Yorktowne Hotel - OffCenter Grill
When the Yorktowne Hotel realized that many patrons were bypassing their in-house restaurants and exploring York in search of exciting dining opportunities, they decided to reexamine their approach to food service. The Hotel first set out to improve their formal dining in the ‘Commonwealth Room’. That effort has produced one of York’s best fine-dining experiences. The ‘Commonwealth Room’ was recently given AAA’s highest four-diamond rating. The next step was to equal that type of success in the Hotel’s casual dining. The Yorktowne’s market research pointed to a lack of high quality, exciting casual restaurants in York. LSC worked with the Yorktowne to fill that gap.
Restaurant design involves blending theme, content, atmosphere, and menu into a compelling and cohesive whole. LSC began by presenting three very different design schemes to the hotel management. These schemes ranged from conservative and safe to more provocative. This exercise helped to narrow the focus of development to where the owner, managers and chef felt it was appropriate. York is a tough area to introduce new products, and yet there seems to be a growing market looking for a more gourmet dining experience in a contemporary and casual atmosphere. The Yorktowne is one of York’s oldest hotels, but this project brings the welcome challenge of integrating a new urbane restaurant into the 1920s historic fabric.
After just five weeks of construction, a transformed restaurant opened in 2002, with a new staff, a new menu, and a new atmosphere. Dining seating and circulation are organized around a central “island”. The island creates a pedestal to display the centerpiece of the restaurant, an ancient, large-scale terra cotta vessel from Portugal. A cabinet for menus and the reservations book built into the entrance side of the island forms a host stand, and a built-in upholstered bench gives patrons a place to wait for their table. Two waitron stations are conveniently located along the dining room side of the island.