Wallingford, Seattle, WA
The new 4,000 square foot space from Ethan Stowell Restaurants sits at the ground level of The Hayes, a new apartment building along Stone Way. Built by Dovetail General Contractors, the large space features a café for the morning crowd along with a restaurant and bar offering Mexican-style food and drinks along with a mezzanine featuring a children's play area and two heated and covered outdoor patios spaces.
With a large footprint and two concepts under one roof, the key to achieving a cohesive and comfortable space is in the carefully planned design. Several distinct elevation levels help separate the space and define the different programs of the café and restaurant. The overall floorplan is split up into “rooms” of various sizes for flexibility in dining that maintains the feel of a smaller restaurant. The dining room has seating for 100 with an additional 16 seats at the bar and a private space for 30. The outdoor patio can accommodate 20 on the upper level and 24 on the lower one while the mezzanine can seat 26.
The architecture and design evoke a seaside atmosphere of southern latitudes with soft, beachy tones and minimal but punchy colors. A unique palette for the Seattle area, the soft whitewashed wood alongside rustic materials throughout the restaurant feel bright and clean while creating an ambiance that is both light-hearted and comfortable and encourages visitors to sit, relax and enjoy a culinary getaway.
Heavy exposed fir timbers and 16’ high ceilings promote an open and airy quality throughout and add to the feel of vacationing beachside. The ceiling is turned into a design element that adds to the quality of the space with dropped ceiling panels of whitewashed white oak wood slats that hides the equipment and adds to the open-air quality of the space. Two patio dining areas with moveable tables and chairs are designed to take advantage of the warmer months but are also fully covered and heated for unpredictable Seattle weather.
The restaurant’s north end welcomes visitors at grade with a coffeeshop that includes counter seating and lounge area with couches before visitors can walk down a half-flight of stairs to the larger dining space and bar. The simple gesture not only helps the space follow grade along Stone Way but gives the coffee shop its own space, a bit more intimate feel with a lower ceiling and its own identity as if being a separate cafe that can also easily close for the evening. Super Bueno offers a family-friendly dining experience with a dedicated children’s play area. Similar to the children’s play area at Frelard Pizza Co., another ESR restaurant designed by Atelier Drome and built by Dovetail, the restaurant dedicated a mezzanine level to those with small children who would like the peace of dining while knowing their children can play in a nearby safe space while enjoying their meal.
The bar and back-bar are made of weathered and whitewashed fir paired with a dark stained pine bar top. Walls adjacent to the bar feature a tropical mural rendered in pastel tones. On the north end of the restaurant, white tiles are accented by designs in muted green handmade concrete tiles, while the south end wall tiles are hand painted by Sean Barton with a Super Bueno mural in bright orange and yellow. Ethan Stowell Restaurants worked with designer Eric Fisher on the branding, logo and mural designs for the space. Heavy dining tables of dark worn pine give a nice contrast to the white metal chairs and random pops of bright yellow. White metal lights with decorative wicker pendants help to keep the lighting from feeling monotonous, break up the space, and create more cozy rooms. Two-toned wood banquettes follow the material scheme of darker horizontal surfaces and white washed horizontal slats for visual continuity. Warm exposed Douglas fir window walls separate the dining areas from the outdoor patio areas and match with the tone of the beams throughout the space.