Architectural Firm Helps Pennsylvania Restaurant Expand "Up"

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Bernardon Haber Holloway Architects PC help Giordano's Pizza, Bar & Grill in Kennett Square with its second expansion, building up instead of out--and in record time.

Giordano's Pizza, Bar & Grill in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, has a distinctive look…it's bright red, features red mullions and large expanses of glass, and its angular geometry makes it easy to spot. But inside is the real attraction. In addition to its already unusual organization around a central masonry and glass monitor (which makes eating there a visually unique experience), the restaurant sports a raised bar with a perimeter drinking rail on the main level and now an open mezzanine dining area above the bar--a very cool twist, unlike any structure in the region.

Giordano's was originally designed in 1993 by Bernardon Haber Holloway Architects (BHH), with a footprint of 6,500 square feet. The dining facilities occupy an area to the west of the glass monitor, a bar beneath the monitor, and the kitchen and take-out to the east. In 1996 the restaurant expanded with a 3,900 square foot Sports Bar addition on its north side (also designed by BHH) which was soon filled with customers. Where to go next? Since there was no more room on the property to expand the building's footprint, the only place left to go was up.

"We didn't think of it early on during the original design of the restaurant," said BHH Project Architect Joe Pavoni. While designing the Sports Bar addition in 1996, however, the firm came up with the idea of upward expansion but "put it away for a while" until the owners were ready.

"The restaurant was received with such enthusiasm when it opened in 1993; we just knew that the new Sports Bar was also going to be a success. And when the time came for additional expansion opportunities, we wanted to be prepared and upward just made sense," added Pavoni.

Since BHH designed the original building and improvements, moving up was relatively painless for the owners. The hardest part was figuring out how to do it without disrupting the business.

"Engineering-wise, it was no problem," noted Pavoni. BHH is known for its creativity, and moving within the original structure was already planned--which is one reason why the project only took a few weeks to complete. "Technically we could make it work--the design related to what was already there," he said. So the firm worked with both the owners and builder, D. Fickler Construction, LLC, to keep the restaurant open throughout the construction phase. Both the designers and contractors were flexible enough to work during off hours, and even get cleaned up and out of the area daily in time for opening--a big plus for a busy restaurant, where downtime is quite costly.

Owner John Giordano is quite pleased with the new space. "It adds 45 seats and an additional 700 square feet," he said, "and both the contractor and BHH were very accommodating. They basically came in from 10 PM and worked through 6 AM, and were cleaned up and out of there before we opened each day."

Giordano's "eater-tainment" spot increases the family restaurant's capacity to 370 seats, which John said helps them seat families quicker. It was utilized the day after construction was completed, and because it is tucked away upstairs, it is a very popular space for private parties. Due to the design, which fits the original décor so nicely, many of the restaurant's customers don't even know that a major change was made. "BHH did a wonderful job," he said.

"People have told me how amazed they are at how it blends right in with the existing facility," added Joe Pavoni. "We're proud of that."

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