Yesterday I went on a fun field trip to South Berwick and got the Grand Tour of Thistle Pig, including the immense basement with so many of Ben's kitchen toys just waiting to be used in his in-progress kitchen. I'll do a full overview of the kitchen next week, including the funky cool ways they'll serve food like i little copper pots for dishes like Coq au Vin (if indeed that's on the menu--it's all still secret), and plenty of Le Creuset pans for whole roasted chickens and the like. I also learned about some fancy Sambonet spoons from Italy, which Ben has stashed away in that basement just waiting for their inaugural use in the kitchen.
I learned about the flow to the kitchen along with some innovative seating areas like little booths for waiting and for sipping drinks (Oh! Punch for Two served in a carafe and little cut class goblets from Ben's Grandmother--fun!--ok, off topic), and an area at the end of the bar with a booth that looks out to the street so you can lure your friends in while sipping and supping. But for now, a bit about color. I saw the walls getting primed for painting and on those surfaces will be Cornbread Yellow. the ceiling, made from material good for acoustics, is already painted a chocolate. The trim will be Coconut--it all sounds delicious! There will also be two parts of the restaurant--in both the bar and dining area which will be chalkboard for specials and such. And all around will be plenty of lovely wood to create a rustic and warm feel. Behind the bar, on the bar, on the common table, and even on the floors where the old black and white tiles will be replaced by wood laminate floors in a subdued rustic grey. All around there will be a brightness but a warmth as well. Jen said she, Ben, and designer Louis Hamel looked online for examples of what they liked in terms of look and feel and Louis came up with a Mood Book for designe and color. Even Pinterest was used for color and restaurant examples!
Rachel Forrest is the food writer and restaurant critic for The Portsmouth Herald, Seacoast Online and many other publications. She is the co-author of Maine Classics with James Beard Award winning chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier.