posted on by Jackie Bebenroth

Seasons change…and so do we.

When people find out we just opened a restaurant, the first question is usually, “Really? Where is it?” which is typically followed by, “What’s the concept?” And then an awkward pause. We never really had a concept restaurant in mind, (unlike this fine downtown addition), just a new space and a core philosophy that bubbled up into what we now call Spice Kitchen + Bar. It’s really an extension of our sustainable sourcing practices, sparked when Ben first started demo cheffing at the Shaker Square farmers’ market back in 2002.

Winter walls, inspired by farms.

For us, the real question was how our small family farm support would translate to the decor without seeming rural or trite. Or, as our semi-snooty designer put it, “We just can’t have this place looking like a barn.” So we kept the color scheme neutral (unlike the previous establishment) to let the shades of the seasons pop off the walls, off the table and, of course, off your plate. The art, accents, and menu will change every three months. For the walls, we envisioned images of our foods in their natural, pre-cooked state…

You might see these on your plate someday.

…which was not an easy task in the winter, with only four weeks left before opening. So when we called our friend Paul Lender at Left of Center Photography to commission him for mission impossible, “A few snowy growing scenes, maybe a farm or two, but we don’t want them to feel barn-like and cold, you know?” he was like, “Um, ok. sure. Well, maybe.” And then set out on a fluke frosty morning to take some of the most gorgeous, thought-provoking winter food pictures we’ve seen yet.

Paul Lender's warm winter wheat

In addition to the seasonal art, we wanted a few permanent statement pieces to lend some consistency to the place. Thankfully, Keith Berr and Linda Barberic strolled in for an impromptu visit before the holidays. We’ve known Keith and Linda forever (we actually want to be them when we grow up)…they’ve been big Spice supporters before Spice was even Spice, and have done amazing work for us in trade, so we were really jazzed when they said they could fit us in between gigs.

Keith Berr took our very first press worthy picture 40 seasons ago.

People expect to see spices when they walk into a place called Spice. And that, simply, was Keith’s inspiration for his whirlwind studio shoot that required Ben to run around the kitchen for two hours collecting bags of every spice under the sun.

A spicy wall, by Keith Berr

It was well worth the effort. Look close you’ll find miles of texture, dimension and pattern. Seriously. This blog can in no way do these images justice – come on in, grab a drink, and just stand there and get lost in them.

My, what big peppercorns you have.

Keith Berr’s spice prints and Paul Lender’s winter canvases are available for sale. So, if you like what you see, be sure to support our oh-so-talented local artists by purchasing their work! Please contact each photographer directly with inquiries.

We’re also accepting new illustration or photography submissions for spring, summer and fall. Work must fit within the 20″ x 44″ vertical space. Please contact Jackie to schedule a portfolio showing with our new house curator, Rachel Capistrano.

We look forward to celebrating the seasons with you this year…and many more to come!






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4 Responses to Seasons change…and so do we.

  1. Paul says:

    It is so great to work with the Spice team! Looking forward to my next visit to the kitchen and a few meals this summer.

  2. Christine Z says:

    I love Spice! I can’t wait to see what the next season brings.

  3. Anthony says:

    I had never actually seen photos of La Boca – thanks for sharing. It certainly was…loud.

  4. Pingback: Q+A with Amelia Ammann, Spice Kitchen + Bar’s General Manager | The Spice Blog