James Beard award-nominated Chef Jonathan Justus and his wife Camille Eklof hired Generator Studio to design their second, highly anticipated restaurant in Missouri. Located just south of the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Black Dirt is a modern American restaurant and bar. The “farm-to-table, nose-to-tail” approach made famous at Justus Drugstore was reinterpreted in the new restaurant concept, with a heavy emphasis on the nutrient rich soil -the Black Dirt- that cultivates many of the crops grown in the Midwest.
Building on the menu’s blend of “modern takes on classic dishes and a few straight up comfort favorites,” the design is a blend of classic and contemporary elements that were inspired by or derived from nature, delivered with a twist. The space unveils itself in small bites, starting at the curb, moving through the blackened reclaimed barn wood vestibule, into the custom laser cut entry screen, and then out into the bar and dining areas. A primary goal of the project was ensuring there is no bad seat in the house, accomplished via a series of smaller dining rooms that spill out into the bar and main dining room.
A blend of natural, classic and modern materials comprises the interior palette, further emphasizing the regional ingredients both in the food and the dining experience. Wood is a common theme in every space, but is used in several different ways to create a comprehensive and complimentary experience. Touches of plaster, florals, and metal accents can be found. Multiple lighting types are used throughout to enhance the dining experience. And of course, the tree. But we can’t tell you about that just yet.
The restaurant summarizes the approach to this space, and the food, best: No compromise, no jargon.
Be sure to check back once the restaurant is open to the public for additional photos!