Snack Bar


Minneapolis, MN


There is a lot that goes into transforming an old warehouse into a fine dining establishment, which is the story behind Snack Bar, and furniture choice plays a key role. Deep red leather booths and rich woodwork sets the scene for an elegant, upscale dining experience at Isaac Becker and Nancy St. Pierre’s restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The name Snack Bar comes from the original concept, which was to serve drinks and small plates to the people waiting for a table at Becker’s other very popular establishment, Bar Lagrassa. Both restaurants are located in the same warehouse building, and it didn’t take long for Snack Bar to become a popular dining location in its own right. Now people line up for hours to get an opportunity to eat at either restaurant.

Having teamed up with Boelter to design and source his other restaurants, it was natural for Becker to turn to the Boelter team again for Snack Bar. Boelter’s team brought their experience in the foodservice industry to play in consulting and sourcing the furniture for Snack Bar’s front of house experience.

Designed primarily to be a date-night restaurant, Snack Bar creates an intimate atmosphere with cozy, two-person booths that curve to match the round tables lining the bar area. The red leather booths continue in the other seating area, this time lining up against square tables. Across from the booth, bentwood chairs bring a nostalgic feel to the restaurant, harkening back to the jazz bars and supper clubs of the 1920s.


Booths: Making a Statement

Upon entering the restaurant, the red leather immediately stands out to diners at Snack Bar. Not only does the dark color provide just the right ambiance for the restaurant, the leather adds an extra level of luxury. “We coached the operators into using leather instead of the Naugahyde type vinyl common to foodservice for a variety of reasons,” says Bill Ziegler, director contract & design, Boelter. “Real leather has a warmth to it that you don’t get with vinyl, and as it ages it adds character rather than looking old and worn out.”

The choice of leather not only provides a rich look to the restaurant, but it also lasts longer than vinyl. Ziegler chose a product treated with Krypton which helps protect the leather from spills and stains.

One thing that guests won’t notice but was also a conscious decision on the part of Boelter’s design team – buttonless tufts. “Buttons on booths are a two-piece item, and the top tends to pop off through the normal wear of a restaurant,” Ziegler says. “Choosing to use all sewn tufting keeps from having to worry about missing buttons and a rag tag look overtime.”


Designing in Flexibility

While most of the dining area of Snack Bar is set up for two-person dining, Ziegler made sure there was some flexibility to accommodate groups as well. The booths, tables and bentwood chairs are set up for couples or groups of four, but the tables can be arranged end to end to seat a party of ten. The resulting flexibility came after careful attention to the dimensions of the room, the size of the tables, and even the pitch of the booth.

“There wasn’t quite enough room to arrange the tables and chairs in this area with the normal pitch of a booth, so we changed the back to sit just a few degrees straighter,” Ziegler says. That minor difference freed up a few inches, which allowed the space necessary to move the tables around.

Efficiency in Sourcing

Boelter worked with a custom furniture manufacturer to source and coordinate all the furnishings for Snack Bar. Ziegler worked with them to find frames for the chairs and bar stools from other manufacturers, then had them brought in to be stained to match the other furniture. Using just one manufacturer not only helps in coordinating all the pieces that go into the overall design, but also brings added efficiency to the installation process.

From consulting with the client on colors, types of material and style to understanding the ins and outs of construction and design, Boelter’s long history of work within the foodservice industry helps make the company a great partner in front of house projects and furnishings.

Learn more about Bill Ziegler and his extensive project portfolio.

Read more about our furniture capabilities.

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