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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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 • J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 7 operate. Many designers don't know enough about restaurant operations to even care about things like service flow and work stations. But if you get those things wrong, you'll have significant functional problems. Even owners some- times don't know it when they're looking at somebody's 2-D plan and trying to find a way to squeeze in another two-top. But after the fact, when they're open and operating and things aren't working like they should, they'll know, and their busi- ness will suffer for it." Tanya Spaulding, principal at Shea, a full-service design and branding firm headquartered in Minneapolis, agrees that function has to be considered as much as, if not more than, form — par- ticularly for restaurant projects. "Res- taurants require a very different strategy than, say, hotel lobbies or retail spaces," she says. "In restaurants, every square foot of space needs to serve a purpose and perform well." Discussions of functionality absolutely must happen at the very beginning of every restaurant project, Spaulding cautions. When they don't, the design team can inadvertently wind up creating barriers for the operator and the restaurant staff. "Building in functionality before we even start talking about aesthetics is critical," Spaulding says. "It starts with considering the space needs and discussing the brand, creating a brand strategy, talking about differentiation and how the concept fits within the competi- tive set. And we create a design and a brand foundation simultaneously so that we really understand everything that needs to go into that design in order for that brand to succeed. We never want Designer: Shea Highlights: Glass wine room, service stations, larder shelf Bellecour, a French-inspired bistro and bakery by Chef Gavin Kaysen and the team behind the James Beard Award-winning Spoon and Stable restaurant in Minneapolis, opened in March of this year. Taking over a location in suburban Wayzata that had housed the Blue Point res- taurant for three decades, Kaysen worked with Shea to transform the 5,800-square-foot space into a versatile, all-day operation. Wine Room: Challenged to provide ample wine storage and some separation between Bellecour's main dining area and an area des- ignated for semi-private dining, Shea created a large glass wine room that accomplishes both objectives while at the same time providing a visually striking design element. "You could almost argue that it's a kind of service sta- tion as it's designed to be highly functional," Spaulding notes. "Gavin wanted a wine visual, but we didn't have enough room to do a pretty wine display and also have sufficient storage behind closed doors," Spaulding explains. "We decided to cre- ate a larger wine room and use it as a functional part of the design. Wine rooms aren't a unique concept, but it's often difficult to get one right in the middle of the space. This solution cre- ated a feature that is very visual, gives them the separation that they needed, and is easy for servers and bartenders to access and find what they need." Service Stations: Two custom-designed ser- vice stations created for the Bellecour project are not just popular with service staff — their positions at either end of the long, rectangular dining room saves them valuable steps — they're also a hit with guests. Spaulding says several have inquired about where they might get a similar piece for their homes. "They do have a residential furniture feel to them, which fits the overall brand and design of the restau- rant," she says. "That's central to every service station we design. They look great, but they also give the staff easy access to whatever they need so they don't spend so much time walking back and forth for glasses, wine, water, etc." Larder Shelf: Also in the residential design vein, Shea provided a sort of visual screen between the dining room and the open kitchen with a brightly painted larder shelf. "It almost feels like a sideboard in someone's home," Spaulding says. Stocked with a colorful selec- tion of wines, spices and cookbooks by Kaysen's mentor chefs, friends and investors, including Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller, the larder provides separation but also transparency. Guests get views into the kitchen, and the chefs can see into the dining room. A bonus feature: The unit's bottom cabinets provide additional and much-needed storage. Bellecour, Wayzata, Minnesota Wine Room Service Station Larder Shelf Photos by Eliesa Johnson

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