caffe DeLuca

Type: Restaurant
Location: Forest Park, Illinois

Size: 5750 SQ FT
Completion: 2005

Once a one-story shoe repair retail outlet, this Forest Park retail outlet has become a bi-leveled sister location of Bucktown’s Euro-chic Caffe De Luca.

By expanding the space to include two levels, Brent Widler and a team of architects were able to give Caffe De Luca’s owner several uses at one address. The first floor now includes a curved bar running the length of the space, a main dining area, and French doors that lead to an outdoor seating area. The second floor holds an extended dining room, a party room, and a two-seat balcony that overlooks downtown Forest Park.

In addition to the functionality of the space, aesthetics played a crucial role in this design. Faux cobblestone flooring, walls clad in brick, and hinged overhead street lamps give diners the feel of a street espresso bar in ancient Italy. Materials are visually complemented by red hues and crumbling walls, suggesting an abandoned post-war café rediscovered and brought back to life. Today, visitors gather at Caffe De Luca for its menu selection and Old World ambiance.

Brent Widler – Project Architect / Designer for TKA Partners