Tucked away on a quiet section of Chicago's West Loop sits a little piece of cookie heaven. With exciting flavors like Mexican Hot Chocolate, PB&J, and Nutella-Stuffed Hazelnut Chocolate Chip with Pretzel Salt, Warm Belly Bakery needed a space that would give their customers a cool, vibrant place to sit with a cup of Dark Matter coffee, indulging in one (or five) of their amazing cookie creations. The small storefront serves as the brand's retail space and café, while OHR also designed a separate kitchen space to handle all of the baking and catering fulfillment.
In hopes of eventually expanding to a larger space nearby, we worked towards building a short-term, budget-friendly, and transportable design. Existing elements like the fireplace were incorporated into the overall look with custom wall paneling. The adult and kid-friendly space is adorned with local Chicago-centric art, including an original oil-painting of their beloved "Cookie Guy". An OHR-designed triangle motif brings life to different areas of the cookie café. The daily assortment of 10+ cookies sits on cake stands behind a clean glass front, with copper pendants above shining down on the goods. Behind the counter is a compact service area where everything is within the barista's reach, and a walk-up window serves sidewalk customers.
Pork & Mindy's
As a design team, it's not often you get to be a part of a brand being built from the ground up. OHR joined Pork & Mindy's in the early days of its conception, and the road to opening their first restaurant was an exciting one. From brand evolution to menu development to site selection, OHR consulted in an array of fields alongside other trusted and highly talented consultants in the restaurant development field.
The end result is a total brand experience, one that delights the senses of each customer from their first smell of slow-smoked meat to their last sip of their Holy Cannoli 'Nado. With a passion for food, music and art, Pork & Mindy's supports their community in meaningful ways both outside and inside the restaurant. In the restaurant space, OHR dedicated areas for to feature a rotating display of local artwork - prints of which can be purchased in store with proceeds benefiting the artist and community programs. The sound system plays selected tracks from local musicians. A patchwork of patterns found in food, music and art come together to make up the large wall mural that greets customers while they enter the queue line. An understated nod to the smoking process can be found behind the banquette seating - charred wood paneling which serves as a backdrop for the artwork.
OHR is currently working on Pork & Mindy's second location in Chicago, as well as the franchise package for future growth and expansion to new markets.
[photo credit: chicago.eater.com, zagat.com]
Just a part of the Pork & Mindy's family.
Some concepts take upwards of a year, sometimes two, to evolve from an initial brainstorm session to opening the doors at the first location. Then there are others that are so focused and have an ease about them, that when you pair it with professional relationships that run like well-oiled machines, you can do that same breadth of work in under 4 months, start to finish. Cream Bar is one of those, and we were fortunate to be a part of bringing this idea to life.
Cream Bar is a build-your-own custom ice cream sandwich spot, where customers can choose from a variety of warm, right out of the oven cookies and baked treats, super premium ice cream, and delicious toppings to create their custom dessert. This is a new concept for the area and, armed with just a logo and a lease, the owners had a few general ideas of what they wanted the space to feel like: Clean, warm and urban-industrial. In a space under 900 SF previously occupied by a former frozen yogurt chain, we quickly turned around a new design that plays off of all these ideas while still being simple and memorable.
Despite a relatively low budget, we worked with some of our favorite vendors to still give Cream Bar high quality, long lasting finishes. We created a custom wallcovering that set the tone of the rest of the space. i2i Design provided custom weathered white reclaimed barnwood for the front of the service line and as accent walls behind the POS and in the dining area, as well as rich tables also made from reclaimed wood. A local artist hand-painted Cream Bar's logo, a look that works with Cream Bar's hand-crafted ice cream sandwiches. The Instagram gallery wall allows customers to not only get some ideas for their own creations, but aim to earn a place on that wall with their own photo.
We made as few modifications to the interior as possible, looking to saving time and money without sacrificing their needs and wants, and in the end they have a functional, beautiful space that is uniquely their own.
Freshii, a leading healthy fast casual brand with locations throughout the globe, enlisted OHR to help create a more efficient flow in tight spaces, along with bright and welcoming dining areas that invite customers in from the city streets. The resulting work showcases their fresh ingredients, and adds unique elements which have influenced the direction of their global design package.
