Restaurant Development & Design

JAN-FEB 2018

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 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 • 5 1 the balcony itself," says Vu. "They're separated by a fraction of an inch." Return to Rustic The building, of course, wasn't all extra work and unusual challenges. John and Monica Rivers chose the space for its character. The restaurant's designers took advantage of this character by creating a comfortable restaurant with a rustic feel. In many ways, notes Vu, this is a re- turn to 4 Rivers' visual roots. While most newer locations have a contemporary look, the chain's first restaurants were designed like rural Texas barbecue joints. This new operation's design, then, leaves the building's red brick walls ex- posed, driving home the age and history of the space. The designers also opened up the ceiling on both the first and sec- ond floors to showcase its wooden beams and rafters, giving it a rural, barn-like feel, says Vu. This rustic approach, of course, im- pacted not just what the designers left in place but also what they added. Design elements had to match the look and feel of the structure, leading the team to specify very tactile, natural materials. "When you're going into a 100-year- old building, whatever you add to it is going to look new," says Vu. "That was the most challenging part: making sure whatever we added to it was compatible to what was existing and didn't feel like a complete afterthought." Look around this new 4 Rivers, and you'll see plenty of examples. Flooring includes stained concrete on the first floor and distressed wood on the second. Wrought-iron railings were used on the staircase leading to the second-floor dining room, while reclaimed wood was used to clad the front of the ordering counter and a nearby drink well holding bottled beverages on ice. This rustic approach extends to the restaurant's furnishings. Tables are all made of hardwood, with casters on them allowing for easy movement when staffers need to clean or set up for private events. There are also nods to the building's past as a firehouse. The design team maintained the large garage door frames that used to let trucks in and out (though the doors themselves were replaced). The walls boast pictures of old firehouse crews along with old firefighting equip- ment donated by local firehouses. Another localized design element can be found in the upstairs dining room, where the chain has placed three cork- boards for displaying pictures of the city. Though they're simple, they allow 4 Rivers to express its connection to the neighbor- hood and larger city. "The boards have photos of Atlanta — people, places, things — that are just tacked up. It gives a flavor of real people in a real town that's friendly and engaging. That's what we want to be with them," says Monica Rivers. Snapshot Headquarters: Winter Park, Fla. Concept Owner: John Rivers Concept: 4 Rivers Smokehouse features regionally diverse barbecue with flavors and styles drawn from the Southeast, Midwest, Atlantic and West Coast. Traditional smokehouse offerings include signature 30-day- aged smoked Angus brisket, St. Louis ribs, Southern pulled pork, smoked chicken and turkey, burnt ends, tri- tip, and a "Brontosaurus Beef Rib." Segment: Fast casual Average Check: $12 Location: 822 W. Marietta St. NW, Atlanta Units: 15 Opened: July 2017 Size: 4,000 square feet Real Estate: This location is a remodel of a nearly 100-year-old firehouse. 4 Rivers also does in-line, endcaps, conversions and new ground-up development. Design Highlights: Exposed ceiling rafters, distressed wood flooring and stained concrete flooring, patio and balcony Build-Out: Eight months The designers opened up the ceilings on both floors to showcase wooden beams and rafters.

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