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The entire project is still on course for a late April opening, and there are more than 100 workers throughout the building trying to seal off the exterior before winter officially arrives.

The interior designed by Ashen will feature organic, reclaimed and modern materials throughout the 7,000-square-foot-space, and those details are now being discussed.



“This bar chair is really important,” Karpinski stresses. “We’ve been talking about this for two years. Is there a really cool one we could buy off the shelf? But who’d make it at bar height? Do we have to make it custom?”

Cullen has just sheepishly pulled out the prototype she had shipped to Cleveland. Clearly, she wasn’t thrilled about the end result, but Karpinski is straight to the point. “That’s horrible,” he says. “The one in the picture looks better than this. The back is terrible.”

“It was made in two days and they used the wrong scale,” Ashen theorizes about the very tall chair. “It looks like it was made for a giant.”



The conversation sounds serious, but this process is like my previous experiences with the restaurant and corporate team: detailed, but loose; serious, yet fun.

They move on to discuss an opening between two columns they had planned to cover with art, but after walking the space earlier this morning, they decide to keep open the views to the kitchen. When talk turns to the private dining room, the farmer’s wife is brought up. Of course she’s a world traveler and has even come home from Asia with souvenirs, which is why Cullen is shopping for oriental rugs. “Buy a bunch,” Karpinski says, “and we can mix and match. This will make the spacer richer and more complex.”

Cullen turns through all 40 pages of the design plan and the trio explores and updates the progress and plan for every inch of the restaurant.

“When does it get warm here?” Karpinski asks me as they move outside the restaurant. He decides they ought to have heaters ready for the patio since April and May in Cleveland can range from 30 to 80 degrees. “Add that to the list.”

Talk shifts to the massive Urban Farmer sign that will run vertically up the building. Karpinski boasts it will be 39 feet tall. “Thirty-nine feet?” Cullen asks.

“No one will miss it,” says Karpinski, adding that he’s never been pleased with the size of the signs at his past restaurants. “Not robust enough. For this one, everyone has said, ‘Karpinski, if this doesn’t work for you, go talk to a counselor.’”