Restaurant Development & Design

MAR-APR 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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4 0 • 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 • M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 8 ONCE UPON A RESTAURANT a steady stream of tourists. "There are a lot of lobbyists in the building, so some of the spaces and design elements stem from the idea of providing comfortable, masculine areas that convey a sense of privacy," O'Neill says. "We wanted people to feel like they could come in and discuss business but not necessarily feel like they're in a bar." To that end, a highlight of the design narrative is a separate but open lounge that evokes a sophisticated resi- dential den. Traditional red velvet love seats front a large candlelit fireplace; charcoal gray walls and Oriental-style area rugs over wood plank floors create intimacy and warmth. Furniture includes polished wood game tables and com- fortable armchairs, and a gallery-style collection of framed art and historical images adds character and local color. "It's very Ralph Lauren," O'Neill says of the room. "It's the kind of envi- ronment in which these guys love to have meetings — super-traditional and clubby but polished. And the room is a favorite spot for people on dates and tourists soaking up the D.C. vibe, too." While much of the restaurant's design tells a masculine and traditional story — the main dining room mirrors the New York unit's room, with oak pan- eling, gray furnishings and black-and- white artwork — the design team gave the narrative feminine touches as well. The private dining room, for instance, is in part a tribute to the women known to frequent the Hotel Pennsylvania's famous Café Rouge. The cafe gained fame in the late 1930s and early '40s for hosting Big Band performers such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, the Andrews Sisters and the Glenn Miller Or- chestra. In 1940, Miller recorded the hit song "Pennsylvania 6-5000," a tribute to the hotel. "There are a lot of nods to the women, in particular, who would spend their time at the hotel and cafe," O'Neill says. "The more we dug into the history, the more inspired we got to weave that into Penn 6 D.C.'s story. For the private dining room, we went with a very sexy, glam look with a red lacquered floor and a laser-cut, three-dimensional ceiling treatment. It feels a little like a jewel box or as if you're in the rotunda of the Capitol. And, as in the den, there's a lot of art, all of which has a story to it — some connection to that time period or to the Washington, D.C., community. My favorite piece is a large impressionistic painting by a local artist of a woman who is supposedly the first woman in the city to have filed for divorce. It happened right around the time of the Hotel Penn- sylvania's heyday, so it was a great little addition to the narrative." To give the private dining room a more elegant feel, but one that still fit the restaurant's overall aesthetic, O'Neill balanced heavy, black-painted built-ins with creamy white, pinstriped wallpaper and crystal chandeliers whose shape evokes the Capitol dome. Such layering of design elements to tell a restaurant's story, O'Neill says, keeps every project unique. "Very layered concepts with lots of narratives, which is what we had with Pennsylvania 6 D.C., let us create a very distinct experience," she says. "The best stories reflect not just the concept of the restaurant but also who are the operators, what's the history, what are the local connections, why is it important that you're dining in this establishment, what do the own- ers want you to feel about it when you leave? That should be true whether it's a concept's first or fifth unit. Translating all of that into the environment is where it gets really fun." + A highlight of the design narrative at Pennsylvania 6 D.C. is a lounge that evokes a residential den. Red velvet love seats front a candlelit fireplace, while charcoal gray walls, wood plank floors and area rugs create inti- macy and warmth. Image courtesy of Pennsylvania 6 The private dining room at Pennsylvania 6 D.C. was inspired by women who frequented the Hotel Pennsylvania's Café Rouge in the '30s and '40s. Image courtesy of Pennsylvania 6

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