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Charlie Palmer Partners With Bloomingdale's for O.C. Eatery

By Anna Sekula January 23, 2008, 12:33 PM EST

A rendering of the main dining room with a view of its central banquette

Rendering: Courtesy of the CMS Design

Last Wednesday, at his soon-to-relocate restaurant Aureole, Charlie Palmer revealed details of a new venture with Bloomingdale's and its eight-month-old South Coast Plaza location in California. At an open-house press preview, the chef and Bloomingdale's chairman and C.E.O. Michael Gould discussed plans for the 11,000-square-foot space, scheduled to open in early May. Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza, as it is called, will be on the ground floor of the Orange County store (with access to the mall and the street), serve Palmer's New American cuisine, and offer two private rooms in addition to a large main dining area and a bar and lounge.

Architect Chris Smith of CMS Design (who has been busy with plenty of New York projects, including Grayz, Haru in the financial district, and Eighty One) is responsible for the restaurant's interior. Smith's concept includes natural materials and textures such as reclaimed wine barrels used for the flooring and cabinets, carpeting that resembles stone slabs on moss, and leather chair coverings. Natural daylight and clean lines give the design a  modern, rather than rustic, aesthetic.

The focal point of the main dining room will be a central banquette divided into four tables by vibrant orange glass panels. The bar and lounge will be furnished with a walnut-wood-topped bar, midcentury-style chairs, and metal and glass tables. The two private wine rooms will feature adjustable decanting tables. And in addition to wireless eWinebooks—handheld, computerized wine lists—the venue will also include Palmer's wine store, Next Vintage.

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