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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5 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 A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 PROJECT PROFILE BY DANA TANYERI O pening a new fine-dining restaurant in Chicago's red-hot Fulton Market neighborhood, where some of the city's high- est-profile restaurant groups now play, isn't for the faint of heart. Such a move is even bolder if it's an operator's very first restaurant. But when the principals of upstart Sancerre Hospitality set out to develop BLVD as their inaugural concept, they took a go-big-or-go-home approach — and the result is dazzling. Opened last June, BLVD (pronounced "Boulevard") is a modern American restau- rant where the champagne flows, the chan- deliers sparkle, and the design, menus and beverage programs channel Golden-Age Hollywood glamour. With it, Sancerre brought a bit of luxe to the district that as recently as a decade ago was considered a skid row for its mix of meatpacking facili- ties, flophouses, dive bars and drug-fueled crime. Today, Fulton Market District is becoming a haven for the hip and the hungry, replete with top-notch restaurants, coffeeshops, condos, boutiques and other businesses, many of whose concepts and designs tap into its gritty, industrial vibe. At first glance, BLVD does so as well. The building's refinished brick facade is unassuming and keeps with the character of the neighborhood. Once inside, however, guests make their way along an entry corridor, turn the corner at the host stand and are instantly transported onto a stage set by Chicago- based designer Karen Herold, principal at Studio K Creative, to evoke a luxurious Sunset-Boulevard-circa-1950s hot spot. "When we decided to open a res- taurant, we wanted to do something that was a full experience," says co-owner BLVD GLOWS WITH GOLDEN-AGE GLAMOUR

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