Restaurant Development & Design

WINTER 2014

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

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feel to them," McGarr says. "They're a fun design element that we brought over from Coppa Ristorante. They were heavily gilded gold when we acquired them, but we had them painted for our color scheme." In fact, Cooper took the mirrors to an auto detailing company for their paint job. The entire back bar wall was mir- rored to create refection and light. The white-framed mirrors were then placed atop the mirrored wall. "The layering brought a little simplicity and warmth to the space," McGarr says. "The third mirror, painted our peacock blue, was placed on the opposite wall, which is white, to provide some contrast." Fresh Dough Spotlighted While McGarr employed eclectic furnish- ings, vintage accessories and vibrant colors to create a warmly sophisticated residential style, Cooper and Clark, with executive chef Brandi Key, incorporated some unique operational aspects at Cop- pa Osteria. In addition to a large expo kitchen, the space includes a glassed-in Dough Room and a walk-up pizza-by-the- slice window. A prominent feature in the din- ing room, the Dough Room's design lets guests observe Key's staff at work making fresh pasta and pizza dough. The roughly 300-square-foot space includes a 14-foot, 100-year-old wooden dough table. "It's a working part of our kitchen operation," Cooper says, "but we also make the Dough Room available for larger groups — up to 14 guests — to have special private dinners there." "The whole design of the restaurant actually started with the Dough Room," McGarr adds. "Grant, Charles and Brandi wanted a space that would put a spotlight on the fresh pasta making and the fresh dough used in the pizzas. It's a big part of the show and is the one thing I planned the whole design around. As we started to see the room come together in construc- tion we added design elements to it, like the large chalkboard sign fronting the top wall of the space and the brass light fxtures that illuminate the board." Those light fxtures ft the style of others used throughout the space — sim- ple in design but warm in fnish. Along with the chairs, lighting was among the more expensive of the design details, McGarr says. "We used a furniture fab- ricator who created the fxtures. I used them in asymmetrical format so it feels like there are chandeliers over the tables. It was another way to bring warmth and dimension to the space." Retro-style neon signage and a striped awning work together on the building's exterior to fag the pizza-by- the-slice window, another unique feature. Through the window pedestrians and guests utilizing the outdoor seating area can order slices of featured varieties of Coppa's signature Neapolitan-style pizza. "It's a great feature for the neighbor- hood," Cooper says. "We have a lot of families nearby and there are always people meandering around shopping in the area." The window, positioned to the left of the main restaurant entrance, is serviced through a small kitchen area at one end of the bar wall, which runs along the left interior. Energy from the Outside In The pizza-by-the-slice window is just one of the key exterior ele- ments that the Coppa Osteria team incorpo- rated into its design. Natural-looking boxwood tile covers the restaurant' s another strategy that McGarr says was employed both to create a distinctive look and feel and to add some comfort and warmth to a brand-new building. Wrapping around the restaurant's prime corner location is a spacious outdoor patio set off from the main sidewalk by a low, curved brick wall. "This location was particularly attractive because it is a corner and gave us the ability to have a big outdoor patio space on two sides," Cooper says. "It gives us double the exposure and creates a lot of energy for the concept from the outside in." With seating for 80, the patio was designed for comfort, even during Houston's sizzling hot summers. Large market-style umbrellas in Osteria's bright yellow color provide shade and tabletops are epoxy coated to keep them cool. McGarr adds, "We were careful to design the space — both inside and out — to be both distinctive and comfortable year-round." + W I N T E R 2 0 1 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 • 5 7 The center of the dining room features a large round table with a more modern white top. Customers in the dining room have a good view into the Dough Room, one of the restaurant's key design features.

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