I can’t believe how far this place has come. It’s unbelievable that nearly two years have gone by since we opened. Jacob’s has gone from this imaginary place in my head to a place that people tell me they love. And so many of the same people who started with us are still with us today-I’m really proud about that.
“Beer, Biscuits & Pickles” came to me early on, but the big challenge was how to express that through design. It was so personal for me, I had to get it right. Together, the words meant something greater than the individual elements. Together, they represent a part of American food culture.
American food seems to be taken for granted. We just don’t do it justice. The “American Bar & Grill” has become expected in every city, but what does that mean, exactly? “America” represents so many unique regions, but it seems the theme is always chicken wings, burgers and steak.
So Jacob’s Pickles pays tribute to one of American’s favorite cuisines, Southern-style cooking. Ultimately, it’s about bringing real food to real people, with back to basics substance and comfort, but also a new sense of style. It meant everything to me to represent this culture through the right sense of design.
September, 2010. The day we got the keys to the shop. I had a pretty clear vision, but a lot of the creativity happened organically when the construction began.
It’s not that often that a restaraunteur gets the chance to build from scratch vs. just taking over a restaurant. I convinced myself that it would be a breeze to open, but our six month goal stretched to 14 months. We didn’t realize what we were getting ourselves into. We did most of the work from scratch-the plumbing, electrical and woodwork, even the poles and fixtures were custom cut.
I wanted to showcase the beauty of the raw materials. Fortunately, the restaurant came with historic brick columns, which was an awesome foundation to work with.
I’ve always appreciated functional design, so every part of the restaurant needed to have some kind of form or function. The back bar became the perfect place to demonstrate this. It’s kind of Warholesque with its step and repeat branding of our All-American spirits, but also serves as a storage space which is really hard to come by in the city. We wanted the look to be both polished and weathered, a place to come to for beer or martinis.
Day by day we found the right materials: weathered wood, olive colored leather and even carnival antics like this weighing scale from a great machine store in the Bowery also run by a father & son team, just like us.
About a week before we opened, we wanted to experience Jacob’s ourselves. So for days a group of us just just hung out, poured beers, sampled food and literally stayed up all night. It was a total blast. Occasionally people would peak through the holes in the front windows to see what was going on inside. So we’d invite them in.
And you know what, they never left.