The chef-owner of this restaurant set himself the culinary goal of celebrating, without sentimentality or nostalgia, the world-class products that come from the farms, fisheries, and vineyards of Long Island. To support his goal, our design takes its cues from the character of the buildings and spaces from where these products originate – the barns, sheds, pens, hay lofts, and docks that populate the region. Just as he intends in his cooking, our design interprets these artifacts through a modernist lens to establish a contemporary dining environment that aligns with the contemporary spirit of the chef’s food and service.
Its location on an exterior corner of an upscale mall gave us the opportunity to establish a strong and clear identity for the restaurant that disengages it from the dreary architecture around it. The crisp white board and batten siding of the two long low exterior walls contrasts with the tall black clapboard ‘shed’ that marks the corner entrance. The extreme simplicity of the forms and colors of the exterior not only set Small Batch apart from the neighboring restaurants, but also telegraph the unpretentiousness of the dining experience inside.
The program of the 8,000 square foot interior consists of three main spaces that constitute the essential character of the restaurant – bar dining, main dining, and open kitchen. All three spaces are visually and materially connected, yet rendered distinct by their scale and the accoutrements of their separate functions. A network of white beams and open rafters throughout the bar dining and main dining spaces further distinguish each by compressing or expanding the spaces under them. The beam and rafter network recalls the structure of barns and the haylofts inside them, but its openness to the shell of the existing building above it lends it a X-ray like character. A 14 seat black stained oak bar and back bar wall bridges between the bar dining and main dining spaces, both dividing and binding them together. The back bar wall includes window-like openings to promote visual and auditory links between the two spaces.
The heights of the beams and rafters of the generously broad main dining space – low at the sides, tall at the center – offer patrons varying degrees of intimacy. Nonetheless, all patrons have access to deep views into the open kitchen and its bustle of cooks and waitstaff. A proscenium of black stained pine planks frames the view and particularly highlights the colors and sounds of the wood-fired grill and main cooking suite.
The simply detailed custom designed furniture recalls without copying plain farmhouse furniture. Light green and bright yellow barn lights, grouped in double rows in the main dining area and in a single row over the bar, provide a warm glow and unexpected whimsy. The playful blue and yellow color scheme of the dining chairs supports the fundamentally celebratory nature of the Small Batch experience.