FEATURES : FOOD / DRINK

Greenpoint and the Brothers from hOmE

By Craig Cavallo

Published April 29, 2013

The designers of Alameda, Evan and Oliver Haslegrave of hOmE.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

The designers of Alameda, Evan and Oliver Haslegrave of hOmE.

The narrow entrance gives way to the bar that is the spectacular centerpiece of the restaurant's design.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

The narrow entrance gives way to the bar that is the spectacular centerpiece of the restaurant's design.

The curvature in the tiling and hardwood floors follows the curvature of the bar.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

The curvature in the tiling and hardwood floors follows the curvature of the bar.

Taps are built into the column and functions as support and shelving.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

Taps are built into the column and functions as support and shelving.

Curves are juxtapose with 45 degree angles throughout the bar in the tiling and ceiling details.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

Curves are juxtapose with 45 degree angles throughout the bar in the tiling and ceiling details.

The front corner of Alameda.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

The front corner of Alameda.

Design motifs are prevalent throughout the interior. Tables share the same angles as other parts of the restaurant.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

Design motifs are prevalent throughout the interior. Tables share the same angles as other parts of the restaurant.

Evan Haslegrave talks us through the restaurant's interior design.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

Evan Haslegrave talks us through the restaurant's interior design.

hOmE also specializes in lighting design. Many of the other interior work include fixture designs and Alameda is no different.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

hOmE also specializes in lighting design. Many of the other interior work include fixture designs and Alameda is no different.

Further details in the tile work and lighting fixtures.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

Further details in the tile work and lighting fixtures.

Lighting above the front corners of the seating areas.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

Lighting above the front corners of the seating areas.

Waine Longwell, previously at Brooklyn Star, manages the cocktail program.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

Waine Longwell, previously at Brooklyn Star, manages the cocktail program.

A moment with the partners before Alameda's opening.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

A moment with the partners before Alameda's opening.

"It means, roughly, avenue or boulevard, a street lined with poplar trees. We felt it appropriate for a neighborhood bar/restaurant on Franklin," Nick Padilla explains.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

"It means, roughly, avenue or boulevard, a street lined with poplar trees. We felt it appropriate for a neighborhood bar/restaurant on Franklin," Nick Padilla explains.

Alameda becomes the latest edition to hOmE's design portfolio of Greenpoint restaurants.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

Alameda becomes the latest edition to hOmE's design portfolio of Greenpoint restaurants.

The partners of Alameda from left to right: Waine Longwell, Nick Padilla, Evan Haslegrave, and Oliver Haslegrave

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

The partners of Alameda from left to right: Waine Longwell, Nick Padilla, Evan Haslegrave, and Oliver Haslegrave

Previous1 of 16Next

At the beginning of The Big Lebowski, Sam Elliot’s gravelly voiceover draws the audience into the scene. “Sometimes there’s a man,” he says, “well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there.” It turns out, sometimes that man has a brother, and sometimes those brothers start a design firm. That’s the Haslegraves, and the time and place is right now in Greenpoint, a neighborhood that is in the midst of a culinary revolution.

Evan and Oliver moved to the neighborhood a decade ago and settled in a loft on Franklin Street. They spent their first years in the city waiting tables and tending bar, but with their family’s background in designing and building, it was natural for them to gravitate towards that trade. They founded hOmE in 2009 – a design firm for which the name is an acronym for all of the Haslegrave siblings: Hadley, Oliver, Morgan, and Evan. In the firm’s four-year run, Evan and Oliver have designed over a dozen restaurants and bars. The loft space they moved to is now the office for hOmE. On a recent visit there, the sun came through the windows at angles that seemed intentional. Evan brought over cold water in mason jars as Oliver began explaining their decision to start the business, “It just seemed like a really fun way to explore the sort of life we grew up with.”

The most recent addition to that business is Tørst. The Haslegraves designed the space and their beautiful streamlined woodwork houses one of the city’s most impressive beer selections. When Tørst chef Daniel Burns, who has three years at Noma on his resume, starts serving a five-course menu in the back of the bar next month, it’ll make the Greenpoint newcomer one of the most sought after destinations for food and drink anywhere in the city.

