone hangout for architects working in the nearby Puck Building. It's got a gun over the bar. Larry Cohn of architect-of-record Shadow Architects, prepared the filing documents that wended their way through the post-Sandy building department. The warm woods and teal leather banquettes specified by London-based Alexander Waterworth Interiors, have replaced the bright red plastic ones that lined the brick side walls of the not-forgotten Rialto. A nice chap, Larry, took us through the restaurant, and showed us the spanking clean basement kitchen with its array of chemical lab experiments called food. Frank Hanes, the sous chef, explained the polyethylene-encased meats that were being cooked sous-vide: venison leg fillets, a specialty of the house on the menu as “New Zealand red deer/flavors of gin,” which includes licorice and fennel – and maybe a juniper berry or two. You can tell I’m not a foodie. It was nice to see nasturtiums growing in the raised beds in the back that serve as an herb garden for the chef, New Zealander Mack Lambert, who conjures a nasturtium vinaigrette that might appear somewhere in the early courses of our future meal. We could top it off with Pig’s blood/berries/rhubarb/herbs for dessert. Cynthia Phifer Kracauer is the Managing Director of the Center for Architecture and the festival director for Archtober: Architecture and Design Month NYC. She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989-2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell. After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson, held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater.
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Wine supplier to the British royal family unveils enchanting new cellar by MJP Architects and Short & Associates

Britain’s oldest wine merchant, Berry Bros. & Rudd, has unveiled its new subterranean Sussex Cellar, an enchanting juxtaposition of classic and modern by Short & Associates and MJP Architects. Wine suppliers to the British royal family since the reign of King George III in the early 19th century, the brand named its new cellar after the duke of Sussex, one of seven royal dukes who were regular customers during that era. Inspired by a Spanish bodega with a tiled fan vaulted soffit, the two-story cellar is an expanse of terra cotta archways and columns clad in handmade London tiles. These extend through the mezzanine and sub-basement level. The dining room retains a light and airy feel, despite being underground, by dint of a circular aperture that connects it to the mezzanine above. Over 800 wine events are held annually in the company’s existing Napoleon and Pickering Cellars and its townhouse on Pickering Place. The new cellar was built to accommodate the uptick in demand for the brand’s well-known ‘Cellar Series’ – intimate 40-cover dinners presented in collaboration with London’s most popular restaurants. “Our new Sussex Cellar affords us much-needed extra capacity in bringing wine education and entertainment to our clients,” said Demetri Walters, sales manager at Private Wine Events, a part of Berry Bros. & Rudd. “This latest venue is of a completely novel design that combines the feel of one of our traditional wine cellars with the existing architecture, convenience, and state-of-the-art gadgetry of a purpose-built venue.” Sited beneath the historic St. Jame’s shop, the cellar is accessible via a secret door in one of Berry Bros. & Rudd’s 17th century townhouses on Pickering Place, with an interior styled by Nicola Crawley of the celebrated decorators Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. The space accommodates up to 40 for a reception and lunch or dinner, or 36 for a reception, tutored tasting, and lunch or dinner.