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Ruby Red’s BBQ, La Habra, California

Portfolio: St. Louis design firm puts its own spin on fast-casual




WHEN HUNGRY GUESTS take a seat inside Ruby Red’s BBQ, a fast-casual restaurant in La Habra, Calif., it’s just as much about the visual feast as it is about the low-smoked, Texas-style barbecue feast on their plates. “We wanted to create an experience rather than simply a place for good food,” says Owner and General Contractor Steve Williamson, who also serves as CEO and President of its parent company, Majestic Retail Group (La Mirada, Calif.), and Williamson General Contracting. “It’s more like walking into Disneyland than a restaurant.”

Ruby Red’s BBQ, La Habra, Calif.

Ruby Red’s BBQ, La Habra, Calif.

Indeed, the 2200-square-foot space, with its rustic, country-western aesthetic cooked up by St. Louis-based design and architecture firm Oculus, plays with an over-the-top mix of finishes, furnishings and lighting – all paired with eclectic touches such as animal horns and skulls, horse saddles and reclaimed whiskey barrels.

“One of Steve’s goals was for the space to seem like it had been open for years,” says Oculus Interior Designer Katie Ferkel. “If you think about a house, a new construction home has matching wall finishes, doors, floors, et cetera.”

For Ruby Red’s, they instead opted for an aged farmhouse appeal, using multiple metal accents and eight different wood finishes, including wood that had been reclaimed from old barns and burned buildings. Lighting and ceiling elements define dining areas. For example, an ornate chandelier and a rope accent hang above the communal table, while a faux roof structure that resembles the outside of a barn with an overhang sits above a portion of the seating area. “The project was a labor of love,” Ferkel says. “Built by the owner, himself.”

Ruby Red’s BBQ, La Habra, Calif.

Ruby Red’s BBQ, La Habra, Calif.

Later this spring, the restaurant will open its 1300-square-foot, saloon-inspired expansion – complete with a faux balcony – into an adjacent retail space, which will double the seating and provide space for local musicians to perform. “I want people to walk in and say, ‘Wow, someone has put some time into this and cares about my enjoyment in this restaurant,’ ” Williamson says.

📷:  Josh Bustos Photography, Orange County, CA



MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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