Bang Chop is Open: Fresh Modern Thai Restaurant Comes to West Loop, Chicago

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Our most recent restaurant project is now open; Bang Chop Thai Kitchen in West Loop.  

Bang Chop is a new twist on a great Chicago restaurant venture and moss designed the third location for their Saigon Sisters Vietnamese restaurants in Northwestern Hospital’s food court a few years ago.  Read about its construction and completion elsewhere on the blog.

We were delighted to work with that team again to create yet another fresh, modern restaurant space – and the Bang Chop team will use it to create some fresh, delicious Thai food for the West Loop!  Here are photos (by moss) of the completed project.

bang chop thai kitchen moss design

bang chop thai kitchen moss design

bang chop thai kitchen moss design

bang chop thai kitchen moss design

bang chop thai kitchen moss design

bang chop thai kitchen moss design

Where we started 

The space for Bang Chop had been a restaurant before.  If it hadn’t we could still have converted it – more on that here – but having some of the necessary equipment in place certainly helped expedite the process.

For reasons of budget AND principle – hey, we want to keep construction and demo waste to a minimum – we maintained the existing layout and kitchen location and reused a lot of the equipment.  We even preserved its ugly but functional acoustic ceiling tiles, hiding them from view with a new low ceilinged soffit that wraps the kitchen edge and doubles as a convenient spot for menu signage.

before_bw images

Bang Chop Design Process 

As always, our design process began not only with the space but with visual and other inspiration pulled from the interests of the client and the cultural history of the restaurant.  Here are a few of our starting point images and some of the early design sketches.

bang chop material inspiration

The display cabinet (sketched below) was created to serve a practical need for the restaurant – dry storage for the kitchen that is tiny and short on space.  But the design is inspired by the pie cooling / meat safe cabinets that are used in traditional Thai kitchens and throughout Southeast Asia.

bang chop sketches 1 bang chop sketches 2

Going into Construction

We enhanced the elevated feeling of the space by raising the lighting up to the level of the exposed ductwork.  At the same time we created a sense of protection and separation by creating a lowered ceiling between the kitchen and dining spaces.

construction 1

construction 2

construction 3

Slab Wood Surfaces

In traditional Thai cooking the cutting board is usually a huge slab of wood cut from a near by tree.  We used that concept to inspire the live-edged bar which separates and connects kitchen and dinging area.  The piece of wood we ultimately selected to feature in the bar top is a storm-damaged Siberian Elm that once grew on the North Shore here in Chicagoland.  So … the finished counter tells a visual story about its own history and also connects back to Thai history.

materials

bang chop thai kitchen moss design

Custom Lighting

The pendant light at the front window is another custom piece by Ted Harris Lamps. Ted specializes in making beautiful and arresting lights from found objects. In this case we started from the iconic shape of Thai fishing boats. Ted created a delicate framework inspired by those boats from rebar – which is most apparent during the day.  At night it acts as an interior marquee sign for the restaurant, shining brightly from the corner window.

thai fishing boat

custom light

bang chop opening night

PEOPLE/PRODUCTS

General Contractor: Moss Build

Custom Furniture and Built ins: Fricano Construction

Slab Wood Counter Top:  Stom Damaged Siberian Elm from Horigan Urban Forest Products

Reception Pendant: Ted Harris