Brown Paper cafe

Brown Paper cafe is equal parts a corner shop, foodie heaven, date night destination and creative collaboration space. The owner/client wanted to expand their successful catering business to a brick and mortar presence in the increasingly popular north east L.A. neighborhood along the Figueroa corridor. But they had bigger dreams than opening just another restaurant: The historic Figueroa Theater building would provide the owner/client the perfect location for their start-up, sit-down restaurant, take-away market, and pop-up incubator.

This  new restaurant/retail/pop-up concept required the front of house areas to be flexible on one hand, and to accommodate up-and-coming chefs in a pop-up friendly space, on the other. The owner/client needed an element of grounding as well -- for his daily catering business and take-away food items prep work in the back of house, and display, point-of-sale and seating in the customer area.

The design concept provides an easy balance of both fundamental needs: flexibility and formalization. The back of house provides storage, cooking and prep zones in an efficient layout that provides access for both the restaurant and the outgoing product for the catering business. 

The front of house is anchored by a long, communal table: the table is the display case, counter, and centerpiece of the room. It splits the somewhat overly-scaled dining area (formerly the Theater lobby) and allows for more intimate seating configurations to either side. The table is the focal point upon entering the space, and gives the owner/client's delectable products a privileged perch, front and center.


This project was contracted with FAR Los Angeles (Wendy Gilmartin, partner).

UNBUILT 2017-2018