Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Before & After ~ St. Louis Cafe

Happy Wednesday everyone! We have a commercial project on the blog today. It was one of my favorite projects of 2010/2011. I was lucky enough to work on it with my close friends and culinary talent, Sarah Lamborn, where we took an essentially plain box and transformed it. Enjoy!!

Fuel Station is an employee cafe in St. Louis, MO. This space was used as the employee break room in a large warehouse where they make and ship corrugated boxes countrywide. The owners of the company wanted to create a not-for-profit cafe that would serve as an employee perk and offer the workers, gourmet, one of a kind dishes, for under $5.00. I worked with the business owner and restaurant manager as a consultant to transform the space from a stark and somewhat dismal eating area, to a visually stimulating, yet comfortable and masculine environment with original rustic design elements.


Inspiration Board


These are custom signs we had framed in recycled barn wood siding found by the restaurant manager at an old farm in northern Missouri. We had them placed on sliders with classic barn door hardware. We used the same barn wood to construct the food and clean-up counters. The clean up counter is shown in the picture above.

Here the contractor is installing the custom 4' square pipe lights we designed. They are made out of iron pipes and elbow pipe fittings.They're super easy to make and the materials can be found at any Home Depot, Lowes, etc.

This is the custom sign we designed to cover the food pass-through window at night. The restaurant manager found an amazing sign company, called Engraphix, gave them the original idea (which came from her old dog tags) and they worked their magic. They took into consideration how the sign was going to be used, and created this gorgeous and functional piece of art. It was constructed out of iron and was patina-ed to a oil rubbed bronze finish with orange rust undertones.

Here's a detail shot of the poured concrete counter tops. When the manager and I first started this project, we were hoping to install concrete floors as well. But with budgetary constraints we weren't able to do it and saved the idea for future developments when the cafe could afford it. The subtlety of the grey concrete combined with the sun-bleached barn wood turned out beautifully though. 

All the delectable baked goods were courtesy of Fuel Stations manager and head chef, Sarah Lamborn. She and I had such a great time working on this project. It was a labor of love for her and she got the chance to do something so many chefs dream of... Start a new restaurant from the ground up with her menu and her overall vision. She did an amazing job and took her new found expertise back to the Bay where she's working for Paula LeDuc on once in a lifetime events. I'm really proud of my friend for following her passion and making an awesome career out of it. Oh, and her food is the best, hands down, you'll ever taste. Ugh, I miss it, and her, so much!

I hope you enjoyed this before and after project today! Look back in the next couple of days for a flower post on something soft and pretty in pink!


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