This has to be one of Westchester’s most eclectic rooms. On the left, the space is stacked high with crumbling brick, as if it’s the exterior of some long-forgotten building that’s fallen into disrepair. Gray branches stretch across the ceiling, lit by LED lights. A glowing moose head is mounted above poured concrete floors inlaid with craggy shards of red glass. It sounds like a modern-art installation, but it’s actually LITTLE big BITES Burger Bistro.
“I want someone to say I’ve never seen this before,” says owner and interior designer Fred Mastroianni, who opened the modern burger joint in a Thornwood strip mall last June. Mastroianni isn’t alone: Increasingly, new openings in the county have come with an eye toward unique design elements.
At LBBBB, Mastroianni mixed rustic elements and pops of red (“When I think of burgers, I always see the color red,” he says) with an emphasis on sustainability. The branches were sourced from a farm in Pennsylvania; the brick was reclaimed from 100-year-old buildings; tables are made from real maple wood; burgers are served on rough-hewn rounds of wood, showing their natural grain. At the same time, the entire space is LED; the counters are colored pressed glass; and the gender-neutral bathrooms are completely automatic.
“I like contradictory design aesthetics,” explains Mastroianni. “It has an earthiness to it, yet it’s really high-tech and modern in the way it’s presented.”
At Mediterraneo in White Plains, owner Ramze Zakka wanted a design that would be harmonious with the seafood restaurant’s existing, nautically inspired Connecticut locations. “The building was very intriguing,” says Zakka. “It’s basically all glass and concrete. [I wanted to] take its best features and amplify them.”
Neutral colors let the building’s unique architecture shine at Mediterraneo
To do just that, Zakka hired designer Fadi Riscala. “We were hoping to help evolve the concept and make it modern,” explains Riscala. “It is nautically driven, but we avoid having it be too theatrical.” Subtle choices like round interior windows and round light fixtures evoke portholes of a ship, while stripes in the flooring also give a nod to nautical. The color palette was kept neutral, with one exception: a mural in shades of blue along the back wall, which gives the impression of water from the outside. “We inherited this great building,” says Zakka. “It’s really a unique space.”
In Ossining, 3 Westerly Bar & Grill is taking nautical in a new direction. “My favorite artist growing up was M.C. Escher,” says owner Jeremy Casilli, who enlisted a Manhattan design firm to create a nautical gastropub. “I said, ‘Design me something that feels as if M.C. Escher owned a vessel and designed it.’”
Tiling throughout the space keeps to Escher’s preferred black-and-white aesthetic, while an intricate geometric pattern on the pizza bar mimics the artist’s mathematically inspired designs. Statement lighting, including hanging coils of marine rope fitted with steampunk bulbs, contributes to the nautical vibe. The hammered brass bar with a wood-casement overlay was inspired by English sailboats but was also envisioned to have a timeless feel. “I didn’t want it to be a contrived concept,” explains Casilli. “I wanted it to feel like an old lighthouse, but not to the point that it was cliché.”
Still, the most important part of 3 Westerly’s design is the large windows overlooking the Hudson River. A 100-person terrace also offers diners a way to experience the waterfront. “It’s the backdrop of the restaurant,” says Casilli. “You have ships going by. It’s constantly changing.”
The interior of LBBBB
For Hastings-on-Hudson residents Jennifer Aaronson and Paul Molakides, opening Boro6 Wine Bar was about creating a stylish, comfortable place for their neighbors to come together. Inspired by the food they ate while traveling, the couple created a restaurant with European flair but without a specific ethnicity. “We wanted it to feel like you could be anywhere,” says Molakides.
To bring that convivial, warm atmosphere to life, the couple based the layout around a 22-seat U-shaped marble bar in the center of the room. “We wanted it to be a place where people come together,” explains Aaronson. “The idea behind the bar was that people were gathering around and talking to the people next to them.” Large windows overlooking downtown Hastings bring the town into the space, while an accent wall featuring navy wallpaper with a swirling pattern of brass jellyfish gives the space a whimsical backdrop.
Inspired by their recent revamp of their home kitchen (contractor Brendan Dunleavy oversaw both projects), Aaronson and Molakides peppered Boro6 with unique objects — like a black Bavarian cuckoo clock — to give the space a quirky, homey feel. “If you look around, there are a lot of these funny little pieces, whether it’s a little brass pitcher or antique glass egg cups hidden behind some wine glasses,” says Molakides. “We don’t have artwork, but these little things add to the charm of the place.”