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Ashen also designed the first Urban Farmer in Portland several years ago, but this one will be different. The process has been much easier, because they’ve been able to spend far more time enhancing than creating, says Karpinski.

“Yeah, but there’s also pressure,” Ashen responds. “We knew what the DNA was, but this restaurant is different. In Portland, there’s an atrium, and here it’s a contained space. This was more challenging. We have different ceiling heights and different rooms. We’re not just taking stuff we did in Portland and dropping it here. Everything has to be relevant for Cleveland.”

Which brings us back to the story of our happily married couple from two different worlds.

“It can’t be a kitsch representation,” Ashen explains. “I want to be specific to Peter’s narrative. It has to be what’s unique to Ohio. That’s the foundation. It has to have the texture of older buildings, with things painted, but maybe worn a little—yet still have an industrial vernacular.”

That foundation—the design plan—has been laid. Judging by the March 26, 2012 date on the design development presentation, it has been for quite a while.

“We’re done, basically,” Karpinski says of the design process. “After this visit, we’re pretty much locked in. Changes become harder, more expensive, time consuming and inefficient.”

Ashen, Cullen or someone from Dash Design will continue to visit every month to check the progress, while the finishing materials are ordered, tested and modified until the final two months when the bulk of the décor is installed.

Karpinski will continue to follow the progress as well, but he’s also got to oversee the branding and marketing sides of the project, as well as the food and operations. There’s still a lot to be done before Urban Farmer Cleveland opens its doors this spring.

Follow the series online at www.restaurant-hospitality.com/urban-farmer-undercover as Karpinski and Sage Restaurant Group allow us an inside look at what goes into opening one of their restaurants. Next up: Photo Gallery/A peek inside the building.