Having worked as a cook during the last couple years of college, during my time at Penland, and during the first couple years of getting Horse & Buggy Press off the ground I have a sweet spot in my heart for the food service industry (though I certainly don’t miss working Friday and Saturday nights til the wee hours of the morning, then coming in to do brunch the next day).
As a type geek (notice I said “type” geek and not “font” geek) I love designing menus. I really feel that, just like the interior ambiance of a restaurant, the aesthetic of the menu is something important to be considered and an integral part of the overall dining experience. It should not be an afterthought (or even worse, no thought).
And I know it’s currently hip and all in some circles to go sans menu and just have a chalkboard behind the bar, or have your scruffy hipster waiter scribble some notes down on your paper tablecloth, but really that’s kind of a drag as a customer. “What he’d say about the fish dish?” “What the hell is that up there in the corner of the chalkboard, does that say beets or beef? You get up this time and go read it.”
as a former Philly white boy soul group said…
In other words, an ink on paper menu is a vital thing at a sit-down-the-waiter-comes-take-your-order type of restaurant. Period.
I’ve been designing the menus at Watts Grocery since they opened up a few years ago (and just a ten minute walk from the homestead!). The menu changes quarterly and is based upon seasonally available locally sourced foods (they do have specials that change daily as well as a blue plate special at lunch).
One of the nice discoveries with the menu project was that we could go with low-end digital color printing and get very successful results (while keeping production costs down). A great surprise was the that digital toner is actually more opaque than either offset or letterpress ink… so we can get punchy, saturated colors even when printing on butcher/oatmeal colored recycled paper.
This year was the first we did a special menu for Restaurant Week
Unfortunately, the Mrs, and I didn’t make it over as we haven’t eaten dinner out for months with our lil baby boy at home (Miles is now four months old and doing great, we may drop a picture here sometime soon). But before too long I think we’ll start thinking about getting a sitter for the occasional date night. Anyway here’s a peek at the restaurant week menu. (this was a fixed price night, please know the normal everyday menus do have prices on them)
update—also below is the upcoming Valentines Day Menu.