Yesterday we had another meeting at the site for the new restaurant. There is a real air of excitement. Yet, I feel nervous too. There are so many possibilities. And dreams. And we’re balancing those against what is possible in terms of budget, timing, structural necessities, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
We walked through the space with Kevin Blackney, AIA,principal, and Lee McGillin, interior designer, at Blackney Hayes Architects (BHA) Chris Stigler, our project architect, at BHA wasn’t able to make it yesterday.
The building is more than 150 years old and is full of elements that add both character and frustrations. I’d love to retain some of its beautiful bone structure, like the stonework, if we can. The space has undergone multiple renovations over the years and has been divided into lots of rooms leaving it with elements like interior window openings and uneven ceilings. And don’t even get me started on the electrical, plumbing, etc. It’s not going to be like a cake mix where you just add water and you have a cake (or restaurant, as the case may be).
We’re trying to be sensitive to the environment and see where it takes us. What does the building tell us about the space? What does the space bring to the environment of the restaurant it will become? It is the same way I approach food. I have to work with what is in season. If I’m looking for a 15 lb. wild striped bass but can only get an 8 lb. fish, I need to treat it differently – I cook it differently, prepare it differently, plate it differently.
We spent time envisioning what the restaurant experience would be like. We talked a lot about traffic flow. What will your view be from this seat? Will people be walking by? How can we give each table the most room? How can we make each seat a good seat? Should we change the traffic flow here? Can we turn the table there? Of course, everyone’s perception about what makes a “good” table is different so we didn’t always agree.
We looked at lighting too. How the sun shines into different rooms on different sides of the building at different times of the day will impact the window treatments and lighting plans. We’re all in agreement that lighting is key and we’re hiring a lighting designer.
That’s it for today. I’m off to prepare for dinner service at Alison at Blue Bell and then I’ll call the chair guy, check in with the logo designer, pick up some ice cream at Merrymead Farm, work on the menu for New Year’s….