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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M A Y / J U N E 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 5 a retail gallery of locally made products. Original subway tile walls, flooring, millwork and marble wainscoting that lined many of the original corridors were saved, cleaned, and either left in place or repurposed. A shaft space between the restaurant and the restroom corridor, originally used to hang and dry fire hoses, now holds a glass-blown floating balloon sculpture, one of several unique design features that blend old and new. Behind the reception desk, a parti- tion made from salvaged charred wood provides visual and acoustic separation between the check-in area and dining room. It holds a large screen where styl- ized videos of local artists and craftspeo- ple working to create the various prod- ucts and installations within the building are shown."The imagery is beautiful. It sets the stage and gives guests an idea of just how many hands and how much artistry touched this project," Deary says. The strength of the existing space is especially evident in areas like the pri- vate dining room. According to Kitchen, it's the most historically significant space in the building and one in which the design team was able to create dramatic effect with just a few special touches. "The beautiful millwork and ceil- ing shape were there; the gorgeous tile floors were there. Gina and her team just cleaned everything, painted the room a rich peacock blue and added luxurious draperies," Kitchen says. "But the room really speaks for itself. Our real chal- lenge there, and throughout the property, was to not bastardize what existed but to highlight and complement it. Simeone Deary used a tremendous amount of restraint, and the result is a design that's balanced, deeply layered and full of nostalgic glam." Named for the fire department's ac- tual apparatus room — the area where the fire engines were parked — The Appara- tus Room proper measures 5,900 square feet, including a main dining area, a private dining room, a lounge/lobby area, a bar, a new display kitchen and original back-of-house kitchen space. The team also took the opportunity presented by the room's double-height ceiling to create a mezzanine area above the kitchen. Overlooking The Apparatus Room, the mezzanine houses the Chef's Table, a combination demonstration kitchen and a 16-seat communal table where Lents and/or visiting chefs present upscale, ticketed multi-course menus. Nominated as a semifinalist for Best Chef — Great Lakes in this year's James Beard Awards, Lents in the same week saw the Chef's Table win Detroit Free Press Restaurant of the Year honors. "We knew that we were going to have a very ambitious food and beverage program and were looking for a Michelin- starred chef, eat-your-heart-out, this-is- Detroit quality offering," Kitchen said. "We overshot the mark with Tom, who was most recently executive chef at Chicago Trump Tower's Sixteen. He's a Michigan native, which was imperative to us, and is a fantastic chef who's also locally grounded. He does his own thing in the Chef's Table but also uses it as an incubator for visiting chefs and up-and-coming local chefs as a way to give back to Detroit." Artistry and Engineering On the main level, the centerpiece of The Apparatus Room is the large, Snapshot Opened: May 2017 Concept: Iconic New American Executive Chef: Thomas Lents Restaurant size: 5,900 square feet, 200+ seats Average check: $75 per person Property features: Integrated lobby, restaurant, bar, display kitchen; private dining room; mezzanine Chef's Table; 100-room hotel Design highlights: Original building features (firehouse doors, vintage fin- ishes); custom, locally crafted lighting, furnishings and art installations; vin- tage rugs; salvaged metal ceiling tiles; historical Motor City design inspiration Custom, locally crafted furnishings in muted, neutral tones allow the building's original character and finishes to shine through, while an open design creates easy flow between restaurant, bar, display kitchen and lobby. Image courtesy of Nathan Kirkman

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