In our previous mention of two exquisite jewels in downtown Berkeley, I spoke of Cafe Clem as we focused on its sister restaurant, La Note. Today, we revisit Cafe Clem where noise was a blatantly negative factor for older patrons.
Situated near UC Berkeley and a local high school, Cafe Clem is a beehive for young students, especially at lunchtime. Need I say more about the buzzing you can imagine in this cozy little spot?
As I arrived at the site, I heard an older couple comment to one another on their experience dining at the cafe. As I eavesdropped, the woman exclaimed, “What great food they have— Nice place…noisy but nice”. As I stepped foot into establishment, I could immediately tell that what challenged this small space was the concrete floors and ceilings.
WCD solved the problem with a 2″ inch thick black PolySorpt panel product; And what is unique about this product, might you ask? It’s not fabric. It actually a non-fibrous sound absorbing panel that can be used in a wide variety of indoors or outdoors environments to reduce ambient noise levels and excessive reverberation. In addition, it is easy to clean and is successfully applied in kitchens as they can be hosed down for cleaning. They effectively absorb sound, are lightweight and simply a cinch to install. They can be glued directly to any ceiling surface or installed onto ceiling grid systems. These acoustical tiles are offered in a standard flat surface pattern or a more decorative designer style depending on your taste and ultimately gives you aesthetic options for your sound treatment.
As you can see above, elegantly direct solutions can save you the time, money, headaches and most importantly, customers. Now the number of buzzing youngsters hasn’t changed, but if you had been to Cafe Clem before its transformation, you’ll hear, or not hear, a world of difference.
If you’ve ever wandered about the iconic city of Berkeley, there are two jewels nestled in the heart of this diverse community. What Café Clem and La Note bring to downtown Berkeley is homely French cooking that feels near and dear to anybody who has tried anything on their menus. Café Clem draws you in if you’re on the prowl for tea, coffee and sandwiches, while La Note fulfills that hankering for an impeccable brunch experience. Although each gem, truly a treasure, they too, were not exempt from the cacophony of poor sound acoustics. Owner Dorothée and I collaborated to bring her two restaurants to further perfection—and that was to rid customers of hindered conversations.
We worked quickly and the day after installations, I received this zealous email from Dorothée:
From: la note [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 3:13 PM
To: Connie Norlander – WCD
Subject: Re: La Note & Cafe Clem panels
Omg!!! This is fantastic! I felt like we had no customers all day and we were full! Really great work and such a nice crew you have that installed them too!
At the Café Clem it is really helpful too!
Below is the results from La Note she was so pleased about! Next post, we’ll cover more in detail about its sister cafe!
Today, we’re revisiting one of my previous clients, Lynn Gorfinkle, whom I had the pleasure of working with previously at the Artesan Roam Burgers location on Union street in San Francisco. This location was so successful, and might I interject, their phenomenal gourmet burgers are to die for, that Lynn opened up a second one on Fillmore street. Upon the first week or so of opening, she knew exactly what demon she was up against; And that was the sound issue once again. Absolutely delighted with the installation I did there, Lynn did not hesitate to book me for another round of installations. Again, we quickly defeated the din and the hubbub and the results were immediate.
Some time ago, I met with Alexa Sol, owner of Palo Alto Sol on California Avenue in beautiful Palo Alto. Like every small business case we’ve encountered, the noise was just too much to bear for patrons as well as employees. After a short consultation, I quickly came to a plan of attack for this charming Mexican restaurant, while also considering the ceiling space and sprinklers.
To my pleasure, Alexa became one of my many satisfied customers. She quickly shot over with a testimonial email ready for action with her father’s restaurant, Vive Sol.
Hope you are doing well. I just wanted to let you know that my father is very happy with his panels and how the restaurant looks with them. I was wondering when we could meet up again to discuss what we can do for Vive Sol.
Thanks again for all your help and your team, I look forward to hearing from you soon.
With the variety of cuisines Palo Alto has to offer, PA Sol is one of the few Latin restaurants in the area. With exceptional food with now a sound atmosphere to enjoy, let Alexa know that Connie of WCD sent you!
