Restaurant Development & Design

FALL 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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F A L L 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 • 1 5 air. This cost-effective approach allows easy access by servers but may pose security and quality risks. Many other displays are enclosed in glass, with temperature and humidity systems to ensure the optimal storage environment for expensive wines. Closed cases also allow for keeping the wine under lock and key. The more sophisticated the system, of course, the greater the cost. Simple racking can be installed for less than $2,000, while enclosed, tempera- ture-controlled systems can run into the high fve fgures. Malek suggests carefully planning out a restaurant's wine program before selecting and designing a display. If the program will feature magnums, half bottles and champagnes, the racks have to accommodate those different-sized bottles. Dining room fow is also impor- tant: If a sommelier or servers will select wines from the display during service, access should be as easy as possible. The number of bottles on display depends on the space available. When showcasing thousands of bottles of wine, weight becomes a critical design issue. In those instances, Davis says, if the display space is not on a slab, alternative reinforcements must be incorporated to support the weight. In most cases, labels are a key part of wine displays. Storing bottles with the labels visible makes them easy to read and adds to the artistic appeal. In some cases, empty bottles serve as a geometric design element on a back or side wall of a room. Cases for display and sale are generally found in more upscale restaurants, while bottles used for decor are often found in more casual operations. In some instances, premanufactured racks are used; in others, components are constructed elsewhere and assembled on-site. Lighting is another important element in wine displays. The advent of LED lights means that the bulbs will not heat up the surrounding area, mak- ing them an optimal choice for wine displays. Lighting from within turns the wine wall or room into a beacon, Davis points out. Some designs incorporate clear lights, while others feature multi- colored bulbs for a different effect. The fnal selection of the type of wine display will be a result of the chef's or owner's objective. The con- cept conversation should take place between restaurateur and designer early on. Whether the wine display is part of the original design of a new operation or is added to an existing space, it should refect the ambience and personality of the restaurant. Here are three examples of wine displays that demonstrate differing objectives and execution. Display type: Freestanding divider wall Bottles held: 70 This "fne dining at affordable prices" restaurant has a large freestand- ing wine wall that separates the bar/ lounge area from the dining room. The wall is used as a showplace for the res- taurant's favorite wines. It holds around 70 bottles and is temperature and humidity controlled. Both red and white wines are on display, reminding diners that wines are available to enjoy with their meals. The racked bottles are not accessed by staff during service; rather, they're simply for display and suggestive selling while orders are flled from inven- tory held in back. Charcoal's wood-and-glass wall is functional, acting as a divider, but also holds visual appeal, as it is transparent. It is lit internally with clear LED bulbs. The wall was built into the design of the original space, says Davis, who worked with owner Gary Sumihiro to create the display. The restaurant aggressively pro- motes its wine program as accessible and affordable. Guests can order a fight, half pour, full pour or bottle and a custom-designed wine dispenser lets them sample many wines by the glass. Wine pairings are suggested with signa- ture menu items as well. Denver-based Charcoal Restaurant, also seen on the opposite page, uses a glass-enclosed, freestanding divider wine wall to separate the bar from the dining room. (Photo by Ellen Jaskol) Charcoal Restaurant, Denver

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