Chairs, Elevators and Caddies
For every restaurant in the planning stage, whether it’s a small mom and pop shop with a zero-based budget or a 15,000 square foot place with 400 seats that’s ready to spend five million dollars or more on construction and FF&E…there’s a design team involved. For the small joint it’s probably just mom or pop (or both) but anything larger or trying to be competitive in today’s restaurant market there are several people that need to be involved when the design of the restaurant needs to be put on paper for budgeting and/or permits. This “team” creating the space plan should include the person paying the bills, the Chef (or foodservice consultant), an architect, an equipment provider, an interior designer etc. You’re may already be the person who writes the checks, or the Chef, you may not know how these other guys work. Peter Zakas covers a lot of ground including his approach to the business of design and what it means to be a restaurant designer as opposed to an architect or interior decorator.
Peter and his brother Spiros became extremely influential designers in the 70’s and helped establish the language of restaurant design that was happening around the country at the time. This was the era of discovery for West Coast Chefs like Alice Waters and Jeremiah Tower. In New York, Joe Baum and George Lang were defining iconic dining in places like the Four Seasons and Café des Artiste. And well Chicago was the home of Richard Melman, who we’ve talked about already and I have feeling will keep coming up. And it was with Richard that Spiros and his brother Peter created more than a fistful of restaurants for Lettuce. Though Spiros left us far too soon, Peter has kept designing, now joined by his son PJ, they keep growing and designing.