And you thought the food was excellent. But could it be that the beautiful interior design subtly enhances your palate? Energizes your conversation? Makes you tingle a bit? Two stunningly beautiful new restaurants show why dining is more than eating.
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If you happen to see a unicorn prancing down Del. 52, a well-dressed male giving chase, pay no mind. That’s just Todd Danner, chasing his impossible dream—the perfect design.
“I don’t even think Frank Gehry looked at The Guggenheim and thought, ‘You know what? Perfect. I’m done here,’” says Danner of arQitecture. “The unicorn is a myth; so is the perfect project.”
Though perfect design isn’t attainable, his most recent challenge—one shared with fellow designer Rose Giroso of Rose Authentica—was. The two are the faces behind Pizza by Elizabeths in Greenville and the Stone Balloon Wine House in Newark, respectively, two of the hottest, and most beautiful restaurants to open in recent months. Their task was to create a complete dining experience that goes beyond looks.
“The full dining experience is about creating a destination,” says Giroso. “[Philadelphia restaurateur] Steven Starr does this fabulously. We are a very instant-gratification society. As designers, we have minutes to set the stage, to get you interested and keep you interested.”
People are definitely interested. In a time when the lipstick index spells “uh oh” in Ravishing Red on national headlines, the two restaurants are jumping. And though fabulous food and five-star service are obvious selling points, a large part of what keeps people coming back is how the decor makes them feel. “[Designers] need to get inside people’s heads,” says Giroso.
Pizza by Elizabeths simply pops with pretty. Eyes sweep to large, perfectly pistachio wooden structures that run from the floor to near the ceiling, each boasting pieces that emphasize the overall atmosphere: fun and fabulous. One anchors an ornate vintage gold mirror. Another pays homage to a namesake Queen, the most famous Elizabeth of all.
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