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 • 6 1 Reader's Choices With nearly 40 years of experience, Rick McCormack has built a career in restaurant design. As presi- dent of Studio McCormack, he oversees a staff of eight. Together they have created designs for RockSugar, Yard House, BJ's, Matchbox and Seasons 52. Prior to forming and running his own company, McCormack was head of design for the Cheesecake Factory for more than 13 years, where he was responsible for overseeing the creation of more than 150 restaurants nationwide. + A Sense of Arrival. We give the exterior the same attention as the inside of a restaurant in order to set the mood and guests' expectations, create anticipa- tion, and begin the dining experience upon approach. The building facade design should give you a sense of the experience that awaits you inside even if there isn't any kind of signage. Our exterior design of the Ritz Prime Sea- food entryway began with a two-story, polished stainless-steel abstract sea- weed sculpture backlit with LED lights. To that, we added a horizontal band of porcelain wood planking inspired by a seaside boardwalk. As you step inside this passageway, a stylized school of fish adorns one wall, while opposite it, a wall fountain adds the sound of falling water. + Blending Kitchen and Dining. Where once we had a solid wall separating these two areas with no hint of what was taking place in the kitchen, we now have dining flowing into the kitchen with little or no barrier between them. With the popularity of the Food Network and cooking shows along with more healthy eat- ing habits, people have a great interest in seeing the production of their meal and experiencing the art of cooking. We designed the Matchbox restaurant in Ashworth, Va., with a chef's table that is flanked on either side by the walk-in coolers displaying all they hold along with a window at the head of the table for an unobstructed view into the prep area. In the entry of the restaurant, a dining counter extends into the main cooking area, giving guests a front row seat to the scents, sounds and sights of the restaurant kitchen. + Continuity of Design. The stronger the relationship between elements in a space, the better the space is received. Taken individually, various de- sign elements may be appealing, but when combined with other, equally well-designed items, the end result can be confusing and unpleasant. Having a common thread that runs through a space will result in a much stronger, synchronized design that will evoke a more favorable response. At the Ritz Prime Seafood in Newport Beach, Calif., we used a coral motif as a uniting theme. This motif shows up as an illuminated design in the restroom mirrors, is carved into the wood bar die, is etched into polished stainless steel on the chef's table, is employed as an overhead metal ceil- ing canopy and is carved into travertine wall tiles.

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