Freshii - Washington & Wabash, Chicago
Freshii - Armitage & Fremont, Chicago
Stan's Donuts & Coffee
As regular consumers of fine doughnuts around our great city, we at OHR are thrilled to work with one of our favorite purveyors, Stan's Donuts. Rich Labriola, president of Labriola Baking Company, formed a friendship and partnership with Stan Berman, founder of Stan's Donuts, after realizing his passion for the Los Angeles doughnut shop, which has been in business for over 50 years. Rich brought Stan's to Chicago with his own Labriola twist. Their whimsical flavors, local Intelligentsia coffee and superb gelato has made them a regular morning stop for many folks.
At their N. Broadway location, OHR transformed a tired space into the bright and welcoming Stan's, utilizing elements of their classic 50's style and retro color palette. The custom mosaic floor and tufted banquette transport you to simpler times, while the warm woods and bright metals keep the space feeling current and fresh. Their signature mixer wall was used as a colorful backdrop to the built-in condiment station.
In this layout, customers flow easily from the initial order queue to the pickup counter to the condiments and back outside without disrupting those in the dining area or still in line. The restrooms tuck away neatly down a hallway opposite the closed-off kitchen and prep areas. The customer experience at Stan's is thus a delightfully easy one. The most difficult part is choosing which doughnut to order!
Working in tandem with Falafill's head chef and branding firm, we developed a completely refreshed brand for Falafill - an exciting step towards expanding their concept beyond their original Chicago location.
We created a 2000 SF prototype, along with a comprehensive store design guide for future development. This guide encompasses design details, equipment and material specifications for all interior and exterior elements of future build-outs.
Because Falafill is a chef-driven, foodie concept, we drew inspiration from the chef's kitchen itself. Food preparation and the traditional saj oven are the central focus of the design.
Store Design Guidelines booklet prepared by OHR
rendering by Dennis Alex
OHR has worked closely with Tom Jednorowicz, CEO of Meatheads, for over 5 years, helping to grow the popular burger concept throughout Illinois and into Indiana.
At the ground-up location in Lincolnwood, IL, we worked to maximize the space on this challenging site layout located in a neighborhood setting. We added a mezzanine for extra seating and special events in order to maximize the parking area.
The patio is defined by an exaggerated cedar wall which angles along Crawford Avenue. Solid brick walls around the bottom are covered in green screens to soften the hard edges of the building.
Inside, there is a panelized mural over the line, and oversized drum pendants to give a more intimate feel to the booths on the first floor.
The Champaign, IL location was formerly an 8000+/- sf. Blockbuster Video building. We demolished a little over 5000 sf., added a drive-through, and added a covered outdoor patio. The result is a dramatic building makeover that bolstered excitement about the concept's introduction into a new market. With a record opening volume, this location is still one of the top grossing Meatheads.
Lincolnwood, IL - Exterior
Lincolnwood, IL - Interior
Meatheads - Champaign, IL
Meatheads - Champaign, IL - Exterior Before
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Kitty Carlson was hired by Potbelly owner, Bryant Keil, in 2002 to build the brand. While there, Potbelly grew from 2 stores to over 200, in markets across the country.
Specifically, Kitty helped to develop franchising standards, prototyped a design guide, and introduced unique and custom elements such as the chip display, the front line and the casework. All the while, preserving the character of the original location on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago.
Kitty worked cross-functionally with the Real Estate and Construction teams to efficiently build the Potbelly nation.
Before: 12th & Walnut, Philadelphia
After: 12th & Walnut, Philadelphia
Before: 4207 Harlem, Norridge, IL
After: 4207 Harlem, Norridge, IL
Before: Fort Worth, TX
After: Fort Worth, TX
skinnysweet Frozen Yogurt
skinnysweet is an independently owned frozen yogurt shop based in the suburbs of Chicago. We've had the opportunity to work with skinnysweet on the design and construction of their second location at the Fashion Outlets of Chicago located in Rosemont, IL. The completed design was very well-received and garnered much excitement for a small froyo shop among major, national fashion retailers.
In the design, we strove to break the mold of a typical frozen yogurt shop. The result reflects the fun personality of the owners, while making efficient use of a very small space.
We are currently working on their third location at Yorktown Shopping Center in Lombard, IL.