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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4 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 • F A L L 2 0 1 4 O riginally conceived as a temporary collaboration with the Foundation for the National Archives' "What's Cooking, Uncle Sam?" exhibit in Washington, D.C., America Eats Tavern now has a permanent home. Created by multicon- cept operators chef José Andrés and Rob Wilder of ThinkFoodGroup, the restau- rant opened in June at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in the D.C. suburb of Tysons Cor- ner, Va., a ftting locale for an upmarket concept celebrating Americana in fresh, sophisticated ways. Open for all dayparts, America Eats Tavern introduces guests to an "imagina- tive interpretation of American culture with a modern twist." Breakfast, for ex- ample, might feature a biscuit with egg, trout sausage, mustard greens, pickled red onions and blueberry catsup. Regular features on lunch and dinner menus include country hams, shrimp and grapefruit cocktail, Cobb salad and fried chicken with "cold slaw." The raw bar's marquee features include oysters served on the half shell, grilled or pickled. Wines and beers are all American, and specialty cocktails highlight seasonal and regional ingredients. As on the menu, the restaurant's design blends traditional and modern ele- ments to create a contemporary American aesthetic. Vincent Celano of New York- based Celano Design Studio led the effort. "Any time we design a restaurant, we start with trying to really understand the chef and the food, and work to cre- ate a story that brings all of the pieces together," Celano says. "We had a lot of discussions on food, on the American food culture and how it has evolved. We AMERICA EATS TAVERN Chef José Andrés' Pop-Up Americana Restaurant Finds a Permanent, Playfully Edgy Home at the Ritz BY DANA TANYERI, Editor-in-Chief Photo by Ken Wyner PROJECT PROFILE ThinkFoodGroup took over an existing restaurant space for America Eats Tavern. The open kitchen required minimal decor and equipment refreshes, but the entire front of the house was gutted and remodeled. Photo by Ken Wyner

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