Branding Pastaria’s New Nashville Location
When James Beard award-winning chef Gerard Craft told us he was opening a second location of his acclaimed St. Louis restaurant Pastaria down in Nashville, Atomicdust was thrilled to be a part of branding and design for the space.
Back in 2012, we worked with Gerard to create the initial Pastaria restaurant branding, and we’re proud to say that it still feels fresh and relevant after five years. Gerard and his team felt that it would feel brand-new, even in the red-hot Nashville restaurant market.
(Before we get into the story behind the Nashville location, we owe a thanks to Greg Rannells for letting us use these photos. We really appreciate it.)
As we started designing for the new Nashville location of Pastaria, we updated key elements of the brand identity, including the menus, bill presenters and postcards. With that, we were off and running.
Members of the Atomicdust team traveled to Nashville to meet with Manuel Zeitlin Architects and get a sense of the space. At the time it was an empty box, but we instantly saw opportunities throughout the towering space.
We started with crazy ideas, like hanging Vespas, pizza peels superimposed over images and old-time photos of people eating pasta. But as a reflection of Gerard’s desire to transport the vibe of the St. Louis location to Nashville, we put those ideas on hold.
Indeed, the hold didn’t last long: the Pastaria Nashville location has a large bar area, whose design lends itself to a different, even edgier approach. We found the perfect image of a woman eating pasta that looks like it was custom-shot for the space: tall and skinny, avoiding the ductwork in the ceiling.
And to mirror Gerard’s love of both biking and pasta, we found another photo – one of professional cyclist Vittorio Adorni riding a bike while eating pasta. Perfetto!
Of course, we wanted to capture the fun, family atmosphere of the St. Louis location. We used the iconic boy and girl illustrations, and made them larger than life on the outside. And we added the “Yum!” speech bubble for a photo-op as people walk in. Two more outdoor signs are still in the works.
As the new location started to take shape, the biggest challenge was being remote. Working with printers, installers and architects on an ever-evolving, hands-on project was a never-ending source of questions. Which wall were they referring to? Are those measurements accurate? Luckily, we had great partners in 12-Point SignWorks, Brand Imaging Group and Manuel Zeitlin Architects.
We went back to Nashville the day before they opened as the interior and exterior graphics were installed. Without much margin for error, there was an electric energy. It was awesome to see al the details come together to to bring the Pastaria experience to Nashville. The end result is familiar and comforting yet brand-new all the same.
Pastaria Nashville is part of the new ONEC1TY complex, a residential, retail and office complex on the city’s West Side. Another St. Louis favorite, Sump Coffee, also opened a new cafe right next door.
We were proud to help bring Gerard’s vision to life – and we can’t wait to go back to see how it continues to develop (and of course, to eat some delicious pasta while we’re there).
Thanks again to the amazing Greg Rannells for letting us use these photos.