600 Kitchen & Bar is located in Kalamazoo’s River’s Edge neighborhood within a 1907 gray-iron and steel foundry and was designed to provide an urban dining experience in downtown Kalamazoo while embracing the building’s structure, materiality, and history. A new road to the west of the restaurant defined the edge of the site. The exterior space between the road and the restaurant was reclaimed as an outdoor seating area with views of downtown Kalamazoo.
The open, airy double height space embraces the raw honesty of the exposed brick and steel trusses which are complimented by a new polished, stained concrete floor. Two original crane rails were salvaged further enhancing the connection to its former use. Additionally, the upper level, west facing clerestory windows with glazing bars retained their original crank and wheel operators enhancing authenticity of the space and allows for natural light from three sides of the building. Custom light fixtures and built in banquettes provide diners with a comfortable, intimate dining experience.
The lower level houses the kitchen, bar, and primary dining area. In keeping with the farm-to-table dining movement and its connection to the environment, reclaimed wood was used to add warmth to the original brick and metal building. The kitchen area extends beyond the line of the mezzanine and is roofed with corrugated galvanized steel similar to some of the original products produced by the foundry. A new entry vestibule was designed with glass and black metal connecting modern facility needs and conveniences with the character of foundry.
The mezzanine level is connected by a staircase which was designed with metal supports that mimic the existing steel columns and was angled to allow guests to exit the stairs facing the built-in, reclaimed wood, wine display case while also providing ample space for wait-staff to retrieve orders from the kitchen. Cable-railing was used on the open side of the mezzanine continuing the use of metal in the space without impeding the views of the lower level. Additionally, the mezzanine dining area’s large windows provide dramatic views for the diners and ample natural light for the cozy setting.