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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6 4 • 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 continuity between them as well as an outdoors that flows well with the inte- rior, says Cucci. "Everyone needs to feel they're part of the whole," he says, so don't make plant walls too high or push tables into a corner. And ensure traffic flows simply inside, too. Cucci is a fan of mak- ing outdoor guests come through the restaurant first, both to keep track of them, "and to allow your guests to experience a part of the restaurant they might not ordinarily experience if [the outdoors] has its own entrance." Even if you have no zones, you need a barrier around your outdoor area if it's on a sidewalk and something to break it up. Real plants keep the natu- ralness of a space, or Alinovich even sometimes uses preserved plants and trees, which require less maintenance. Blackiston is not a fan of using artificial plants because they tend to not communicate the fresh feel most restaurants these days want to portray. "They are lower maintenance, but you still have to clean them," he points out. "If it's too much to maintain, pick a dif- ferent plant or don't use potted plants. It's probably best to have real or not do it at all." Michero says when circumstances only permit artificial plants, "we find creative ways to keep them a bit farther from guest traffic to keep the illusion." Items like plants can also work as blocks, he adds, against noise or visual distractions like headlight beams or sunlight reflecting off windshields. Extra Elements Cooler weather can put a damper on outdooring dining, but there are options to warm things up — and to set a mood with both fire and water. "Things like fire pits are a great feature in an appropriate space. We like anything that can be done to create an outdoor room, enhancing the overall dining experience and atmosphere," says Peter Niemitz, head designer for Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group and president of Niemitz Design Group, Boston. Who doesn't love a fire pit? "It just attracts people in colder weather," says Harris. "You have the fire for warmth, and along with the food, it creates a destination." But you must do fire pits correctly, he says. There should always

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