Restaurant & Bar
Renovation & Interior Design
Bitterroot is a restaurant and bar, occupying a renovated warehouse building within the historic district of Ballard in Seattle. The long, narrow space of the restaurant is divided into two floor levels, splitting the project into zones that appear to telescope backward, each nested into the next and all in view from the front entry.
The design of the main dining area aims to invert one’s experience of the space from interior to exterior, such that the kitchen and back of house seem to occupy the “inside” while the public spaces give the feel of an “outside”, as if set on an outdoor deck or porch. Overlaying urban, industrial, residential and rustic materials, the definition of the space parallels the overall approach for the cuisine, which is to extract barbecue from any singular, regional point of reference and instead present and celebrate its most ubiquitous qualities. Reclaimed wood siding and re-furbished joists from the former floor of the building are newly situated in graphic, patterned installations alongside modern concrete, chain link, zinc, and taut white surfaces.
The back bar area, visible but separate from the main dining area, is accessible along a downward sloped ramp or through a separate entrance at the rear of the building. Here, the public space retreats to an interior ambience, one that reads part Northwestern ranger station and part industrial design workshop. The connective circulation space along the ramp transitions from an enveloping wood corridor extending from the dining space, and emerges as an organizing figure in the bar area, where it serves as an anchor for two narrow seating areas flanking the intimate cocktail bar.