Restaurant Development & Design

JUL-AUG 2018

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

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J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 8 • 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 • 6 3 MI VIDA MAKES WAVES AT D.C.'S NEW DISTRICT WHARF PROJECT PROFILE By Dana Tanyeri T he opportunity to snag a spot in a prime urban waterfront redevelop- ment project doesn't come along every day. When one did, Wash- ington, D.C.-based KNEAD Hospitality + Design didn't hesitate. The boutique restaurant development and operations firm, which last year unveiled its second Succotash unit in an elegantly renovated Penn Quarter bank building, made more waves this year with the opening of Mi Vida Restaurante at District Wharf. Part of Phase 1 of what ultimately will be a $2 billion, mile-long mixed- use project along the Potomac River, Mi Vida is a collaboration between KNEAD Hospitality and celebrated Mexican chef and cookbook author Roberto Santiba- ñez. He and KNEAD founding partner Jason Berry had both spent years helping to grow the Rosa Mexicana restaurant brand — Santibañez as culinary director and Berry leading operations — and had always wanted to work together again. The Wharf project provided the opportu- nity to do so. In developing the Mi Vida con- cept, the KNEAD team spent 10 days with Santibañez in Mexico experienc- ing culture, food traditions, music, art and history. "We went well beyond the facade and really felt Roberto's passion for authentic Mexican," says Michael Reginbogin, a hospitality industry vet- eran who partnered with Berry to found KNEAD Hospitality + Design in 2014. "We wanted the design of the restaurant to speak to the same sort of nuanced narrative that he creates with food. We didn't want to do a trendy Mexican place with Day of the Dead skulls all over the Project Team Owner: KNEAD Hospitality + Design Chef & Partner: Roberto Santibañez Architecture & Design: Studio //3877 The top-floor dining room incorpo- rates pre-colonial Aztec and Mayan motifs and imagery in its wood cutout ceiling, wall mural and concrete breezeway block wall. Images courtesy of Rey Lopez

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