Doyles Corner Phibsborough, Dublin, was recently named one of the coolest 50 neighbourhoods in the world in a Time Out list. This is where Loretta’s restaurant lies; on a busy bus route junction of the neighbourhood. It is owned by Chef Jimmy Wiley and his family, and named after his aunt. The food hails back to Jimmy’s upbringing, in Colorado Springs. The building itself used to be a bank, and was never built to fit such a charismatic venue as Loretta’s.
Originally, there were delays on the restaurant’s opening due to the building having to be conserved. The floors above are office spaces, so the owners and design team wanted to make sure that it was kept as its own entity. Because they couldn’t do anything with the original structure of it, to change the flooring, they dropped the ceiling on it to keep the old floor and worked around the parts they couldn’t change. But after all the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of the conservation and opening 7 months later than supposed to, Loretta’s is a cosy jewel in the Dublin neighbourhood.
Audrey Gaffney, the head designer on the project, told us about the brief:
“Jimmy Wiley gave us the brief and his philosophy in it was that this was going to be all about the food and how that was going to be incorporated into this building. He had his vison, and he wanted it to be about where he was brought up, but not your typical American diner, and more about his family upbringing.”
The menu reflects this ideal, showing off Jimmy’s ‘non fussy comfort food’ and harking back to his Colorado upbringing, as does the specifically requested open plan kitchen. The kitchen means customers can see what’s happening behind the scenes with their food and also meant that Jimmy can interact in both spaces, giving his customers company and attention as well.
As for the interior Audrey said:
“For us we didn’t want Loretta’s to be just trendy, but authentic. We wanted it to be a place where you can park yourself for three hours and enjoy your food, and then your dessert, then your cocktails or coffee afterwards. We wanted it to have a classy feel, but not fine dining and table cloths; we wanted the restaurant to give a comfortable and elegant experience to customers.
“There’s a pillar in the centre which holds the structure of the building up, so rather than just building around it and have it in the way, we structured the seating plan for it, and so we’ve got really nice circular booths that surrounds the pillar – which we’ve decorated with geometric tiling.”
Stepping in from the busy street; the first thing the eye is drawn to the open plan kitchen at the back of the restaurant so the customer’s attention is immediately driven towards the hubbub of the kitchen. The seating is olive green leather and the tables are of a dark oak plank, rising up from the zigzag of timber plank flooring. It gives the space an Earthy feel, adding to the comfort of the food and presenting customers with the comfortable but elegant dining experience. The warm lights hang suspended above tables in glass geometrical cases. The geometrical shapes make a subtle connection with the restaurants focal point; the central pillar.
“The timber flooring also has a geometric pattern that ties around the pillar. It’s creating a central space around what would otherwise be a big ugly pillar. Instead it gives the space a really strong focal point.”
The good feedback has been flooding in, about the food and the design and space itself, Loretta’s invites you to enjoy a new kind of comfort food in an authentic dining space.
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The company has the very latest tile cutting machinery, laser etching technology and bullnosing equipment. Armatile’s tile and mosaic surfaces have been used extensively by designers, architects and fit-out specialists on international projects ranging from the authentically traditional to the truly outrageous in countries including Dubai, France, USA, Canada, Russia, as well as throughout the UK and Ireland.
The company was recently responsible for creating bespoke mosaic features for Loretta’s, working alongside the Audrey Gaffney Associates creative design team. Armatile’s highly skilled teams carefully cut and hand assembled the materials for the bespoke designs, and put them onto mesh back sheets for easy installation on site.
Martin Mallon, Marketing Manager, commented:
“We love working directly with design teams and client’s to source and create the perfect mosaic and tile products to enable their designs become reality. Having the opportunity to work with the multi award winning Audrey Gaffney Associates on their latest project was a great experience.
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