Restaurant Development & Design

January-February 2017

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 • J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 7 MIDCENTURY MEETS MEDITERRANEAN AT LA SIRENA says her team was tapped in part because TPG had worked with B&BHG on previous projects, including New York's Eataly. "We had an existing relationship, and our sweet spot is handling very complex projects," Revkin says. "They knew they wanted La Sirena to be a modern, upscale Mediterranean restaurant. Their in-house creative team had some early conceptual ideas and a strong sense of what they wanted the restaurant to look like. Fol- lowing their initial creative briefs and the inspirational imagery they had collected, we worked back and forth with them in developing the plan, handling the program- ming and fleshing out their design vision." Creating Continuity La Bottega was comprised of two separate spaces that were accessed through the hotel lobby and that had an open plaza space between them. "The only way to go from the kitchen to one of these rooms or the other was to go through the lobby or to cross over the plaza," Revkin says. The project was so complex, in part, because these two spaces had to be not only redesigned but also reconfigured. Ultimately, the project team converted outdoor space to create the central bar that connects the two disparate spaces, which are now La Sirena's north and south dining rooms, and installed a new entrance vestibule. To compensate, the team also gave back a bit of space from each of the dining rooms to get more outside seating. "We felt strongly that we needed to add a bar and make all of the spaces flow together cohesively," says Jeffrey Katz, managing partner at La Sirena and Del Posto, another B&BHG restaurant, which is located a block away from the Maritime Hotel. "We were able to put in a 30-seat bar as well as roughly 20 tables, so it's considerable space that we took from the patio to create what's now the heart of the restaurant. Even with that, it's still a large and inviting outdoor space, especially for Manhattan." The entire front of the bar and of both dining rooms now has a blackened steel-framed glass curtain wall facade. It ensures great views and brings in lots of natural light. "The restaurant serves all day, from breakfast to late night. During the day, we have beautiful natural light Two main dining rooms, one on each end of the bar, look out onto the plaza. Both feature original ter- razzo floors, which set La Sirena's color palette. Photo by Kate Previte Utilities. Retrofitting La Sirena in a hotel that's been there for many years was tough. The utilities are older, and they used to run everything as one big business, so they didn't have to worry about separation of gas and electric, but we did. So getting the restaurant not just up to code but self-sufficient was a challenge. Even now, we continue to rely on the hotel for certain things. Kitchens. The main kitchen is on the plaza level behind the north dining room. We also have a small satellite kitchen in one of the private dining rooms upstairs and a prep kitchen in the basement. It's tricky because prior to us taking our space, the hotel had given up the space below La Sirena to the TAO restaurant and nightclub, which takes up two floors below us. We had to figure out a way to use our basement kitchen without disturbing their operations. We ended up putting in a dumbwaiter, which wasn't easy, given that we had to install a shaft over five floors while existing businesses were operating. Private dining rooms. They were another piece of the incredible, unique attributes that this space had. Sitting above the main dining rooms, they're big, beautiful rooms that have retractable roofs. We redecorated the rooms but didn't change the roofs, which pull back and leave open sky above when weather permits. Bar dining. We don't do dinner at the bar. We figured we already have 250 seats inside and another 150 outside, so we didn't feel we needed those 30 bar seats for dining. And with the bar being such a focal point, we decided it was better to leave it for people who just want to have a drink or gather for a cocktail before sitting down for dinner. That might evolve, but right now it's where we are. Owner Insights JEFFREY KATZ, Managing Partner

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