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FE&S ? Editorial Archives ? 2006 ? June ? Facility Design Project ? Facility Design Project of the Month

Café 71 & Patisserie at the Hyatt Center in Chicago

A long, narrow space for the kitchen, a servery and a grab ?n go unit at this exclusive dining space shared by three tenants required creative layout and design to include appropriate equipment for preparing and presenting an ambitious, culturally diverse menu.

View the floorplan and equipment list.

In December 2004, the 1.5 million-square-foot, 48-floor Hyatt Center took its place in Chicago?s eclectic landscape. The building?s distinctive architecture and interior design add a new, special configuration and sophistication to the Windy City?s downtown section.

?Hyatt Center?s prospective tenants requested floor plates in excess of 33,000-square-feet, with column-free office space spanning 45 feet from central core to exterior wall,? explains the project?s architect, Henry Cobb, principal, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, on the company?s web site. ?The building?s site, though large and well-located, is relatively narrow, and is hemmed in on both of its long sides by neighboring office towers. Giving consideration to these key aspects of program and place, we proposed a lozenge-shaped floorplan stretching the full length of the site from Wacker Drive to Franklin Street, so as to maximize the office floor area while optimizing views from the interior.

?The Hyatt Center,? Cobb continues, ?manifests a distinctive civic presence not only in the form of a tower ? with curved surfaces of stainless steel and glass terminating in the dramatic verticality of bifurcated end walls ? but also in the block-long garden shaped by the tower so as to offer an oasis of green to the thousands of commuters who walk by twice daily along Monroe Street on their way between the railroad station and the Loop. To complement and celebrate this public garden, the tower?s curved face is raised on a monumental colonnade, behind which the recessed glass wall of the ground-floor lobby offers a view of the interior that adds a further element of visual interest to the public realm at street level.?

Because the center is Chicago?s first post-9/11 office tower, tight security measures were incorporated into the design. A sequence of different types of spaces leads from the two entrances, located at opposite ends of the tower, to the elevator lobbies at its center. At each end of the building, two 50-foot-high sky-lit reception halls, which are open to anyone wishing to enter the space, guide visitors? eyes to a colorful, large-scale painting by British artist Keith Tyson. Hyatt Center?s occupants and guests pass through low-ceilinged foyers to security monitoring and into the office tower?s 40-foot-high main lobby. ?This gently curved space, with a grove of bamboo trees screening its glazed perimeter, gives access to elevator lobbies carved into the tower?s central core, thus concluding an entry sequence wherein necessary provisions for security are unobtrusively absorbed within an engagingly eventful experience of passage from street to workplace,? Cobb concludes.

All tenants can access only the Patisserie on the second level, designed by David Kasprak, principal, and Boris Cubas, project manager/senior associate, Aumiller Youngquist P.C. From 6 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, they can order from the 2,230-square-foot Patisserie, a grab ?n go restaurant specializing in coffee, beverages, salads, sandwiches and desserts. This balcony space makes available approximately 44 seats. Employees and the guests of three of the building?s tenants can have access to the floor?s health club, as well as Café 71 and its two dining rooms.

The 12,400-square-foot Café 71 features a 3,000-square-foot servery with eight concept-themed stations and beverage areas, a 4,500-square-foot BOH kitchen and two dining rooms, one with 180 seats and the other with 120. Charcoal-colored granite, honey-colored anigre wood, blue-tinted glass, and a faux anigre plastic laminate on servery counters and wainscoting around various dining spaces complement the building?s color scheme.

?We were challenged to provide enough seating space for Café 71 but also allocate enough space for the Café 71 servery and health club,? says David Kasprak, principal, Aumiller Youngquist, which provided architectural and interior design for the tenant amenities floor. ?We also had to separate the health club and servery from the rest of the building so it could be secured.?

The need to allocate enough space for the foodservice and health club needs required Kasprak and Boris Cubas, project manager and senior associate with Aumiller Youngquist, to convince the building?s architects to redesign a curved wall that separated the walkway and grab ?n go from the health club and servery.

?To open up the maximum amount of space, we didn?t place a soffit over the servery so we could use the entire 13-foot height of the ceilings,? Cubas explains. ?Rather, we pulled the ceiling back to the rear wall of the stations and challenged the foodservice designers, Bob Pacifico and Richard Stolarczyk of Romano Gatland, to float exhaust hoods from the ceiling. They had the stainless-steel hoods custom-designed and these became a design element. In addition, we suspended decorative light fixtures and heat lamps from the ceiling. We also broke up a straight-line configuration of the serving stations and changed the angles, giving each its own personality and making sure there is no continuous counter that looks institutional.?

Another chief feature in the servery is a 3-foot-high by 50-foot-long mosaic mural designed by Aumiller Youngquist and created from photographs of the Chicago skyline, including the Hyatt Center, that starts nine feet above the food stations and extends up to the 13-foot-high ceiling. Special halogen lighting illuminates the graphic. A terrazzo floor pattern subtly traces the lozenge-shaped building. ?Corporate employees will come here year after year, so we wanted to keep the space sufficiently complex so people won?t tire of coming into the café and dining areas,? Kasprak says.

