Text description provided by the architects. Located in the landmark Puck Building in lower Manhattan, Chefs Club by Food & Wine is a restaurant that will offer culinary events showcasing the magazine’s Best New Chefs platform as well as the work of an international roster of star chefs.
Rockwell Group’s design concept is based on the notion that Chefs Club will break down the boundaries between the chef and guests. The existing turn of the century space has been envisioned to serve as a backdrop for a series of changing art installations that will capture “the mind of the chef.”
The 4,000 SF first floor dining space is organized into four areas: a bar/lounge, a main dining room, an open studio kitchen, and a chef’s studio/private dining room. Simple and organic materials in neutral hues, such as walnut, raw concrete, leather and blackened steel, complement the existing interior architecture. Several vitrine cases with blackened steel frames and glass panels are located throughout the space. Murray Moss is curating the cases in collaboration with Rockwell Group.
A floor-to-ceiling wall composed of Rondelle glass in subtle, de-saturated colors, such as bottle green and sepia, is arranged in a dark lead frame defines the entry, located on Mulberry Street.
To the left of the entry is the bar and lounge area, which seats 25 total. The dramatic 30’ long bar is comprised of a mixed wood and concrete bar top with metal detailing, and a concrete bar die. One end of the bar features a crudo station. A communal table, which extends from the opposite end, has a concrete top and dark stained walnut base.
The 7-seat lounge features custom chairs with leather seats embossed with words and messages and blackened steel legs with brass and two elegant kidney shaped sofas.
Main Dining Area
Rockwell Group selected a darker material palette and a mix of stained walnut dining tables in different shapes and heights for the 68-seat main dining area. The dining chairs are black metal with seal grey colored stretched leather seats and backs with brass accents. Three round banquettes, upholstered in deep blue-green velvet and cotton with a metal base, line one of the walls. A tall exposed wine storage wall with a drink stand helps define the main dining area.
The tableware blurs the line between fine and casual dining. Rockwell Group worked with local ceramic artist Jono Pandolfi to design plates that combine an unglazed underside and unique handmade profiles with a classic white earth ware and glaze. The plates, combined with simple silverware, glassware and napkins, will sit atop brown butcher paper. Additionally, Rockwell Group designed the uniforms for the front-of-house employees, as well as menus and graphics. Servers will wear a denim grey chambray button down shirt, dark rinse jeans and leather boots. The bar’s mixologist will wear a custom leather apron.
Chefs Club offers a new perspective on the open kitchen dining experience. Guests have the option of sitting at a round chef’s table adjacent to a four-seat counter height table, a second four-seat counter near the prep area, or a counter-height rectangular table near the pastry area. Tables will have a mixture of marble and walnut tops, similar to the counter tops that reference the counter tops of the kitchen. A dramatic 5’ x 5’ hood with an organic shape and molten-like reflective surface will hang above the kitchen. A vitrine will be suspended over the studio kitchen, containing around 1,300 lbs pound of salt that hangs over the chef’s table.
Chef’s Studio/Private Dining Room
The 15-seat private dining room adjacent to the main dining area has a lighter material palette, including white washed millwork, white washed ash tables and a white drop ceiling, that creates a comfortable residential feel. The room transforms into a chef’s studio for photo shoots and events with guest chefs. A dark wood wall pivots 180 degrees to reveal a chalk board on one side where the guest chef can write notes, and a vitrine on the other side where the chef can display his or her inspirations, similar to a cabinet of curiosities. Opening the wall also turns the room into a 24-seat extension of the main dining room.