Rezoning in Greenpoint made room for 17,000 people to take up residence over an eight-year period. That happened in 2005. So with the people in place, many Williamsburg restaurateurs see the influx of residents to Greenpoint as an opportunity to expand their businesses. Sydney Silver, the owner of Roebling Tea Room, is opening River Styx on Greenpoint Avenue. Andrew Tarlow (Diner, Marlow & Sons, Reynard) is taking his approachable-American template to West Street, where he will open Achilles Heel, and a seafood restaurant called The Bounty is opening by the owners of The Drink. Fornino, having shuttered two and a half years after opening in Park Slope (the original Williamsburg location still fires out pies) looks to have better luck in Greenpoint, where partner Michael Ayoub will open a location on Manhattan Avenue.

In the meantime, the Haslegraves have two projects on the horizon in Greenpoint. “I think we’re doing a lot of work in Greenpoint now,” Oliver explained, “because it seems to be the time when there’s a groundswell of activity here, residentially and commercially.” Ramona will open by year’s end on 113 Franklin Street. hOmE is designing the space and it will be run by the owners of Elsa, a cocktail bar the brothers designed on the Lower East Side. The second is Alameda; a 44-seat restaurant opening today up the block at 195 Franklin Street. The Haslegraves are co-owners in this project, but the partnership doesn’t necessarily mean they’re taking a different approach, “Developing a certain kind of feeling and environment for a client is so involved,” Oliver says, “that whether we be partners or not, it pretty much feels the same.” “It’s a very interpersonal relationship,” Evan explained, “You get to know the people involved so well and you talk to them every single day for three or four months straight.” “It’s good to do it both ways,” Oliver responded. “Alameda just seemed like a good project to hang our hat on a little bit.”

Nick Padilla and Waine Longwell are the other partners in Alameda. They met working together at Brooklyn Star and met the Haslegraves doing the build-out of Manhattan Inn, a Greenpoint piano bar and restaurant hOmE designed in 2009. The four became fast friends, and when the opportunity to partner arose, no one thought twice. “I’ve helped open a bar/restaurant with everyone involved,” Longwell explained in an email, “It just feels natural to team up with people you know you can count on.” Like the Haslegraves, Longwell has lived in Greenpoint for a number of years. He remembers when the Alameda space was Greenpoint Coffee House, “It had a good vibe,” he explained, “and a great neighborhood feel. I think the neighborhood really took a blow when the place closed. We want to return it to its former glory, but also make it something better than it was. We all live in the neighborhood and want the place to be the spot you can count on for a good time.”

“The food consists of variations on classic dishes,” Padilla says of the menu he’s created. “He’s shown us what he was thinking before we started,” Oliver said, “So his thoughts have already informed the design.” “He’s going after a menu with oysters and a really good burger,“ Evan explained, “Kind of an American-style bistro, but we wanted to lean it towards a bistro with a strong cocktail program. So that tailored the reason why we built the bar the way we did.” The bar runs the length of the space. There’s room for a few tables along the perimeter, and there will be a few al fresco seats on the sidewalk, but the bar remains the focal point. “We want it to be a neighborhood bar that has really good food,” Oliver said.

The Haslegraves have named projects they have designed in the past, but Alameda is a name Padilla had set aside years ago. “It means, roughly, an avenue or boulevard lined with poplar trees,” he explained. “We felt it appropriate for a neighborhood bar/restaurant on Franklin Street.”

As for the amount of work landing in hOmE’s lap, “I wouldn’t say there’s any reason we work more in Brooklyn aside from the clients that approach us,” Evan explained. “Location is only one factor,” Oliver said, adding, “we’re happy to work anywhere, but there’s also a certain amount of logistics. It’s a lot easier to work in Greenpoint. It’s really about if we’re lucky enough to get the inquiry, which one seems to be the best fit.”

“We’ve lived here for a number of years,” Oliver said, “and it’s great to see the neighborhood flourish. It feels like the more good places there are, the more people will come to appreciate them.” “Being able to see the neighborhood develop in that way,” Evan said of all that is destined soon for Greenpoint, “and from what we had just a year or so ago, to be able to walk down the street and go to a number of different places that have a passion for food and drink is really special.”

Greenpoint is in the midst a culinary revolution, and the Haslegraves are at the heart of it. Ironically, the door to their apartment-turned-office is hinged on the wrong side. It’s awkward to walk through, but as you do, it’s like passing through a door at Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. On the other side, everything seemed to be exactly where it should be. Music played softly from some corner of the room, bright green plants reached for the sun in another and, somewhere, a dog that never showed its face barked softly on a whim. The brothers have projects underway in Las Vegas and Baltimore, but Greenpoint will always be hOmE.

COMMENTS

Your Name

Email Address

Add Comment