Pieces of the Whole
Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
By Emma Janzen
Images courtesy of Mercadito Hospitality Group
For the Mercadito Hospitality Group, the dining experience isn’t just about consuming delicious dishes—it’s about enjoying a vibrant night out on the town in a friendly, social atmosphere that’s full of energy and vivacity. With new locations breaking ground in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Las Vegas (the group already has left its mark in New York and Chicago), Mercadito hired New York City based Celano Design Studio to take that underlying sentiment and apply it to the new concepts.
Founder and principal Vincent Celano says that each project is the result of intense collaboration. “There is a recipe to what this group is about,” he says. “[Mercadito Hospitality’s] vision brings together these creative minds, these young and high-energy risk-takers of food, beverage, design, graphics, and branding—all aspects that eventually come together to create the complete, immersive dining experience.”
In terms of aesthetics, each individual restaurant has its own unique look and atmosphere that’s influenced by a specific culinary theme. “The challenge is always, ‘What’s the new food concept, what’s the new location, and how do you bring relevance to this location with the type of energy and vibe that we typically bring?’” Celano says. “There has to be an understanding of what the culture, location, energy, and demographics are for the area.”
Though each concept caters to the local culture and the menu scheme, they all are tied together with similar elements to ensure that each location fits into the group’s overall ambiance. For example, Celano says that one of the more engaging aspects of the design are the graffiti murals present in every concept, created by artist Erni Vales. “[The art] adds something that changes and evolves, so it’s not a specific repetitive style,” he says. “The next Mercaditos might have five different graffiti-art concepts. That’s one of the things that keeps the concepts fresh and new and always up to date.”