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A fusion of food and furniture

 2 January 2018     Michael J. Knell 

TORONTO – RH, the high-end furniture and furnishings retailer formerly known as Restoration Hardware, has opened The Gallery at Yorkdale, offering a store concept that’s certainly unique in this country with its fusions of luxury furniture and furnishings, design services with seamlessly integrated culinary offerings on par with that savoured in any resort favoured by the rich and famous.

The new centrepiece of this city’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, RH Toronto covers four levels and almost 70,000 square feet of both interior and exterior display space. The publicly-held retailer said the space features what it describes as “artistic installations of home furnishings in a gallery setting.”

Entire floors are dedicated to three of the retailer’s merchandising strategies: RH Interiors, RH Modern and RH Outdoor (not included are RH Baby & Child and RH Teen). RH Toronto will feature an interactive Design Atelier, offering professional interior design services in a studio environment.

A view of the sales floor at RH Toronto, featuring a smattering of the product assortment offered in its RH Modern catalogue.But the real differentiating factor is the incorporation of RH Hospitality, which is led by celebrated restauranteur Brendan Sodikoff and includes the RH Courtyard Café and the Barista Bar.

“The vision for our new design galleries has been to blur the lines between residential and retail, and create spaces that are more home than store. The next logical step was to further blur the lines between home and hospitality, with an integrated restaurant, wine and coffee bar,” Gary Friedman, chairman and chief executive officer of the Corte Madera, California-based RH, said in a statement.

“What we are doing goes far beyond attaching a restaurant onto a store – that’s been done before,” he continued, adding, “What’s unique is we’ve created a completely integrated hospitality experience, led by famed Chicago restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff, that reflects our taste, style and point of view. We’re proud to bring this first-of-its-kind concept to Toronto, one of the most metropolitan cities in the world.”

Sodikoff is the founder, CEO and creative director of Hogsalt Hospitality, a rapidly growing Chicago-based restaurant group spanning 14 concepts and 15 locations. Hogsalt’s portfolio includes such well-known establishments as Au Cheval, Bavette’s, Doughnut Vault, and Gilt Bar in Chicago, as well as his first restaurant in New York – 4 Charles Prime Rib – an intimate supper club in the West Village.

Sodikoff has been named one of Chicago Magazine’s ‘100 Most Powerful People in Chicago’ and one of Crain’s ‘40 Under 40’. He has also been recognized by Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and the Food Network, among others.

“I've felt a connection to Toronto for years. It’s a city of innovation and inspiration. I’m excited to join Toronto’s vibrant restaurant culture and look forward to spending more time there with the opening of RH,” Sodikoff said.

RH Toronto marks Friedman’s ongoing collaboration with the California-based design architect James Gillam of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger, a firm recognized as one of Architectural Digest’s Top 100 architect and design firms in the world.

Conceptualised as a grand-scale contemporary structure filled with fresh air and natural light, RH Toronto features an expanse of glass-and-steel French doors that open onto a streetscape with Boston ivy, geometric topiaries and towering trees rising out of a continuous boxwood hedge.

The gallery’s eastern entrance can be found inside Yorkdale Shopping Centre and features a terraced façade of Venetian plaster and a lush interior courtyard flanked by open-air loggias serving as the central location for the gallery’s hospitality experience, the Courtyard Café. Here, shoppers – or as RH calls them, guests – can sit beneath heritage olive trees and a 140-foot-wide skylight that washes the entire space with natural light while they enjoy a seasonal, ingredient-driven menu accompanied by a curated selection of artisanal wines and craft beers. This all-seasons oasis features elegant banquette seating layered with green velvet boxwood hedging, cascading English ivy, trickling fountains, glimmering lanterns and 19th century Rococo crystal chandeliers.

Click here for the rest of ‘A fusion of food and furniture’ in the current HGO Merchandiser.

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This HGO article was written by:
Michael J. Knell
Michael J. Knell

Michael is the publisher and editor of Home Goods Online. A seasoned business journalist, he has researched and written about the furniture, mattress and major appliance industries in both Canada and the United States for the past three decades.

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Home Goods and its accompanying newsletter - HGO This Week - covers the furniture, bedding, appliances, consumer electronics, accessories, lamps and lighting and floor coverings product sectors of the big ticket home goods market in Canada. HGO is also a forum for the dissemination of market research and hard-hitting articles on best practices for Canadian retailers.

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