Sweet LA

Duffs Cake Mix, Los Angeles

For every “fresh”, “vegan” and “farm to table” concept in Los Angeles, you will find a cupcake shop, cookie stand, or gourmet bakery to match it (… of course with a Soul Cycle in between). While each one is typically executed in trendy interior design cues, contemporary branding and graphic design, and usually a gesture of visual merchandising – more often than not, the “experience” leaves a lot to be desired. That said, upon a recent trip to LA I stumbled upon two unique “sweet concepts” that allow the experience to transcend the sweet treats themselves (albeit very good in their own right).  Read more of this post

Not just what’s ON the Menu…

Menus can say a lot about a Brand and contribute even more to the overall personality and dining experience. They have become much more than a vehicle for communicating the offering – they tell a bigger story about guest interaction, choice, sustainability and ever-changing fresh daily menus. Beyond that, they present their own personality – whether they are home-spun, casual, iconic, playful or loud… they create a unique experience. Here are some of my favs (menus and restaurants!)…

ABOVE:  Menus from ForkHeartKnife (left) and Take the Cake (right), both in Cincinnati (and fabulous). These speak primarily to their daily culinary creations. The kraft paper and chalkboard materials also give them an old school deli/bistro feel.

ABOVE:  Menus from Mayday (left) in Cincinnati and Yeah! Burger (right) in Atlanta, specialize in all the possible crazy combinations and fun choices for ‘Build Your Own’ dining.

ABOVE:  Menus from Andaluca Restaurant (top, left – photo courtesy of jenniferyellow/flickr) in Seattle, farmerbrown (bottom, left – photo courtesy of ja-nel-a-di/flickr) in San Fransisco, and Hidden (right – photo courtesy of amenonine/flickr) in Vancouver all use paper in innovative and playful ways for the guest to interact with. The Hidden drink menu is a game, like the ‘fortune tellers’ of elementary school, where you play to find out what you’ll be drinking that evening. The farmerbrown menu goes a step beyond and uses an industrial metal cover and magnet to hold on daily specials.

ABOVE: West Egg in Atlanta goes with the fun, loud approach matching big graphics with big flavor! That Banana Bread French Toast is genius.

Eat. Drink. Be Graphic.