Japanese culture and architecture were given a modern-day twist using organic elements and natural materials at the new Benihana restaurant in Miramar, Fla. Designers sought to redefine the Benihana brand and its Japanese heritage using contemporary materials that elevated the image of the Japanese steakhouse. That effort netted WD Partners (Dublin, Ohio) an honorable mention in the Sit-Down Restaurant category of the ISP/VM+SD International Store Design Competition.
The 6500-square-foot restaurant houses a central circular bar and sushi bar. A curving stone wall with a banded window offers a glimpse from the bar area into the restaurant’s two dining rooms, each themed under the concepts “Energy” and “Spirit.” A warm color and graphics, including a red Benihana flower, demark the “Spirit” area, while the “Energy” side is noted by a blue wave graphic and rich green textured concrete.
Stages were also created in the dining area using backdrops relating to each dining area’s theme to create a proper setting for the theatrical dining experience. Nearby, two teppanyaki tables provide space for smaller dining parties.
Dark-stained concrete flooring and a blacked out ceiling add a modern vibe to the space.
While giving new life to the Benihana brand, the new environment has also registered with diners – the restaurant reports sales are up 30 percent over the previous year.
Client: Benihana, Miami – Joel Schwartz, ceo; Taka Yoshimoto, executive vp, operations; Juan Garcia, senior vp and chief administrative officer; Joseph Abbruzese, senior director, construction and facilities; Tom Bergen, director, real estate
Design and Architecture: WD Partners, Dublin, Ohio – Lee Peterson; Mark Godward; Juan Martinez; Bob Welty; Carline Mia; Clayton Smith; Mahbuba Hatem; Robin Gibson; Eric Mayle; Yoshiko Shimono, Christopher Michaels; Michelle Isroff; Randy Moore; Rob Turner; Chris Carr; Chris Martin
Outside Design Consultant: Optic Nerve Art Corp., Columbus, Ohio (Benihana family crest, metal work)
Ceiling: Celotex, Tampa
Gypsum Board Ceiling, Kent, Wash.
Concrete: L.M. Scofield, Rutherford, N.J.
Ohio Cemtech, Wyoming, Ohio
EFS: Dryvit, Columbus, Ohio
Fixtures/Woodwork: Mock Woodworking, Zanesville, Ohio
Lighting: Western Extralite, Kansas City, Mo.
Metal Graphics: P&R Group, Chicago
Paint: Pittsburgh Paints, Pittsburgh
Sherwin Williams, Minneapolis
Plastic Laminate: Arborite Surface Materials, Solon, Ohio
Shades with custom graphics: Sun or Shade, Dublin, Ohio
Inside Outfitters Inc., Dublin, Ohio
Signage: North American Signs Inc., South Bend, Ind.
Tile: Hamilton Parker, Columbus, Ohio
Worthington Galena, Worthington, Ohio
Vinyl: Johnsonite, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Wood Panel: Architectural Systems Inc., New York
Photography: Mark Steele Photography Inc., Columbus, Ohio