Timberline’s New Wy’East Café A Big Hit With Skiers
The project for the new Wy’East Cafe was collaboration between Timberline, Skylab Architecture, JBK Kitchen Consultants, and Lorentz Bruun Construction, all of Portland, Oregon. The design team, led by Donnie Schmidt of Skylab, took inspiration from design features and geometry found in the historic Timberline Lodge. These elements were combined with the appearance and function of a high-traffic food court designed for people on the go. “The idea,” explains Timberline operator Jeff Kohnstamm, “was to speed up the whole process while improving food quality and giving the customer a more personal and dynamic experience.” To achieve a made-to-order food venture, the team realized early on that a completely modernized kitchen was needed. They settled on what is called a “scatter system” organized around an octagonal “servery.”
Customer survey feedback helped in determining the menu. It was designed to provide a variety of healthy, hearty, and convenient meal options catering to active skiers and snowboarders.
Once the design was set, JBK brought on Curtis Restaurant Equipment of Beaverton, Oregon. With the demands of brand new kitchen equipment and specialized lighting, Bruun Construction brought on Christiansen Electrical, also of Portland.
To create a dynamic aesthetic to the restaurant, the design incorporates large photographs taken by Portland climbing legend and professional photographer Boone Speed. These photographs of mountain landscapes and chairlift elements were enlarged and transferred to wood paneling at Forge Graphics in Portland, then assembled on site by Overkill Design and Creation, of Beaverton. The photographs are featured in the restaurant’s seating area within a 130 ft. long display wall which is wrapped in striking geometric designs, again inspired by patterns found throughout the resort.
By widening the door and creating a very inviting entranceway, the new design allowed the space to become a focal ending point, a destination itself, just off the central mall of the Day Lodge. Installing new metal signs, which utilize the original custom font found throughout the Day Lodge, was the finishing touch. Upon completion, the finished product looked great, but was untested. Timberline readied itself for the upcoming ski season. Then, snow fever hit, and Oregonians by the thousands flocked to the ski area to enjoy some of the best holiday ski conditions in years. As the snow piled up outside, the new Wy’East Cafe provided a cozy yet stimulating gathering place and fed the masses in style, and in record time. Good design, and a commitment to quality proved their worth.