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Top 100 Independents: Intentional Design

July 02, 2018
Republique

Republique

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Republique
Republique

Los Angeles

Established: 2013

Owner: Walter Manzke and Marge Manzke

Chef: Walter Manzke

Pastry chef: Marge Manzke

How they do it: Republique lives in a historic building known as the old Campanile space, formerly Charlie Chaplin’s studio. For the Manzkes, restoration was all about maintaining what already existed. “One of the biggest changes we did was to make the front of the restaurant a more open space with high, communal tables and making the back a quieter area where people can book reservations,” Walter Manzke says. “It was important for me that people can feel the energy of the restaurant when driving by and can see people inside, see people leaning up against the glass, etc. It creates an energy that draws people inside.”

Steal it: Marry the pastry chef. Joking! But in truth, make it a family affair.

The Grey

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Cedric Smith
The Grey

Savannah, Georgia

Established: 2015

Owner: Johno Morisano and Mashama Bailey

Chef: Mashama Bailey

How they do it: The biggest challenge in building out the old bus terminal where The Grey lives? Co-owner Johno Morisano says it was not screwing it up. “Our design challenge was to not screw up the historical and architectural integrity of the bus terminal. We needed to design and build a restaurant and drop it into the art-moderne bus terminal and make it feel like it had always been there.”

Steal it: Listen to the space and heed its advice.

Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley Wine Train

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Napa Valley Wine Train
Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa, California

Established: 1989

Owner: Noble House Hotels & Resorts Ltd., in partnership with Brooks Street

Chef: Donald Young

How they do it: The Napa Valley Wine Train consists of four restaurants inside four train cars, each with its own menu. “Four different menus are crafted to fit four classically designed trains using locally sourced meats, fish and produce that stands tall with the majority of local Napa dining venues—all of which is cooked to order in a moving environment,” says chef Donald Young. “Executing such a high standard of cuisine on each moving train means it’s crucial that the kitchen design be precise and efficient.”

Steal it: Be meticulous.

La Centrale

La Centrale

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MICHAEL PISARRI
La Centrale

Miami

Established: 2018

Owners: Managing partners Jacopo Giustiniani and Matthias Kiehm

Chef: Executive Chef Vincenzo Scarmiglia

Pastry chef: Sabrina Shin

How they do it: La Centrale is a multi-level, multi-restaurant food hall with full-service restaurants inside, meant to mirror food halls of the world. “We wanted to bring a piece of Italy to Miami and travelled with our architect, Giancarlo Pietri of Urban Robot and Associates, to Italy on numerous occasions to establish the design direction and select materials to provide authenticity,” says managing partner Matthias Kiehm. After traveling, the team decided making the food hall restaurant-focused would be the way to go. “Overall, the concept combined with its unique design makes the difference, and we sincerely hope that this will be appreciated by our guests.”

Steal it: Research, research, research, says managing partner Jacopo Guistiniani.

Cherry Circle Room

Cherry Circle Room

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Clayton Hauck
Cherry Circle Room

Chicago

Established: 2015

Owner: Land and Sea Dept.

Chef: Executive Chef Pete Coenen

Pastry chef: Kristine Antonian

How they do it: Cherry Circle room is located in what was formerly a private men’s club dating all the way back to the 1890’s. Land and Sea Dept. reimagined the space and referenced the building’s history of exclusivity with Cherry Circle Room, says executive chef Pete Coenen. The design plays on “themes of clubs and secret societies, but in a decidedly modern manner.” The brand’s identity references fraternal organizations of the past and is carried through with an icon system for the dishware, custom handmade banners, linens and more.

Steal it: Be open to creative workarounds, especially with historic buildings.

Linger

Linger

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Doug Brown
Linger

DENVER

Established: 2011

Owner: Justin Cucci

Chef: Justin Cucci

How they do it: Linger started without a concept or a theme, and without boundaries, says chefowner Justin Cucci. The restaurant and bar in a former mortuary is now a mish-mash of street food, farm-to-table, and pop culture. “It all comes together so that the sum is greater than its parts,” Cucci says. “Each room, each level, each floor is its own unique nod to any and all of these concepts. Linger’s celebration of diversity goes beyond diversity of its food. It celebrates diversity in people, culture, design, space and experience.”

Steal it: Do your due diligence, be guest-driven, and don’t be afraid to take risks while knowing your limits.

CLINK.

CLINK.

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CLINK.
CLINK.

BOSTON

Established: 2007

Owner: The Liberty Hotel

Chef: Daniel Kenney

How they do it: Located in a hotel that was formerly a jail, it was hard not to include a jail theme when creating CLINK., says general manager Glenn Sampert. “The vision was to have subtle jail references in a luxury atmosphere. Named after the sounds of jail bars closing, our signature restaurant, CLINK, serves modern American cuisine with locally sourced ingredients from Executive Chef Daniel Kenney. Inside CLINK., the slate floor outlines the footprint of an original jail cell which was 8- by 10-feet. The jail bars are original.”

Steal it: Make it functional but make it memorable.

Farmers Fishers Bakers

Farmers Fishers Bakers

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Farmers Fishers Bakers
Farmers Fishers Bakers

Washington, D.C.

Established: 2012

Owner: North Dakota Farmers Union, Dan Simons, Michael Vucurevich

Chef: Joe Goetze

Pastry chef: Ashley Hayward

How they do it: The Farmers Fishers Bakers urban farmhouse was built through the eyes of the farmer, says co-owner Dan Simons. “The source of your food matters, dishes and drinks are made from scratch and our team is always working to make sure you have a good time,” Simons says. “We do all of this while continuing to focus on operating in a green and sustainable way in order to protect the health of the land and waterways we all call home.”

Steal it: Spend triple the time analyzing the difference between a trend and a “flash in the pan” fad.

The Park

The Park

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The Park
The Park

New York City

Established: 2001

Owners: Eric Good and Sean MacPherson

Chef: Frederick Piccarello

How they do it: The Park, a mashup of parking and parks, is located in an old parking garage. A “parking” sign was already on the building, so it just stuck, says event coordinator Thomas Warnock. “The signage was already in place and looked great. Our adaptation comes from the expansion of our restaurant into a garden space that was an addition to our restaurant. The vacant lot next to our building was developed into a garden.”

Steal it: Respect your surroundings and learn to adapt.

Postal Fish Co.

Postal Fish Co.

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Postal Fish Co.
Postal Fish Co.

Pittsboro, North Carolina

Established: 2017

Owner: Bill Hartley and James Clark

Chef: James Clark

How they do it: The owners of Postal Fish Co. kept things simple when building out an old post office, says co-owner Bill Hartley. “We wanted to keep as much of the original details, i.e.; windows, doors, floor and stone wall. We knew we wanted an open kitchen and putting it up in the front window was the best use of the space. We are a rustic, but refined fish house; the space itself was a perfect match for our concept.”

Steal it: Connect the food and the passion to the concept.