When a chef comes in to take over a restaurant kitchen, he inherits more than just the pots and pans and the contents of the walkin — there’s also the whole rest of the restaurant to think about. Since taking over at Sprout, Dale Levitski’s done quick work with the menu, so now it’s time to tackle the dining room. “We’re not very comfortable with what the room looks like,” he told us, explaining his plan to engage in what the restaurant’s Facebook page calls “an unprecedented crowdsourced redesign.” Levitski thinks that the space, designed for original chef Satko Ibrahimovic’s outrageous menu, doesn’t exactly jive with the fresh, ingredient-driven food he’s serving. But instead of following some designer’s unilateral vision, he’s putting it to his guests.
“I definitely want this to be a much more approachable restaurant, something with a personal connection to our guests,” Levitski explained, justifying his decision to crowdsource the interior. The plan is to have some interactive elements — online polls, maybe? — but for the time being he’s welcoming feeback of any sort from his guests. “Do you want us to change the light fixtures? Do you hate this color of paint? Do you want us to change the tables? We know what we think is ugly, we would like to know what you think is ugly.”
So what does the Sprout team think is ugly? “We know the chairs are ugly and the sconces are horrifying,” he told us. “Some people are like ‘it’s not so bad,’ and some people are like ‘I want to burn it.’ But we want this to be the best restaurant we can make it — any input is appreciated. Right now it’s a work in progress, hopefully in six months it’ll be a perfect restaurant.”