They were chosen from 39 finalists in the awards which were set up to highlight creativity in casual dining establishments and the importance of design in brand identity, ambience and attracting and retaining customers.
The judging panel was chaired by leading design commentator David Worthington, chairman of Designersblock and H&M Group, with other judges including Afroditi Krassa, founder of Afroditi Krassa Design, Theo Williams, creative director of Designed and Sourced, and Simon Kincaid, associate director of Conran and Partners.
Graze Bar, Brewery & Chophouse in Bath, run by Bath Ales and designed by Simple Simon Design, won the top award for best designed independent restaurant. “It looks great, stylish, welcoming,” said the judges.
Highly commended for its “integrity and creativity” was Rosa’s Thai Café in London, designed by Gundry & Ducker and Buro Creative.
The winner of best designed casual dining pub was No 11 Pimlico Road (pictured below) in London, operated by Darwin & Wallace and designed by Buro Creative and Fusion Design & Architecture. The judges praised it for being “classy, fresh and considered” and for its “careful selection of simple but classic fittings”.
Highly commended for its “excellent architecture” was Hall & Woodhouse bar and restaurant in Portishead, Somerset, which is operated by brewer Hall & Woodhouse and was designed by Mackenzie Wheeler.
The category of best designed multiple restaurant was won by Vapiano, which has sites in Austria and Germany. Operated by Vapiano Franchising International, the interiors are designed by Matthew Thun in Milan.
Vapiano was singled out by the judges as a brand that “works anywhere in the world”, praised for its “integrity of concept, and application to site”.
Chilango in London, designed by I-AM Associates, was highly commended in this category for its “strength of brand”.
Casual Dining, which ran on February 26 and 27 at the Business Design Centre in north London, also hosted the Innovation Challenge Awards which saw 15 finalists pitch their ideas to a panel of industry judges.
The panel included Karen Jameson, acting head of food at restaurant group Nandos, Jo Haslam, director at pub company TLC Inns, and Simon Stenning, foodservice strategy director at consultancy Allegra Strategies.
Gold Award recipients were Haywood Drink Products for Liquor Whipped, a 14% ABV premium vodka-infused drink and dessert topping, and Purbeck Ice Cream for Dorset Blue Vinny Ice Cream, made with Dorset Blue Vinny cheese.
Commendations were given to London Velvet, a crafted blend of porter ale and fine cider, and Winterhalter’s UC Series DeMatik warewasher.
“As a way of showcasing London Velvet to our potential customers, Casual Dining delivered on every level,” said David Green, owner of London Velvet. “We were able to engage with both independent free-trade operators and large restaurant and pub groups alike – a perfect visitor mix.”
The organisers of Casual Dining have reported that the inaugural show attracted 3,655 attendees, excluding revisits.
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