by Winston Chua
The San Marino Tribune spoke with Pasadena restaurant designer Stephen Jones, who talked about his work at Del Frisco’s Grille on Lake Avenue and about another Pasadena project that could open in the summer.
“Del Frisco’s was created with a holistic approach to design,” Jones, a registered architect, said. “It’s thinking about everything from the parking experience to walking to coming into the front door, doing something other than just eating.”
Del Frisco’s Grille is located at 55 S. Lake Avenue just south of the Chase building on the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Lake.
“The Pasadena building was a challenge because you’re on the ground floor of an office building,” he explained.
Despite the hurdles, he is proud of his design, a design that properly engages the restaurant with the street and takes cues from existing architectural structures. There is what he calls a “wow factor” when you come into the restaurant, where there are two big wine cases flanking the entrance, creating a playful feeling that is also social.
“The corners of the restaurant are favorite places to be social,” he added. “We also have an exhibition kitchen that captures the energy of the whole space expressed in the activities of food preparation.”
Del Frisco’s also includes a private dining room in the back for private parties that can spill out into the veranda.
Jones began the Pasadena project in June of 2013 and actually received the permit to start building just two to three weeks before the grand opening before Christmas December 2014.
He added that attentive customers can have different experiences at the restaurant depending on the location in which they choose to sit. The bar might have a more communal flavor to it; the veranda might give someone a more upscale feeling.
“The key to making a place people return to more than once is the variety of experiences they can have,” he said.
Jones’s next local eatery will be the Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, a restaurant he’s been working on with Jonathan Rollo. Greenleaf, which has locations in Beverly Hills, Costa Mesa and Los Angeles, started out as a gourmet chop salad and has evolved into becoming a fast casual dining experience with a broader menu.