A Look Inside Lou Malnati's Gold Coast

25 September 2019
Knauer News Oct 2011 Newsletter Page 05 d3867277feb154defec9b24a5714fadb

In 2011, Focus contributed to an iconic flagship development for a staple Chicago pizzeria – Lou Malnati’s. Focus was chosen as the general contractor for this restaurant build-out. As one of Chicago’s most beloved pizzerias, Focus wanted to bring something unique to the restaurant’s flagship location.

The Lou Malnati’s primary restaurant is located in Chicago’s lively Gold Coast neighborhood. Since this location would attract visitors from all over the nation, the design needed to be memorable. Here we’ll take you through the development and how Focus’ expertise and creativity combined to create a one-of-a-kind Chicago-style pizzeria:

Our Role

Focus was brought on the Lou Malnati’s project as the general contractor. As the general contractor, our goal was to not only spearhead the development of the project but to enhance the owner’s vision through custom design elements. Our team utilized versatile custom elements to create a timeless development that attracts tourists and locals alike.

Through a collaborative effort and expert team, we were able to compress the original schedule allowing for a July 4th opening.

Creative Structural Design

Lou Malnati’s Gold Coast was an interesting 4-month renovation. The project involved transforming a former clothing store into a full-functioning restaurant. This involved remodeling an old bow truss building. Before remodeling, structural shoring was needed. To reinforce the bow string, we incorporated heavy metal plates and aesthetic steel rods.

The project as a whole incorporated several creative structural design elements unique to this location. One of our favorite elements to develop was the front façade. Focus constructed an impressive front façade of salvaged glazed brick taken from demolished buildings in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood. In addition to this, the project featured a custom glass garage door which created a convenient summer patio in addition to a sidewalk patio.

One of the most unique elements of the project was the pivoting wall hinge. This element, which was designed and engineered by the Focus team, created separate rooms by utilizing doors swiveling on casters and walls that pivot overhead. The overhead pivot walls are operated by a 4,000lb winch and cable system. Although, the winch is aesthetically oversized as the wall only requires minor strength to operate. Safety locks are included in the system to keep the wall in position.

A Unique Aesthetic

Not only is the Lou Malnati’s flagship location structurally impressive, but its aesthetic design is seamlessly unique. The aesthetic has a pleasing vintage meets industrial feel. To create the rustic feel seen in this development, the team utilized individual mismatching details.

Just as the bricks of the front façade were taken from Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood, many of the accent elements seen throughout the development are pulled from the same neighborhood. This includes the wheels, gears, and more seen hanging throughout the space.

The layout of this development incorporates several rooms for flawless event hosting. Not only does this space include a full-service bar and large dining area, but it also features two private dining rooms.

The structural and aesthetic design of Lou Malnati’s Gold Coast makes this flagship location one to remember. If you’re a resident, be sure to stop in to see all these elements in person.

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