Restaurant Development & Design

SEP-OCT 2018

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S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 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 • 5 7 VIBRANT VIDRIO Raleigh's Window to the Mediterranean PROJECT PROFILE O ver a 40-year span, Lou Moshakos has developed a lot of restaurants. His hospitality management firm, LM Res- taurants LLC, now operates 7 different concepts throughout the southeastern United States, including 30 Carolina Ale House sports bars in 6 states. His latest endeavor, Vidrio, adds a new kind of sparkle to the company's crown. Located in the trendy Glenwood South District of downtown Raleigh, N.C., Vidrio is the first LM Restau- rants operation to venture into polished-casual, chef- driven dining territory, and it does so artfully. Food, of course, serves as the main draw, with menus showcasing fresh ingredients and Mediter- ranean-inspired dishes perfect for sharing with family and friends over a bottle or two of wine. But the backdrop against which the restaurant serves its best sellers such as grilled octopus, wood-fired lamb skewers, whole grilled fish and hearth-baked breads draws rave reviews as well. Its pièce de résistance: a 2-story, 30-by-80-foot feature wall in the main dining room. Adorned with more than 750 colorful, hand-blown glass bowls and orbs of various sizes and organic shapes, the wall was designed and created by Ohio-based glass artist Doug Frates. Con- ceptually, it evokes the sun setting over the Mediterranean Sea — warm yellows, oranges and reds on the left side of the wall flowing into cooler blues and greens on the right. Large script below the instal- lation encourages guests to relax and "enjoy a moment for the time being." It's just the type of high-impact design feature that Moshakos knew he wanted when he began envisioning the concept for Vidrio — which means "glass" in Spanish — eight years ago. And it was the first key design element to be decided on and installed as part of the project, which includes the work of several local artisans and craftspeople in addition to Frates. "Lou wanted a major wow-factor feature wall in the restaurant and had planned the building's layout to incorporate one, but it took some time to figure out what it would actually be," says Giorgios Bakatsias, who led design on the Vidrio project. Bakatsias, himself an award-winning restaurateur, heads up The Giorgios Group, which develops its own restaurant portfolio, consults on concept development, and provides de- sign and architecture services to clients through ARCHE Design. "We tested several concepts for the wall, starting two years before construc- tion began, but nothing really clicked until Giorgios came in with the idea of the blown glass and introduced me to Doug Frates' work," Moshakos says. "I fell in love with it instantly and knew that was it. It turned out to be even better than I expected. When customers turn the corner into the dining room, it literally takes their breath away." By Dana Tanyeri Left: Upon entry, guests see a display showcas- ing the day's fresh catch as well as a glimpse of the open kitchen and dining room beyond. Above: A two-story art-glass feature wall, evoking the sun setting on the Mediterranean Sea, anchors Vidrio's design. Custom rope and imported sculp- tural chandeliers add interest and bring the scale of the large open dining room down.

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