Now Playing

Fired Up

Two star chefs reveal dazzling and tasteful renovations.

 

Topolobampo

Topolobampo 

Room Service
“The kitchen has all this energy going on,” says Megan Walsh, an architectural project designer with Aria Group Architects, “so [the challenge was], how do you elevate the space to align with the amazing food they are producing?” Indeed, the cuisine at star chef Rick Bayless’ Topolobampo has, for a mind-boggling 28 years, set the bar high for dining in Chicago. And with just nine days to complete the overhaul, Walsh (not to mention Kern Konstruction) had added pressure—but her results delivered. Highlights of the stunning project include, under a cloud pendant, a showcase walnut four-top (“our special piece of art,” Bayless says), a bar with Ann Sacks mosaic tile and a hypnotic ribbed ceiling with globe light fixtures from Arteriors. “Megan and her group got right away what we were looking for. Sumptuous and elegant,” Bayless says. “And wondrous.”

Artfully (Re)Done
This spring marks eight years for Terzo Piano, the restaurant helmed by chef Tony Mantuano in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute. “That may seem a short period before doing a renovation,” Mantuano notes. “But we have a la carte dining seven days a week and over 250 events a year.” As a result, the space “needed some loving care,” notes architect Dirk Denison, a professor at Illinois Institute of Technology well known for his residential work with his namesake firm. Denison designed the original restaurant and was delighted to pull the team back together for a revamp. “We learned a lot from the dynamic of how the space got used,” he says. “Especially in the entrance, we wanted to draw people farther into the room.” A long marble bar now beckons guests waiting for a table (or for the bride and groom to arrive). Removing a garde-manger near the front door dramatically improved sightlines and flow­—though Denison notes that the change was really driven by the menu’s evolution. “Originally, Tony had salumi and cold preps,” he says. Now guests sit down for finely presented meals in oak and leather chairs by Patricia Urquiola and, if the outdoor terrace is open, in exoskeleton chairs by architect David Adjaye.

 

Terzo Piano

Terzo Piano