Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Our first ai3 road trip

Our first ai3 road trip. Some I shared this exciting news with said, "A road trip... to Oxford, Mississippi?" Actually, EVERYONE said that.

But having gone to college in a small college town with a lot of history and charm, and having my wedding in a similar, small Southern town, I found it completely appropriate to be excited. We were going to spend a day talking about design with creative and aspirational Oxfordonians. To stop checking our iPhones and actually slow down... s l o w    d o w n.
Amy "Driver", Lucy "DJ", Dan "Dealer", Kerry "Score-Taker", Chris "Winner"

We were off to a good start when Amy batted those baby blues and got us an upgrade on our rental car from minivan to Pathfinder. Score 1.  With coffee and croissants in hand, we started the journey on I-20. After a traffic detour, rain storms, hours & hours of cards, a car wreck (not ours), and maneuvering John Currence crazy-backroad-shortcuts, we arrived to a beautiful day in Oxford Square, 6+ hours later.

The  purpose of our trip? Boure, the latest Chef John Currence restaurant concept, was a design collaboration between ai3, Chef, and Stefano Capomazza. It opened almost a year ago, and our team had yet to see it's completion. 

Stairwell design shares years of history by maintaining layers of old wallpapers & plaster found during demolition

We also came to help charette ideas for the bar above Chef's first Oxford restaurant, City Grocery. The bar, fondly termed the perfect, dive bar, is what Chef describes as the perfect contrast to the fine dining of City Grocery below.So after our tour of Boure and a few wild stories from Chef, we headed to the dive bar.  We put on some music, pulled together some tables, handed out a few beers (except preggars Kerry), rolled out some trash (sketch paper) and new ideas for the bar started flowing. It was like a well-orchestrated routine and a fun one. John and Stefano were happy, and even wanted to push the concept further! Perfect.  We toasted to a successful day over shrimp & grits at City Grocery and a night cap at Snack Bar before retiring from a very, very long day.

Our "dive bar"
Bacon Bitters... Yes.

Big. Bad Breakfast.  Yes, it is.
It lived up the the hype, and the 2nd morning of our road trip we enjoyed fresh, farm eggs and bacon from the smokehouse in the back... biscuits and gravy (of course). Oh my. What's not to love about this traditional southern food?!?! I wish I could eat this in Atlanta... hmmmm, maybe some day?

Now, the only question is, where should we go next?