Restaurant Development & Design

MAY-JUN 2018

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6 2 • 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 Form + Function Outdoor Dining By Amanda Baltazar T he arrival of spring may bring daffodils and gentle breezes, but it also signals the arrival of restaurant patrons who want to sit outside. For restaurants with the space, out- door dining can make an attractive and profitable destination. But these areas can't be an afterthought. "They have to be an integrated part of a restaurant's brand," says Howland Blackiston, owner, King-Casey, Westport, Conn. This means continuing colors, themes, decor and the general vibe of the indoors, which strengthens the overall brand. "You want the outdoor space to be an extension of the interior of the restaurant, for the sake of continuity of experience," says Michael Harris, general manager of The Katharine Bras- serie & Bar in Winston-Salem, N.C. The only time you might deviate from this, he says, is if you're offering a different menu, or concept, outside. In general, however, try to position your outdoor space in relation to the sun's path, says Chris Michero, creative director, Duncan Miller Ullmann, Dal- las. "Creating even just a small outdoor space enhances the guest experience; even if it's only used as a view from the interior," he says. Visible or an Escape Outdoor dining spaces can be located anywhere. In cities, they're usually on sidewalks, but they're not uncommon in backyard areas or even in gardens or on rooftops. If you have a choice, "it's best to put the outdoor space in an area of the most direct sun exposure, and then add in awnings and umbrel- las," advises Michero. These exterior spaces can be one of two things; Ideal people-watching spots where sidewalk dining can im- merse guests in the neighborhood or as escapes, with landscaping and furniture offering the illusion of taking diners to another place. Michael Harris says you should make the best of whatever you have. "If you have a great view of a sidewalk with ideal people-watching vantage points, you should minimize land- scaping, as an example, to give your patrons an element of activity. If, however, your sidewalk is quiet, ramp up the landscaping with extra coverage to create an escape." Outdoor spaces need to be designed in the context of their sur- roundings, says Justin Cucci, executive chef/founder of Edible Beats restau- rant group in Denver, which has four restaurants with outdoor seating. "The more dynamic the view, the more you need to let your design recede into the background. Offer some comfort- As Miami's Bulla Gastrobar expands, designer Vincent Celano hopes to maintain the strong patio element in each new location. Image courtesy of Bulla Gastrobar

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