Our Approach

We've talked about the Highline and the Meatpacking district in NYC in previous posts... 

Years ago, as The Highline was just opening, the Hudson River Park Organization opened up a competition of sorts, asking for restaurant owners to submit proposals to develop a concept that would inhabit an empty space at the base of the entrance to the Highline, on Gansevoort Street, right next to where the Whitney Museum now lives.  A client of ours, for whom we had designed Johnny Utah's in Rockefeller Center, and Vespa Restaurant & Neat Coffee Shop in Westport CT, asked us to be an integral part of developing his proposal.  My partner Fadi and I spearheaded the endeavor, and started conceptualizing, quickly.  We only had about a week to present our business plan to the Board, which would include among other items, a full description of the concept, rendered views of the restaurant, brand graphics, menus, and all of the financials, as well as a detailed description of each member of the team who would eventually be involved in the real thing, if we were chosen.  We imagined a neighborhood modern diner concept, inspired by a 1942 Edward Hopper painting called Nighthawks.  Hopper had also been a resident of the West Village, which tied in perfectly.  We called the restaurant "The Approach", which had several meanings for us.  For one, as I stated, this space sits at the base of the southernmost entrance to The Highline, so it is what you see upon approach.  And another, this was our unique approach to the challenge posed.  We felt that it was important to maintain maximum visibility with a full-height glass and metal exterior, putting the interior on display day and night.  We had imagined that the only solid wall of the space would serve as a backdrop to the action inside, where we imagined a floor to ceiling portrait of a man on a horse, as early West Village inhabitants would have seen along the railway where the Highline now travels, back in the day.  The bar was to be modern, slick, and colorful, with the appearance that it had been extruded in one single piece, end to end.  The backbar would be a series of floating glass shelves, allowing for visibility from within and outside of the restaurant.  Linear light posts with signature "dineresque" coat hooks would sit between a string of booths traveling down the center of the space, and 4-tops would hug the perimeter.  We lost the contest to a heavy hitter in the NYC restaurant scene, but it was an interesting and inspiring exercise, and one that we would welcome again.  You will see below, our rendered view of the space, complete with signage based on the logo we designed, along with several pages of the menu we conceptualized.  Nighthawks, also, below.

Nighthawks - Edward Hopper

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