Our newest and also quickest project to date is up on the site. Last December Justa Pasta came to me needing a facelift. The bones were working; open kitchen, high ceiling, tons of natural light, a centrally located service counter and industrial materials. The biggest challenge aside from budget was closing the restaurant for 3 short weeks and doing the flip. We see it all the time on TV but this is not TV, this is real life and projects typically take 3-4 months to build out.
Owen Gabbert and his crew signed on early to accept the 3-week challenge and we were off and running.
To keep to the tight schedule, we left all of the major components in the same place. The kitchen and service/order counter remained. This meant not moving plumbing or electrical, just replacing with new fixtures and built ins.
Part of the challenge with a counter service restaurant is letting people to know what to do and where to go when they walk in the door and without it feeling like you walked into McyD's. At Casework, our goal for design is to not only be beautiful but also intuitive. We want to inform the customer without overwhelming them with signage so they can make the realization on their own.
One way we achieved this was to open up the area completely. We pushed the once centrally located wine shelf to the wall. It's a beautiful backdrop and one of the first things you see when you walk in the restaurant! The large island helps to create a natural separation. This separation pushes people into a line for ordering and still leaves room for staff to easily deliver plates of food without a million "excuse me's" at a busy lunch service or roped off sections.
We drew from idea of the home kitchen where everyone stands around the island while someone is cooking. The idea here is similar, wait in line to order your food and lean on something comfortable while looking through the menu. This island holds some retail items like olive oil, salt and coffee but it's a simple barrier that pushes people into a que. To the left is another low counter and coolers for pre-made pasta.
We kept the color palette minimal. We wanted it to compliment the food and be a backdrop for those dining. I was inspired by Italian culture of piazzas, creating a familiarity with the large amount of regulars and pasta, we went to work coming up with a palette that felt refined but still approachable. Copper and black were selected as the main metal choices. White oak was selected for all of the built ins, tables and banquettes and butcher block. To balance the warmth of the copper and all of the oak built ins, we selected a blue gray tile from Ann Sacks for the order counter. The rest was white walls, refinished the concrete floors and some new trim pieces.
JP kept their existing bent wood chairs and provided some simple upholstered leather chairs for the bar and lounge area.
And a few before images so you can see for yourself the transformation that happened in just a few short months.