?This is a great design and layout,? says Chris Tilley, resident district manager, Eurest Dining Services, Hyatt Center. ?It is visually beautiful, contemporary, clean and simple. It doesn?t look at all like a ?cafeteria.??

?Once the basic foodservice design had been drawn up, we invited three contract companies in to give us feedback,? Pacifico explains. ?Years ago, this would not have been possible. They gave us valuable suggestions.? Later, an RFP was put out; Eurest, which was one of the companies giving input, was selected in 2004.

The positioning of the service elevator, which comes up in the middle of the space between the kitchen and the dining areas, was unquestionably one of the most daunting challenges in designing the foodservice facility. ?Due to all the security measures, all the vertical transportation venues were a given,? Kasprak says. ?This drove design decisions and configurations.? The positioning of windows also determined positioning of the dining rooms so Kasprak and Cubas could take advantage of the natural light coming into the seating areas.

Food deliveries come into a loading dock. Staff place palettes on a dedicated elevator that opens into the kitchen. From there, staff roll the palettes to the far end of the kitchen into walk-in coolers, a walk-in freezer or dry storage. ?We had to create wider corridors and a main aisle so the deliveries could be moved through the kitchen all the way to the storage areas,? Stolarczyk says.

The cold, garde manger prep area contains tables, knives, a meat slicer, a food processor and salad spinners. The back of the house also contains a large floor mixer that staff use in preparing dough for corn and other breads (some varieties of bread are purchased), large batches of mashed potatoes and cold rémoulade and mayonnaise sauces. Another countertop mixer prepares these ingredients in smaller quantities.

Warewashing sits between the cold and hot prep areas. ?The operation uses disposables, so we didn?t need a large dishwasher,? Stolarczyk explains.

On the hot line, explains Robin Hernaez, executive chef, staff use two double-stacked convection ovens for roasting meats, such as beef and whole pork loins, as well as seasonal vegetables and fish, including halibut and cod.

In between the ovens is a double-deck steamer for cooking rice, grains, vegetables and pulled or barbecued pork, chicken and sole. Also in this area staff use a 20-gallon tilting steam kettle to prepare pho and other types of soup, stocks, sauces, chili and large batches of vegetables. A smaller, 3-gallon tilting kettle also supports production in this area.

To the right of one of the convection ovens, a grill sizzles quesadillas, marinated chicken, beef, seafood such as salmon, shrimp and scallops, and various types of vegetables. An adjacent, double-well fryer blanches chicken fritters and prepares fries and in-house-made chips. Next to the fryer, staff use a six-burner range for sautéing vegetables and sauces, as well as fish and proteins served in the private dining room.

Eurest?s staff also use the kitchen?s equipment to prepare catered meals for all building tenants as requested. Staff transport these meals in mobile, hot-holding units.

Staff cart prepared food to the servery stations, placing it in refrigerated units or other storage spots for just-in-time use. Due to limited storage space, BOH staff replenish the supply as needed.

As customers enter the servery, they see eight food stations and beverage areas. ?With three different clients sharing this space, we knew from the beginning that we wanted to provide a lot of menu diversity and sophistication,? Pacifico recalls.

?We believe the adaptability and customization capabilities of Eurest?s food program complements the inviting, functionally designed space,? Tilley says.

The first station customers encounter is Wild Greens, a made-to-order salad section offering choices of spinach salad with crispy fried chicken and chili and lime shrimp salad with black bean salsa. Salads are made with 30 different vegetables, three types of greens, three proteins and 15 dressings. Refrigerated display wells and undercounter refrigerated units hold ingredients.

Customers next find made-to-order sushi at Tsuki, a subcontracted operation run by employees from this restaurant. The menu features sushi, miso soup, seaweed salads and edamame. This island also features a beverage station with fountain and coffee dispensers, as well as a four-well soup unit and wrought-iron baskets displaying fresh bread.

To the right of the entrance is Outtakes, a grab ?n go station where salads, sandwiches, yogurt parfaits and fresh-squeezed juices stand out in a refrigerated, glass case with self-closing doors. The adjacent display case holds desserts, breakfast breads and muffins and miscellaneous snacks and candies. Staff can promote combos here and at other stations to encourage sales.

At the adjacent Exhibition station, only one of two with a hood, staff use induction burners for a rotating menu of dishes like beef stir-fry with chili peppers and a daily pasta such as cheese tortellini and sun dried tomatoes in roasted garlic cream. ?It took the staff a while to get used to the induction burners, because they were used to cooking on gas flames,? Hernaez says. ?But, there is no open flame so cooking with induction is safer.? A soup warmer holds two soups that are rotated daily with other varieties.

Trattoria, the next station, features a pizza oven where staff cook three varieties daily. Gourmet varieties include everything from the traditional plum tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil pies to beef teriyaki with oyster mushrooms pies. In front of the oven, a hot-holding flat top displays pizzas, calzones, baked pasta and stromboli. Both Tilley and Hernaez are very enthusiastic about this piece of equipment. ?If I turn a convection up to 500 degrees, the cooking won?t be even,? Hernaez points out. ?With this equipment, which is designed to cook at the high temperatures, I get even texture and color. Pizzas, bread and pastas are cooked evenly and consistently and look beautiful.? In addition, they add, customers are attracted to the equipment and like to see the oven working as fresh products are put in and taken out.

