Best In Show – Commercial

Firm: Studio Grey
Designer(s): Amanda Maday, Allied ASID
Project Name: Bourbon & Smoke

Project Statement

This “bourbon & smoke” contemporary southern style restaurant concept in St. Paul, Minnesota features southern smoky barbeque dishes and a list of bourbons to make any Old Fashioned lover drool.

The design team aimed to create a modern neighborhood barbeque joint that felt equally inviting for downtown professional business lunches and pre-baseball game happy hours. The concept is a sleek, comfortable space that provides its acclaimed chef with the opportunity to showcase his unique take on BBQ-style “whole-hog” cooking.

Renovating this space (a former wine bar), the challenge for the design team was to maximize the small and unusual ‘L’ shape of the existing floor plan while gaining natural daylight and access to the surrounding views. The restaurant was segmented into small, dark spaces. The kitchen was wedged in a narrow area behind the bar, and the entrance and host stand were enclosed by solid brick walls, blocking natural light and connection to the rest of the building. The re-design removed interior brick walls, bringing in natural light and views into the building’s lobby and public areas and creating an energy and flow that was previously lacking. The expanded kitchen was relocated to the lower level, and the dining space was reconfigured to allow for beautiful park and city views from every table.

The restaurant’s interior showcases the gorgeous exposed brick and arched windows of the historic building while layering in sleek coppers, modern textures and patterns, and sophisticated stone finishes. The design of the 70-seat restaurant features custom creations from local artists including light fixtures, a copper bar top, and charred wood wall art.