Although Gioia Pizzeria in San Francisco has some of the best pizzas the city has to offer, the establishment was not an exception from restaurant clamor we so often unfortunately encounter. After minimal number of visits with the manager and consulting with an acoustical engineer at Charles Salter Associates, we effortlessly created an method of installation to not only meet the budget, but also pull the plug on the sound issues.
I make it customary to drop in from time to time after my clients’ restaurant transformations, so I stopped by several weeks later and a Gioia employee proudly exclaimed, “We haven’t had one complaint about the noise since your panels were installed!”
CLISPO SEAMLESS CEILING:
If you’ve got hankering from some good old Italian Pizza, head over to Polk Street in San Francisco and take a gander at the seamless solution we’ve come up with!
Sprouting from the freshly tilled restaurant soil of the ever-populating San Carlos is Limone , a curiously spacious Italian Café that made a stellar debut this summer; Its sister restaurant is Locanda Positano, another very hot dining spot within arm’s reach. Following its predecessor, but with a more casual spinoff, Limone offers its patrons and nearby residents a “quieter and more sophisticated space” with private dining rooms for events. Patio and indoor seating are also available for the walk-ins.
Featured today is our highly acclaimed Jaimie Belew who designed the aforementioned private, but very highly demanded dining rooms. Belew cleverly combined WCD’s acoustics with a striking flair yet radiating warmth to the decor and accents.
What Limone boasts is its daily yet magical transition at 3PM when a section of the café is metamorphosed into a champagne lounge, serving effervescent goodness ranging from $8-$20 a pop, or at $32 starting price per bottle. For your next holiday party, festive celebration or even meeting, keep Limone in mind to plan the next best occasion of the year, complete with a special menu!
It’s a curious thing when one speaks of San Carlos and how a flock of restaurateurs have turned a two-mile stretch into a fine medley of restaurants. With immense growth in restaurant business compared to the rest of the Bay Area, this downtown neighboorhood had gone through an ambitious gentrification a few years ago. As a result, many new restaurants have sprung up all over town like flowers after an April shower; Ever since, there has a been an incessant increase of patrons pouring into San Carlos for a bite.
If you are a newcomer to this neck of the woods on the peninsula, you’ll find San Carlos to be a charming little city, conveniently situated between San Francisco and Palo Alto. It is characterized by a strong community and its businesses thrive with many loyal locals. Yours truly, WCD, also proudly calls San Carlos its home and lately, we’ve noticed that our phones haven’t stopped ringing as many business owners are inquiring about our services. Perhaps its the buzz on the street about our collaboration with numerous restaurateurs, but whatever the reason, we call this the Laurel Street Phenomenon. More restaurants in this area have addressed their acoustic issues or are in the process of doing so as we speak and the demand is continuously skyrocketing.
Reflecting upon the new friends we’ve discovered along the way, listed below is a handful of their fine establishments on Laurel Street with our installations in progress, if not already completed:
And what have we done with these hot spots? We simply kept them lively while eliminating the debilitating effects of excessive noise on patrons as well as employees. Over several great years of providing the Bay Area with affordable solutions, I have found that most restaurateurs equate the use of acoustic panels to compromising the liveliness of their restaurants. However, every business we have improved in aesthetically subtle ways has proven this notion false. For such a sacrifice to ensue, a business would have to “soften” up over 60% percent of the surface area within a space. Logistically, this would never be the solution nor focus. The aim is not to isolate noise in the way a sound studio does— we directly target customer and employee safety by eliminating the unpleasant decibels. The solution is only as little as 20% to 40% of acoustical product to ceiling or wall space that can make a world of difference in dining experience.
In celebration of our success at WCD, we encourage you to come by and visit our clients. Here in San Carlos, you can take an epicurean trip around the world and enjoy exceptional cuisine with refined ambiances accentuated by our acoustic installations. Let them know that WCD sent you there! Bon appétit!
