Restaurant Development & Design

MAY-JUN 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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2 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 Y / J U N E 2 0 1 8 TREND five more Punch Bowl Socials planned for this year and eight for next, all based on a national strategy with real estate a key focus. What seems to draw Millennials in particular to the concept is the merging of great food and fun cocktails with interactive gaming options, from bowl- ing to arcades, karaoke, bags, shuffle- board and other options, depending on the venue, all of which are located in expansive spaces around 24,000 square feet. "Of course we cast a wide net and are popular among Gen X too, but Millennials in particular crave experi- ences and demand authenticity in their concepts with an emphasis on food and beverage," says Thompson. Nothing like your dirty bowling alleys of yore, these social gaming venues serve food and drink through- out the space. "Our guests will have full-service, multicourse meals right at the bowling alley, not just snacks," Thompson says. There's also a more traditional, sit-down restaurant as you walk in each of the locations with a "modern diner style" scratch kitchen menu developed by famed Atlanta chef Hugh Acheson. Thompson describes the interior de- sign of most of the spaces as "dirty mod- ern," thoughtfully combining Victorian elements with midcentury modern and industrial accents without any kitsch. At every location, there's also a popular Holi- day Lodge, a semiprivate area for events and gatherings. "Nothing is segmented by one design concept," Thompson says. "All of the spaces are folded together in one tapestry." The design process, as one might imagine, is intense. "We spend 24 to 36 hours immersed in the location of our next market and try to understand the community and brainstorm while we're there, and we don't leave until we finish a schematic layout," says Thompson. Though the team uses somewhat of a template — positioning the full-service restaurant near the entrance of each venue — they let creativity rule, and design elements are often inspired by the history of the buildings they are in. At the Stapleton location in Den- ver, the team converted an old, aban- doned air traffic control tower from the former Denver airport of the 1930s into a Punch Bowl Social, complete with vintage luggage, steel beam airplane cutouts, tabletop graphics mimick- ing the old runways and other subtle airplane details, all carefully designed to avoid cheesiness. At the Chicago location, the team was inspired by the art deco look of the Windy City's architecture but ended up going with a 1970s Laundromat look with a wall of different-colored dryers and other elements from that era. The Punch Bowl opening in San Diego is in a building that housed a former 1930s boxing arena, so there is a lot of Archie Moore (known as the Old Mongoose) references as well as some boxing-inspired design elements. Baseball parks and stadium lifestyle centers have also been a focus as of late through partnerships with the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals. There's no sign of slowing down for this immersive restaurant concept. +

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