Dutch East Design Brings Chef Melissa Kelly’s Italian Heritage Full Circle for a Restaurant at the JW Marriott Orlando
When the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes offered two-time James Beard award-winning chef Melissa Kelly the chance to follow up her blockbuster Primo restaurant in Maine with a second, southern location, there was one thing she wouldn’t change: her farm-to-table philosophy. Everything else about the 7,800-square-foot space would be utterly transformed, under the careful hands of Dutch East Design, into a tribute to her Italian roots.
“Our design brings forth the hand quality of the land, and the celebration of the Italian courtyard,” says Dutch East Design cofounder Larah Moravek, of the 215-seat restaurant and 50-seat terrace. The team conceived a layout of dining salons connected by archways and brick thresholds. “The interior envelope uses sculptural gestures of undulating Terracotta brick, earthenware, and ceramics,” Moravek says, “all carried out with a chic, artisanal sensibility.”
Custom collections of casegoods, lighting, and seating furnish the dining areas. Out on the terrace, guests dine among a new trellis and herb planter boxes beneath flowering plants—visual apertivo for the main event, a farm almost as big, and certainly as important, as the restaurant interiors themselves.
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