New York Deli stores each have around six staff members working at a time and have a maximum seating capacity of 40. The Upper Riccarton store can sit up to 15 outside.
With dreams of increasing franchises for the New Zealand-born deli, Parkinson notes: “You’ve got to have a point of difference”.
Although Burger King and Carl’s Junior have an American twang, New York Deli is special because of its focus on design and menu make-up. The stores basic theming is the industrial era of the Empire State Building, which was constructed in the 1930s.
“If you’re going to go with the name New York Deli you really have to reflect some of that lifestyle within your theming because people have an expectation,” says Parkinson.
The Addington deli was opened in 2011, when the brand relocated from its Victoria St premises in central Christchurch after the earthquake struck. Architect Chris Wheeler of Hierarchy Group used salvaged materials, such as timber and seats, for the reborn store.
Natural and authentic materials were a focus point for the Upper Riccarton store as well, which opened last year and won a 2016 ADNZ Resene Architectural Design Awards for its clever attention to detail.
Wheeler used his experience from other hospitality fit-outs to create various spaces that are able to maintain overall warmth in an open plan restaurant.
“It’s really just trying to be clever about how you approach different areas,” he says. “You need spatial design to maintain intimacy for customers dining in and some kind of division for an ergonomic flow for the counter line.”
Three different seating areas use three different height levels, from the low booths for long catch-ups, to casual and comfortable banquet seats and a high lean-to bar for those short on time. All break up the space and give customers a choice of dining options.
A range of materials and textures were also used to further this smart use of open space. Various steel and timber were put to use in the divisions and seating areas.
Real, recycled red brick and timber, which was brought back to life with linseed oil, were used to add authenticity and detail. The polished concrete floor ticks all the boxes by being cost-effective, serviceable and honest looking.
“The idea was to use really authentic materials for an integrated industry feel without being too cold,” says Wheeler, who enjoyed researching New York’s style in the 30s and 40s for the delis.
The design point of difference is this use of raw and recycled materials in a way that maintains a level of quality.
“It was about organic, natural and honest material and the balance of it,” says Wheeler.
But the best part of the design for Wheeler is the “high level of detail in bric-a-brac that makes it authentic and reflects the quality of the brand”.
Bric-a-brac, such as suspended street signs and freestanding calendars, were sourced both internationally and nationally and are an ode to downtown New York eateries. From vintage pickle jars to pot plants, each detail is staged specifically by Hierarchy Group to surprise the customer each visit and help with the flow of the restaurant.
“That level of detail makes it feel like it’s been there a long time,” says Wheeler. “The customer can notice something new every time.”