Restaurant Development & Design

September-October 2017

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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4 4 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 7 As at Kimpton restaurants, where Bortnick estimates that less than 30 per- cent of volume comes from hotel guests, these locally affiliated concepts hit the mark in terms of bringing the local com- munity into the hotel. "We knew that being located downtown, we'd get some business-lunch traffic. Plus, we're connected to the con- vention center and are walking distance to Minute Maid Park, where the Astros play," Scott says. "We figured a sports bar with a local celebrity attached to it would draw a mixed crowd, but we were surprised by the response from locals. We thought they'd make up maybe 40 percent of Biggio's volume, but it's more like 80 or 90 percent local. And Xochi, which was named the city's best new restaurant by a Houston Chronicle reviewer in June, is the definition of a local hot spot." Launched in 2010 with five proper- ties, Marriot's Autograph Collection Hotels sub-brand has grown to more than 95 in- dependently owned and operated boutique hotels around the world. Each is promoted as offering a strong sense of place and of being "exactly like no place else." One such property is the new Watermark Hotel in Baton Rouge, La., home to The Gregory, which features upscale, inventive twists on Southern cuisine. Designed by Gensler, the hotel opened last fall in a stately 1920s building that was the city's first skyscraper and headquarters of the Louisiana National Bank and, in the 1960s, served as a state office building. Doug Detiveaux, a Louisiana native who led Gensler's design and architecture team, says the bones of the building, exist- ing interior features and its history provided inspiration for the concept and design. Most notably, those features included eight 20-foot-wide bas-relief murals created for the bank in 1949 by famed Louisiana artist Angela Gregory, for whom the restaurant is named. They depict images important to the state's economy, including oil refineries, sugarcane and the Mississippi River, as well as the state seal and the seal of Louisiana National Bank. The murals were restored and serve as The Gregory's signature design feature. The building's original sculpted marble entry staircase was incorporated as well, and the team recreated eight Greek revival fluted columns that were de- molished in the 1960s. They now provide definition for The Gregory's 62-seat main dining area, which is flanked on one side by an open kitchen and on the other by the bar area. An adjacent overflow space, highlighted by brick-lined ceiling arches and a full wine wall, doubles as a private dining room with seating for 32. Taking a direction that many contem- porary hotels are now headed, the bar and restaurant are woven into the hotel's lobby experience. "The first floor of the building is pretty much one big public area that flows from lobby to bar to restaurant," Detiveaux says. "From the hotel's entry vestibule, you can see straight back through the entire space to the dramatic curtain that covers the back wall of the restaurant." That type of open, integrated ap- proach is growing in U.S. properties, according to Bortnick. "Hotels in our niche in Europe are going more toward engaging living and lobby spaces that are more F&B driven," he says. "You might have a very cool restaurant that just flows from the bar and lobby and check-in. It's all one and the same, but it's done in a very cool way that doesn't remotely resemble the old-school The Fairmont Quasar Istanbul's signature fine-dining restaurant, Aila, is flamboyant, curvilinear, and filled with Turkish patterns and textures. Photos courtesy of Fairmont Quasar Istanbul Kimpton Hotel Monaco D.C.'s new signature restau- rant and bar, Dirty Habit, offers a high-energy vibe, a globally influenced small-plates menu, and an edgy, dark aesthetic. Photo by David Phelps Hotel Restaurants Shine

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