A carving board at the adjacent Carvery station holds turkey or beef where staff members carve individual portions. Two flat tops with overhead heat lamps display dishes containing chicken and fish, and five choices of vegetables or starches. ?We hold everything in double-handle, flat pans on flat tops, which look a lot better than cafeteria steam tables,? Hernaez says.

Another flat-top holding area is situated at the attached station, Cultural Cuisine. Here the menu rotates among four Cultural Cuisine concepts, including Indian, Greek, Asian and Latino. Up to four entrées such as chicken enchiladas and beef fajitas with roma tomatoes and roasted bell peppers, and five side dishes of a particular nationality are on display each day. Refrigerators and hot-holding units hold these dishes. A freezer in this section holds fries, onion rings and other items for the Fresh Grille.

At the Deli, glass refrigerated cases display everything for paninis, wraps, grinders, breads, salads and various other ingredients for made-to-order sandwiches. A panini press and conveyor toaster are visible in the back of the station.

In between the Deli and Fresh Grille, an open refrigerated area features specialty beverages, energy drinks and vitamin waters.

The Fresh Grille, the other section with a hood, is the most popular station. Here, staff use, from left to right, two double-basket fryers for fries, onion rings and other crispy items, a flat top for patty melts and grilled cheese sandwiches, breakfast egg dishes and hashbrowns, and a grill for burgers, fish, hot dogs, chicken and chili steaks. To the right of the grill is a recessed cold well for condiments. To the right of the flat top is a holding area for sautéed mushrooms, peppers and other ingredients in stainless-steel, oval pans (other areas use rectangular pans).

Featured entrées set on flat tops include chef?s specialties such as blackened swordfish with red potatoes, baked fish with lemon pepper crumbs, tomato mushroom sauced chicken, beef tips and forest mushrooms and herb-baked cod.

After customers select menu items, they move through the cashier stations and to one of two main dining rooms. ?Both dining rooms have high ceilings, so we needed a design element that modulated the space,? Cubas says. ?We suspended planes below the ceilings. In one dining room, we installed a swooping ceiling plane that starts at nine feet and goes up to 15 feet. Another way we modulated the space was to put in several large-scale light fixtures for ambian light.?

Outside the servery, Patisserie offers grab ?n go options. A coffee bar component features coffee, cappuccino, espresso and other hot beverages. Display units show off salads, sandwiches, yogurt parfaits and desserts.

Throughout the servery and kitchen, ergonomic considerations are apparent. ?Everything is set up with 34-inch counters,? Pacifico says. ?Every piece of equipment, including refrigerators and heating cabinets, is at the staff?s fingertips.?

As employees at the Hyatt Center discover Café 71, they are finding a place to relax, meet with colleagues and take a break from their daily work. Through creative design, appropriate placement of and use of equipment, and continual arrangement of seasonal menus, the team of architects, consultants and operators made sure the time spent in this space is well worth customers? time and investment.

Captions: External image. Photo by Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing


The 1.5 million-square-foot Hyatt Center is lozenge-shaped, housing 48 floors in downtown Chicago. The 24,400-square-foot second floor consists of a 12,457-square-foot Café 71, a 2,230-square-foot Patisserie and a health club. At Café 71, the 3,000-square-foot servery, with eight food-themed stations and beverages, is visited daily by up to 1,500 customers from three tenants? organizations. Operating hours are 6:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.; breakfast focus from 6:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.; and lunch from 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. One dining room seats 185; another seats 120. Together, the dining rooms comprise 4,500-square-feet. Staff include 28 persons. The average check is slightly more than $3 for breakfast and just under $6 for lunch. The Patisserie is open from 6 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Balcony seating for 44 is available. A 4,500-square-foot BOH kitchen prepares garde manger and some fully prepared dishes for Café 71 and the Patisserie, as well as for catered events.

Developer: Higgins Development, Chicago

Property Manager: Tina Haubert

Director of Tenant Services: Nicole Goodfellow, Hyatt Center Management, LLC, Chicago

Architect: Pei Cobb Freed & Associates, New York City

Architect of Record: A. Epstein and Sons International Inc., Chicago

Architects and Interior Design, Mezzanine Level: Aumiller Youngquest P.C., Chicago; David Kasprak, principal, and Boris Cubas, project manager/senior associate; Laura Kulis, senior interior designer/associate; Lindsay Davis, interior designer

Foodservice Consultants: Romano Gatland, Woodstock, Ill.; Bob Pacifico, executive vice president; Richard Stolarczyk, vice president

General Manager, Café 71 & Patisserie: Chris Tilley, resident district manager, Eurest Dining Services, Hyatt Center

Executive Chef: Robin Hernaez

General Contractor: Bovis, Chicago

Equipment Dealer: The Boelter Cos., Lincolnwood, Ill.; Paul Trent

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