In Buffalo, it’s not that often that you hear of a design studio working on a restaurant project. For the most part, there’s a lot of DIY taking place, which is not a bad thing, it’s just the lay of the land. From turnkey spaces to routine build outs, many restaurant owners want to get up and running as quickly as possible.
When Jim Pacciotti, owner of Bocce Club Pizza, decided that he was in need of a design and rebrand overhaul for his two suburban locations, and his future city location, he reached out to Raven Vanguard Design Studio for some guidance.
Upon meeting with Jim to discuss the future look and feel of Bocce Club Pizza, Raven Vanguard owners Tom Moll and Brooke Pelc suggested that he tour their Allentown studio. After taking the tour of the fabulous showroom, Jim enlisted the couple – along with their in-house interior designer, Dakota Nesselbush – to take on the job. Together, the trio presented him with a new makeover concept for the brand.
After conducting some preliminary design and rebranding exercises at Jim’s first two Bocce Club locations, the Raven Vanguard team got busy with the new Chippewa location, which was in dire need of an overhaul.
“[A pizzeria] was not a typical project for us. We were looking at something that was more ‘design forward,'” said Brooke.
“We were given full creative freedom,” Dakota added. “We borrowed from the material palette of the other rebranded Bocce locations for continuity.”
“But we wanted to set it apart – something that reflected the role of the restaurant’s Chippewa location… quick, saucy, and fun. We knew that we wanted to do something with custom wall coverings, drawn by Dakota, to give it an edgier ‘graffiti’ feel,” said Brooke. “This was the restaurant’s first time in the city. There was a grab ‘n’ go element that we wanted to work with. That was more of their focus with this location.”
Once the team wrapped their heads around the design, they began to address the potential of the existing space. An initial step, after retaining the services of architect Carolyn Paligiano, was to get rid of the drop ceiling, which presented a more open concept to play around with. Then they “dropped a soffit,’ which provided a prime spot to display the history and the timeline of the Bocce Club brand (launched in 1946).
“Jim was adamant that the rebrand include a family-driven history of the business,” said Brooke. “We did that graphically with the murals, but we also pushed further on the design and aesthetics. We wanted to create something that pushed the envelope.”
“Our goal is to present another level of design for bars and restaurants in Buffalo, with fully branded interiors,” agreed Dakota. “We’ve done a lot of residential in the past, but we’re broadening our scope into the hospitality space. We want owners to consider the design of the restaurant as much as they consider the food and the drinks.”
The opening of Bocce Club Pizza is now, surprisingly, approaching a year. In that time, the eatery’s quick, saucy, and fun aesthetics have been embraced by customers, as well as by Jim Pacciotti, who is happy to have his first urban presence in WNY.
As for Raven Vanguard, I look forward to seeing more of these design-forward concepts spring forth, which will help to tell the story of a hard working, family-centric city, with old world values and forward-thinking design sensibilities.
Bocce Club Pizza | 235 Delaware Avenue (at Chippewa) | Buffalo NY 14202 | (716) 856-1946
Raven Vanguard Design Studio | 70 North Pearl Street | Buffalo NY 14202 | (716) 316-7237
Photo Credits: Vincent Castrogivanni