photo by Timothy Hiatt

photo by Timothy Hiatt

location: Chicago, IL

date: 2014

type: renovation, commercial

role: designer, builder

Parachute is a restaurant located in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago, opened by husband and wife chef-owners Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark. They invited me to design and build whatever I could with a total construction and furniture budget of ~$50,000 in a former 1500sf Mexican bakery. They signed their lease in November 2013, and the restaurant opened in May 2014. 

Beverly and Johnny brought together years of experience in kitchens around the world to create a menu based in Korean and French cooking traditions. Their desire was to serve their exquisite food in a space that felt immediately comfortable but completely unique. I decided to organize the dining room around a 34' long cast-in-place concrete countertop, built at kitchen countertop height. Intended to evoke both a diner counter and a kitchen counter, the slightly raised surface creates a regal space for diners in addition to maximizing the amount of seats in a minimal amount of space.

Scope of work included reconfiguring walls, electrical and plumbing fixtures, and all millwork, finishes and furnishings. The material palette included stained concrete, reclaimed subflooring and floor joists, birch veneer plywood, OSB, masonite pegboard, copper, moving blankets, broken speakers, and many other found/salvaged objects. We collaborated with Jeremiah Chiu of Plural to develop the graphic identity of the restaurant, which included a custom neon sign.

Parachute has been named best new restaurant by Thrillist, Eater Chicago, Chicago Reader, Chicago Tribune, Chicagoist, was nominated for Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation, and has received a Michelin Star.