Boka Restaurant Group's first asian-influenced restaurant, Momotaro, sits on iconic Lake Street in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood. Below the world-renowned hospitality group's corporate office sits the 11,500 square foot masterpiece. This restaurant was the first collaboration between Boka Restaurant Group and AvroKO, the eccentric New York-based design firm. Momotaro marks AvroKO's first project in Chicago and it doesn't disappoint. In this short film, AvroKO designer Philip Pond notes they visited "the junkyard and the gallery" sourcing materials and inspiration for the restaurant's interior.
The result is beautiful space inspired by the "economic miracle," a post-WWII period in Japan where traditional Japanese aesthetics merged with Western sensibilities. Our task was to carry this look and feel over to the staff uniforms in a subtle, smart way.
As with most projects, our design process began with reviewing AvroKO's interior renderings followed by a site visit during service. Our objective was to channel the symbiosis of Japanese and Western style and marry beauty with utility. This ethos was reflected in the choice of materials, while the styles married minimalist Japanese design conventions with the functionality of Western garments. The shirts are our standard button down fit for both men and women, but with a modern stand collar.
The shirts are composed of a lightweight blend that drapes almost like silk; they're a muted charcoal with a delicate cross-hatch print adding texture. The aprons are composed of a sturdy black cotton canvas with a durable water resistant treatment to endure any abuse they might encounter during service. Because the food runners wear t-shirts, we designed the apron straps to cross behind the back rather than resting on the neck to avoid any discomfort. The straps are a natural braided cotton, which stands in contrast to the black of the apron and mimics the rope detail featured on the dining room ceiling. The straps cross in the back where they're secured by custom laser-engraved leather cord stoppers that feature the restaurant's Japanese kana logo.