Restaurant Development & Design

SEP-OCT 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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5 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 • S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 VIBRANT VIDRIO Special, Not Special Occasion The restaurant's design and architecture seek to highlight the large glass element and extend its vibrancy to every corner. At the same time, however, the design team incorporated elements and approaches that create human scale, warmth and comfort in the large, open space. Helping to bring the restaurant's tagline of "Earth. Flavor. Wine." to life is a materials palette marked by warm, polished woods; hand-painted tiles; mo- saics; custom rope chandeliers; and cre- ative, natural wood ceiling treatments. "The space needed to balance 'wow' and vibrancy with an everyday approach," says Katherine Goldfaden, director of marketing at LM Restaurants. "We were not out to create a special-occasion restaurant. Rather, the idea was to create a welcoming space that invites people to come and come often. It's amazing visually. There's a lot to see and different experiences to be had here, but we de- veloped the concept to be approachable. Mediterranean dining is not high-end. It's a casual, shareable approach to eating, and that's what we're grounded in." The building itself is new construc- tion. LM Restaurants purchased the parcel several years prior to being ready to develop it. It formerly held a long-vacant office building that ultimately was demol- ished to make way for new construction. "I worked with two different archi- tects to try to use that existing structure, but we just couldn't get it to work for what we needed," Moshakos says. "It was nondescript and had no historical significance, so we ended up bringing it down and building from the ground up to get what we needed on the site." The three-story structure houses both Vidrio and, on the third floor and rooftop, a Carolina Ale House. The first floor holds Vidrio's main dining room, wine cellar, small private dining area room called The Library, full bar and kitchen. The second level, used almost exclusively for private functions, includes a "Mediterranean villa-style" private-dining mezzanine overlooking the main dining room and a 1,500-square-foot banquet room. A second full kitchen upstairs en- sures that private functions don't disrupt operations downstairs, and a second bar, the Fiera Lounge, offers groups their own dedicated bar/lounge space. That lounge includes a 40-foot bronze-topped bar and takes its name from the warm, fiery glow visible through its windows from the street thanks to the room's red-painted ceiling and walls. At the street level, Vidrio's entry sets the stage with a bubbling water feature, flowers, herbs and olive trees brought from the village in Greece where Moshakos was raised. Once inside, guests first see a small display showcas- ing the day's fresh catch. The entryway view also includes a glimpse of the restaurant's open kitchen with wood- burning grill and hearth oven beyond. "It's all very cozy, and there's nice human scale upon entry," Bakatsias says. "But then, as you begin to walk in and pass the wine cellar, where we have more than 300 bottles on display, things begin to reveal themselves; we have introduc- tions and sneak previews of the sight- lines. As you continue in, on the right you see the main bar, which has great energy and is very inviting, and as you continue to move ahead to the left, you see this magnificent wall and soaring ceilings of the dining room and say, 'Wow! Now I've arrived for the full experience.' We really wanted to play with scale and also to incorporate the romance of not exposing everything all at once." Opposite the kitchen, an elevated area at the far end of the dining room offers dramatic views of the dining room and kitchen. A three-dimensional wood ceiling grid and large video screen art installations give the area its own unique vibe. While larger private functions are held on the sec- ond floor, the first level includes a smaller private dining room called The Library.

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