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As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Department of Health will allow some “low-risk” food sellers to self-certify their inspections. This would include businesses that sell pre-packaged food and beverages with minimal food preparation. Even if this revision seems to be most relevant to 7-11s and gas stations, small food businesses will benefit from the reduced supervision. Restaurants who have not had a food safety related closing for 36 months will also be eligible to self-certify. Unfortunately, the main issue with the Department of Health has not been the frequency of inspections, so much as the amount of time it takes to have plans reviewed by the department and the inconsistent application of design regulations.

The Department of Health is a vast regulatory body that oversees everything related to public health. The Food Protection Division is just one segment of the department, and is responsible for restaurants, taverns, groceries, commissaries, and hot dog cars. Read the rest of this entry »

After spending the past few years on the streets, Flirty Cupcakes has a new dessert garage to call home. Flirty was preparing their delectable delights in a shared kitchen in Chicago’s West Loop, and selling to the public out of two food trucks. Now in addition to their rounds in Chicagoland, Flirty will sell their in-house baked treats from their new shop on Taylor Street. After identifying the 1,200 square foot space on Taylor near UIC, moss helped transform the formerly hapless space into a modern dessert garage. Product list and photos inside.

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Merging Sustainable Agriculture and Modern Architecture.

We wanted the design to speak to the industrial and traditional roots of the Chicago food industry, while responding to the unique mission of 2 Sparrows.  Similar to how a sparrow builds a nest by collecting building elements from nearby, we assembled the space for this seasonally driven, gastro-brunch restaurant with building components collected from Chicago.  This approach resulted in an industrial farmhouse aesthetic rooted in Chicago restaurant classicism perfectly calibrated for food production and enjoyment.  The architectural design echoes the sustainable agriculture ethos of the restaurant and complements the food and products from local farmers, artisans, distillers, and brewmasters offered at the restaurant. Product list and photos inside. Read the rest of this entry »

Publicity machine: Activate!  Our 2 Sparrows project was featured in Eater Chicago.  Check out the progress here.

Permits are days away from being issued for our cafe project in Traverse City, Michigan.  After finding our work at Filter in Wicker Park, the brewers asked us to design their similarly infrastructured space in cherry country.  We have uncovered the original structure through about seventy years of dirt, grime, and hideous remodels to find beautiful maple floors, yellow masonry, and a tin ceiling!  We’ve also rediscovered the existing window openings in the rear of the space which will give new light and air to the seating area.  The space will operate as a cafe during the day, with locally roasted coffee brewed over a custom designed pour-over stand, and a tavern into the night.  After a building material shopping spree in Chicago we have designed reclaimed pendant light fixtures and barnwood, recycled leather, and salvaged wood windows into the space.  The rest of the design features a refined industrial aesthetic echoing the former sawmills of Traverse City while giving a subtle nod to the City Opera House which still operates upstairs. Photos inside. Read the rest of this entry »

Our new Downtown restaurant has just entered the permitting process at City Hall.  The existing structure has been incorporated into the interior design with exposed masonry wall, sloped concreted ceiling, and sealed concrete floor.  That will be contrasted with reclaimed wood, exposed ductwork, and lighting placement.  Construction is expected to begin in early February. More drawings inside. Read the rest of this entry »

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