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The Lexington

Cambridge, MA

Three New Opportunities For Celebrated Local Chef

VISION

When Chef Will Gilson was approached to open not one but three concepts in the innovative Cambridge Crossing mixed-use development, he knew he wanted to avoid the headaches that came with opening his first restaurant, Puritan & Company. RealFood was brought on as a foodservice expert to help transform the allocated back of house square footage into the most functional and efficient space possible. The building is spread across two levels, with cafe Beatrice (a day-to-evening cafe/bakery) and gepetto (an Italian-inspired eatery) downstairs and The Lexington (a restaurant, bar and roofdeck) upstairs. With open kitchen designs, diverse concepts, and physical constraints, the team had to be creative and intentional as they developed the plans.

PROCESS

RealFood came to this project at a point when the building’s core and shell were already finalized. The team had to envision designs that would allow each of the three concepts to operate and feel distinct while also providing shared spaces to create labor savings and waste reduction. To that end, RealFood recommended a full kitchen upstairs to limit the amount of up and down required by staff. Geppetto’s open kitchen fully immerses guests in the theater of the experience, an idea that has since expanded to include a live pasta-making table in the dining room. The team also grew The Lexington’s bar space significantly to make this concept a buzzing hub for happy hour.

  • Financial Development & Validation
  • Foodservice Schematic & Conceptual Design
  • Foodservice Design Development
  • Foodservice Design Specification

OUTCOMES

While The Lexington’s opening was delayed for nearly one year due to COVID-19, and the concepts opened with just takeout and delivery, all three outlets are now fully operational and thriving. The baked goods at cafe Beatrice are so popular that they often sell out! To meet demand and keep things fresh, Chef Gilson even started serving a limited menu of fun snacks and blended cocktails out of a shipping container on the property called Picnic Grove. Each Back of House space is working as intended for the on-site teams and supporting consistent, excellent guest experiences and strong financial performance. Overall, the three concepts are helping activate a part of the city that was previously undervisited.
Photos via Anton Grassl Photography

updated: 2 weeks ago