Restaurant Development & Design

July-August 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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3 6 • 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 U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 7 Ways to Get Expensive Looks for Less 6 2. Work with what you have. Authenticity being the aim in restaurant design actually helps operators create spaces for less, notes Zinder. "You can use what's there and expose the struc- ture," he says. For Red Onion, a deli in Princeton, N.J., Zinder says "doing less means eliminating things. We removed the acoustical tile panels from the metal tee-grid frame of the existing suspended ceiling. Then, we painted the grid a vi- brant red and left it in place, suspended without panels, and painted the exposed conduits and ducts above the grid a pale blue. The bright red grid draws the eye and de-emphasizes the objects above it while avoiding the closed-in look of a dropped ceiling. By painting the grid, we changed how people look at the ceiling, making what was old and worn into something new in a cost-effective way." When Rachael Lantry, a designer at Arcsine, an architecture and interiors firm in San Francisco, was tasked with converting a former Asian pop-up res- taurant into a Cajun venue, Alba Ray's, which opened earlier this year, she was asked to do so on a tight budget. "We had to figure out what we could reuse, but the new aesthetic was completely different," says Lantry. The bar was a clean, light wood, which just didn't work. "But the cost of changing out a bar is massive, so we got some locally made custom tiles and clad the bar in them. Then, we stained the rest of the bar so it's totally transformed. The tiles are the most expensive material in the space by far, but because they're handmade, they are authentic-seeming." The large cost was still way less than replacing the bar, she notes. Lantry also spent some time decid- ing how to soften the walls from the austere Japanese look they had previ- ously. So, she booked a specialty painter to give the walls a rustic, weathered feel. "For that additional investment, we now have a custom hand-painted finish — six layers in total — which is unique and has a lot of variation," she says. She also kept the floor exactly as it was — black and scuffed, so it works for the Cajun feel. 3. Do it yourself. For his outdoor patio at Union Cantina, Duke decided to jazz up what he already had. He took some old banquettes and repaired them and booked an upholsterer to recover them. "We probably saved $25,000 rather than buying new ones," he says. Duke refinished both interior bars by hand, sanding them, repairing them, re-staining and re-lacquering them. "As opposed to going the route of master car- penters, we went the route of hiring guys who were extremely handy," he says. "By doing all the work ourselves, we saved in excess of $100,000 as all contractors Rustic elements in the design create an air of authenticity at Lewis Barbecue. Photo by Andrew Cebulka Horseshoes adorn the wall of Lewis Barbecue in Charleston, S.C. Photo by Andrew Cebulka

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