The concept of eating real food from real farmers grew into ‘Wichcraft, part of Tom Colicchio’s New York-based Craft Restaurant Group. The pioneering sandwich shop, whose tagline is “from seed to sandwich,” was founded in 2003 to craft sandwiches celebrating their farm-to-table ingredients.
In the summer of 2016, and following a year-long collaborative design process with Mapos, a New York-based design firm, ‘Wichcraft founders Colicchio and Sisha Ortuzar, opened a new store in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York that would serve as the prototype for several more stores in the city and beyond.
In July of 2017, the latest store was opened on Broadway and 38th Street, offering a fresh new look, an expanded menu and a more efficient approach to “ ‘wichcrafting.” According to Mapos principal, Colin Brice, “Everything about the design of the 2650-square-foot corner location communicates the ‘Wichcraft commitment to farm-to-table ingredients and local communities.”
The space features a modular Market Wall, where branded merchandise is displayed and can be easily seen through the storefront window. Cookbooks, packaged goods and other products complement the food offering, and sit adjacent to the ordering queue for impulse buys. The menu board – placed against white ceramic for legibility – is composed of tiled signage for easy seasonal updates. Other design features include a terra cotta-wrapped column and barn-frame central lighting pendant.
“We used our choice of materiality to achieve consistency in the brand messaging,” Brice says. “Ceramic and terra cotta tiles recall bread ovens, and the irregularly stacked oak forms of the counter and dais pedestal suggest produce crates. Planters remind guests of natural ingredients’ seasonality. Additionally, key brand colors were added as highlights.”
The angled corner shape of the space was the biggest design challenge; it did not allow enough room for the community dining table that’s central to ‘Wichcraft’s brand. To compensate, the table was split into three diner-style peninsula counters near the storefront windows to keep the center of the space open for the lunchtime rush, while still allowing for communal sitting.
‘Wichcraft’s menu, like the food it sources, changes with the supply chain of its farmer partners. Each menu item is placed on an individual tile that can be easily moved, updated or replaced. The constantly changing menu board is a physical reflection of the seasonality of cooking and critical to the brand’s farm-to-table ethos and ingredients.
Each element of the space is designed to nurture and celebrate the brand’s farming friends and community, and in doing so, helps ‘Wichcraft bring a fresh approach to the art of the sandwich.
'Wichcraft, New York
Craft Restaurants, New York
Design and Architecture
Mapos, New York: Colin Brice, partner in charge; Justin Ware, project manager
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Photography: Garrett Rowland, New York