In the heart of an epicurean oasis in San Carlos, the owner of Mythos, Ed Khachaturian, first called me about a year ago. He inquired about our acoustical panels and his options; however, the economy was in a dip and the thought of spending additional money on top of basic, everyday expenses necessary to run a business was a daunting risk—for any restaurateur. Almost a year had passed since the day he had contacted me, and again, we came in for a second look. Ed retold the horrors of an outraged and unsatisfied customer who leapt out of his chair, exclaiming his distate over the absurd noise level. In such illustrative protest, he left our Mythos owner with “What were you thinking when you built this place?!”
For Ed, now was the perfect time to boldly go forth and hastily make the change as the economy was showing positive signs of recovery with the increase in patrons. Last week, WCD installed a colorful medley of panels in the main dining room, which tastefully complimented the clean lines within the restaurant. Soon, two more panels will be added to the smaller dining room within the ceiling coffer.
After phase one came to in end, I was immediately back working closely alongside my client, meticulously planning our next attack. As we paced between both rooms (the completed dining room and the untreated small dining room), the difference the installed panels made in noise reduction was obvious. What was once a breeding ground of discord metamorphosed into an enjoyable environment for both staff and customers.
Mythos is only one of the many examples WCD has helped to make over. Following closely in our next post, we will be reflecting on the many businesses in San Carlos that has experienced the astouding differences our customizable excellence in acoustics has made. Stay tuned!
Portola Valley boasts some of the most beautiful Redwoods and nestled in a forest of majestic trees, is Parkside Grille. This restaurant is a jewel, a one of a kind tucked away under the coastal foothills of the small town of Portola Valley. It proudly offers indoor and outdoor seating areas, both comfortably large, as well as two private dining rooms.
As a local resident of the area, we frequent this restaurant, usually amongst friends and family in a group that often ranges from 6 to 12 in headcount. With such large groups, we take over the dining room with the large long table. In retrospect, my first couple of experiences in this room was tiring. As the room filled with our friends, so did the simultaneous conversations which turned into a disorganized ruckus of clamor and unpleasant decibels.
A special date was arriving soon and we’d requested the private room again. This time, however, I pleaded with Bill Petkopoulos , the owner, to address the noise issue and proposed a test in the same room for a single evening. Without hesitation, Bill consented to the experiment. Upon the morning of the event, I sent a two-man crew up to install just four panels on the ceiling. With just a couple hundred for labor and 799 dollars worth of material, less than a quick morning’s worth of time transformed Bill’s echo chamber into the perfect venue that would memorably enhance the dining experiment for all future patrons to come. As a result, my dinner plans with my large party was amazing, comfortable and free of straining voices and ears.
This evening at Parkside Grille began with three small children in the room, a visiting doberman and 15 adults. We had a spectacular and relaxing evening, which consisted of great food paired with fabulous wine. Naturally, lots of laughs followed. Unlike any of our previous visits, the biggest difference I noticed was that at the end of dinner, the room did not hastily clear in aversion to an evening of unfavorable noise. This time, our group wasn’t exhausted from the challenges of yelling and lip reading throughout dinner. All of us proceeded with lively spirits and took our sweet time to order desert with coffee, chatting comfortably into the night. The consensus? We’ll soon visit for another wonderful evening, back to our special room where we will be continuing to weave more joyous memories in great company and ambiance.
If you haven’t dropped by downtown Pinole, it is quite a treat—the welcoming area certainly has much to offer for its locals and visitors. And nestled downtown is Pear Street Bistro, a long-time icon owned by Gary Wong. Gary has always been aware of his loud bar area, but unfortunately, did not know where to turn to for help. If it weren’t for his cousin who hosted our live demo at his Ace Wasabi Rock N’ Roll Sushi restaurant, Pear Street Bistro wouldn’t have been able to effectively put the noise to rest with cost-efficiency and ease. Below, we’ve included his comments and thoughts on our installation.
It turned out great! The product was a little lighter than the original ceiling color but nonetheless it WORKS…lets allow this to settle in before and see if the main dining room can also benefit from it! Your installer’s were fantastic, Great job!!!!!