Organic Avenue: Menu Development Project

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Organic Avenue is a small yet fast-growing organic juice and foods retailer in the New York Metro area. They have 12 stores but have plans for significant expansion in the near future. In June they hired me to consult on a menu development project for them. ¬†Organic Avenue’s current products are focused on their amazing line of organic, raw juices and soups with a few other items such as salads, wraps and grain bowls – foods that can be organic, vegan and gluten-free (and a few other rigorous parameters that I am forgetting at the moment) as well as being delicious. Using this as their foundation, Organic Avenue wanted to expand their line of non-juice offerings to menu items that responded to the seasonal availability of the best produce as well as being creative and exciting to their consumer audience. So they hired me to do some menu development consulting and work with their team to create and develop new seasonal menu items for the upcoming Fall menu.

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While I am not a vegan, or even a vegetarian, I do eat way more plant-based foods than meat. Pretty much in line with the Michael PollanEat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” ethos. With strong Mediterranean-ish affinities. Read the rest of this entry →

John Shields & Karen Urie Shields: Restaurant Project

I became an instant fan of chefs John Shields and Karen Urie Shields as soon as I read the New York Times article about their work at Town House restaurant in the rural hamlet of Chilhowie, VA. I was smitten with the accompanying photos of their food – the ingredients, composition, color and texture all combined to make some beautiful dishes. I put Town House on my list of destination restaurants I would like to try to get to. But I never made it.

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In early 2012 came the announcement from John Shields that he and Karen were resigning from their posts at the helm of Town House and relocating to the Philadelphia area in order to be closer to family. Having studied the Philadelphia real estate and restaurant market I immediately thought that I could help them develop and design a restaurant concept for them in their new home city. Read the rest of this entry →

Private Member’s Club Concept Design

I have been working with a private member’s club to design the concept for the next chapter in their growth. Without giving away too many details too soon, the new club will house not only member’s lounge, meeting and private event spaces, but also a large culinary component as well.

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We are in the process of securing space but will hopefully soon have lease agreements in place from which to build. It has been a lot of fun to develop the concept, devise the program and do the initial design work for the spaces. I look forward to moving ahead with this project.

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Interaction Design Project: Amplify Education Tablet

In early 2012 I had the pleasure of working with interaction designer and author Josh Seiden of Neo. We teamed up on a project for Amplify, a division of News Corporation.

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Amplify has been developing a tablet-based education system for k – 12 students. Our task was to lead the Amplify team through an exercise in mapping how both students and faculty would use the tablet and system throughout the day and over the course of the academic year. Read the rest of this entry →

Ideas In Food; Space Concept

In 2011 I was asked to come up with ideas for great chefs that might be interested in doing a restaurant in the commercial spaces of a loft building development project in Philadelphia. Immediately I thought of the amazing duo Alex and Aki of Ideas In Food.

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Alex and Aki are not only chefs but also researchers, innovators, writers and teachers, their repertoire of professional endeavors rather broad. And they serve both the professional chef community as well as amateur enthusiasts. So if I was going to propose a commercial space for some sort of restaurant to them it would have to be flexible enough to accommodate all that they do. Read the rest of this entry →

Esquire Magazine Cover Design

Esquire Magazine has a tradition of featuring inventive cover design (where did George Lois find a soup can big enough to hold Warhol?) In 2011, invited by an editor at Esquire to submit a cover proposal or two, I jumped at the chance and came up with a few ideas.

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I started with the question of how the cover, and the Esquire brand, might live beyond the confines of the physical magazine itself sitting on the newsstand or in a pile of other magazines on the coffee table (or bathroom shelf). One of the concepts I designed was to use the Esquire cover as a spray paint stencil. Read the rest of this entry →

Restaurant Concept Design: High-End Burger Joint

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In January of 2011 I was contacted by a client interested in opening a high-end burger joint in the North West Chicago suburbs. The main focus of the menu would be organic, grass-fed beef burgers, fries and shakes at reasonable prices. No easy task! Comparables in this market are restaurants such as Elevation Burger, Farm Burger, BGR and Good Stuff Eatery. The client wanted this restaurant to not only serve high-quality food but also to be designed so that the brand could grow into multiple locations and future franchises. Maybe due to the client’s previously owning McDonald’s stores and then Ben & Jerry’s stores, they already had a name picked out: ‘Peace Love Burger’. Sensing some potential trademark issues down the road I thought it might be a good idea to explore alternatives to that name, maybe by trying to uncover the underlying ethos, outlook and sensibilities that pointed the client in that initial conceptual direction. Read the rest of this entry →

Fluorescent & Festive: 2011 Holiday Card Design

Channeling Dan Flavin for this Holiday card I designed for the 2011 Holiday season. Rigorous, spartan, cool, modernist… everything one could desire for Christmas cheer;) ¬†Not sure why it took me so long to post…

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Menu Development Project: The Wayne Bar

In April of 2013 I was hired by the team behind the new Wayne Donut and Ice Cream Bar in Wayne, PA to develop a menu for their first retail venture.

The space that was selected was very tight, restricting not only the layout of the store but also the potential of what could be produced and sold. Limiting context and programatic boundaries such as this, I find, can be great catalysts to the design process. Being forced to think beyond what usually works for a typical program and devise a unique solution for the concept is not only personally satisfying but also can reveal new design insights and concept development opportunities.

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For the Wayne Bar menu development project I wanted to seek to deepen the brand identity by building the menu from a ‘brand concept’ foundation. I presented to the Wayne Bar team two concepts both of which I though would not only be Read the rest of this entry →

Celebrate the Christ Child’s Birth; 2012 Card Design

With a little kid running the show around here we tend to play with a lot of Legos. Thus, though it is the eleventh hour, it is in this way that inspiration has struck. Here, then, is my 2012 Christmas card design:

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Have a Blessed Holiday and be sure to take a few moments to count every blessing.