RESTAURANT DESIGN FIRM / RESTAURANT DESIGNER
RAYMOND HALDEMAN'S RESTAURANT REBRAND
"BEFORE & AFTER"
The Restaurant Designer's REBRAND
"fins bar & grille"
BEFORE & AFTER IMAGES
Recently, Jeff Gernitis, purchased The Pilot House, a musty old seafood house in Cape May, NJ, on the Jersey shore. Jeff and his partners kept the restaurant operating for several months while formulating a rebrand plan. During this time they set about familiarizing themselves with the nuances of the location on Washington Street Mall a pedestrian promenade of shops and restaurants, about a mile away from the oceanfront front site of the iconic Peter Shields Inn & Restaurant which they also own. This was invaluable because while operating as the Pilot House they were able to answer many questions, test theories and menu items and spare injury to the future brand as mistakes and miscalculations were absorbed by the old Pilot House brand.
I was happy to receive a call from these savvy owner operators when they were in the market for an experienced Restaurant Designer who would think outside the box while being pragmatic about the actual function of the operations and its ability to efficiently accommodate the huge volume of customers the summer season brings.
The old “fried seafood combo platter” menu format was tossed and replaced with a more contemporary “fresh fish” & “local ingredients” type menu developed by Chef Carl Messick.
Gernitis gave me free reign in the conceptual theme and functional details of the restaurant design and I took full advantage of his confidence. I decided to exploit the city’s excellent reputation as a tourist destination by creating a concept that would propel the restaurant to the top of the town's “Top Must-See Tourist Attractions List” and one that would appeal to all ages. If an hour and half wait for a table at 7PM on a Wednesday evening is any indication, this goal was most certainly accomplished!
The entire restaurant space was gutted to "open concept status" and then large design elements such as two 12’ aquarium-walls and a 10’ see-thru stainless steel and barn-wood fireplace were custom built and installed to break-up the vastness of the space, separate the bar from dining areas, and enable the operators to shrink & enlarge the space as needed depending on the day of the week and time of year.
Ultimately 700 linear feet of soft, dramatic and glowing LED lighting, detailed architectural craftsmanship and quality finishes were used to create the Casual & Contemporary Aquatic Theme. This restaurant designer was going all out!
All good rebrands begin with a "good plan" that should remain fluid during the conceptual process. Below is version #19 of the FINS FLOOR PLAN, which means it was revised 19 times!
Restaurant Designer Raymond Haldeman proceeded to strip the building’s exterior of it’s Victorian “stage-prop” appliqués to reveal its original facade, a fairly straight forward building with clean lines. Colors of Anchor Blue Framed in White Cap white and the addition of awnings were chosen and classic outdoor utility lights were turned upside-down to make awning-illuminating sconces. (see photos below)
The old Pilot House was closed and the interior furniture removed and then the space was gutted providing the Restaurant Designer Raymond Haldeman with unlimited options for the functional and decorative design of the space.
-A walk around bar provides 60 linear feet o service area and features a 2” thick custom designed, poured glass bar top, edge-lit in LED that operates remotely and can illuminate the bar in ANY color. (see photos below)
The bar was constructed in the front window replacing the old booths that had blocked 50% of the windows for over 30 years. This was done in order to create a late night bar scene and additional income stream with focus on the stunning bar visible to the steady flow of pedestrian traffic. A floating Stainless Steel Soffit suspended from the ceiling was designed for liquor and glass storage. Restaurant Designer Haldeman always recommends a walk around bar, space permitting as it increase the amount of linear bar feet, allows quests to visually see each other and provides a traffic pattern allowing patrons to take stroll and check out the “atmosphere.” A service island was positioned in the center of the bar to house the draft beer & draft wine taps & hoses, the POS and wine storage for the functional convenience of the bartenders. BEFORE & AFTER: (see photos below)
A 3D “Wave Wall” installed above the custom made pedestaled banquettes and cantelevered stainless steel tables replaced the old bar. BEFORE & AFTER (photos below)
A view of the restaurant from the back to the front shows the dramatic change from dark & dank to vibrant and exciting. BEFORE & AFTER
The walls were opened between the 2 buildings that comprised the old Pilot House and a See-Thru Fireplace was used to support the structure and now unites the 2 rooms. A 42’ long illuminated “Sky Mural” floats above the Upper Deck Dining Room and white beams created installed to house the pinspot lighting that projects a 30 degree beam of light on each table top. BEFORE & AFTER
(see photos below)
Ceiling Treatments include the Sky Mural in the Upper Deck Dining Room and the Underwater Arbor illuminated in Black Light to simulate being underwater and looking up to the surface, a nice surprise when restaurant patrons gaze upward. (see photos below)
The SEE-THRU FIREPLACE is flanked by a pair of 2-toned “Alice in Wonderland” type chairs that Haldeman designed for picture taking (and all night long people are having their pictures taken in those chairs!) The photo below of a recent restaurant guest illustrates the large scale.
A pair of Giant 4’ Infinity Port Holes designed to create an optical illusion that they continue infinitely separates two dining areas.
An outdoor deck was created after demolishing an awkward lobby type structure and awnings and fans were added.
Both the Lady’s & Men’s Rooms were redesigned with a combination of designer tile, vessel sinks with waterfall faucets, wallpaper and louvered doors. Designer Haldeman recommends focused attention on the creation of comfortable lavatories with beautiful finishes as guests are in close contact visually and physically with every part of the design and registers a positive impression and a "seal of approval" that further enhances your brand's image. (photo below)
-For more general information visit www.raymondhaldeman.com
-For Raymond Haldeman Bio visit: www.raymondhaldeman.com/bio
-For questions, call Restaurant Designer Raymond Haldeman direct 305-968-8855
-All photos on this page are high resolution 300dpi and suitable for publication.
FINS BAR & GRILLE
142 DECATUR STREET
CAPE MAY, NJ 08204
-Questions for FINS Owner Jeff Gernitis, call direct 973-997-7727