Bathrooms often are seen as a necessary—and expensive—evil of restaurant design. And yet, while they may not bring in any money, some operators see reason to invest in them. “When you’re trying to create an atmosphere for a restaurant, if you don’t have a seamless experience [extending] to the bathroom, you’re going to have a disconnect,” says Franck LeClerc, owner of Gitane in San Francisco.
Gitane, San Francisco
Form versus function
With one unisex bathroom, LeClerc installed residential fixtures, including a vintage urinal and toilet. While looking to capture guests’ attention, he says next time he would opt for commercial appliances to cut down on maintenance. “Dispatching a plumber to fix it every other month is just outrageous.”
Employing a “both and” philosophy, each bathroom at Boca is designed to be “both stunning and functional,” says Jono Fries, VP and chief creative officer of Boca Restaurant Group. “When designing a restaurant, we evaluate how each touch point can be an experience, including the bathroom.” The goal of leaving guests with a lasting impression seems to be met. Boca regularly receives positive feedback on the commodes, says Fries.
The Publican, Chicago
A shared focus
A communal sink serves all five stalls (three for women, two for men) and reflects the spirit of the dining room, which is full of long, wooden communal tables. “It’s just another form of being communal,” says general manager Tracy Lindskoog, who regularly hears diners encouraging tablemates to go check out the bathroom sink. “We want every piece of the restaurant to be cohesive,” she says. “The bathrooms are equally as important as the dining room.”