When Haidar Barbouti started Up Restaurant, he knew that he wanted to do something special. He knew he wanted to make a restaurant that would stand out, that would have something of its own vibe. The restaurant was to be located in the shopping center that Barbouti owns, Highland Village. While a lot of American restaurants in shopping centers are indoors and rather dark, Barbouti had just spent some time traveling in Europe. He decided that it was a good idea to model his restaurant after the European style, which tends to focus more on open-air designs. His vision was to make Up like a lot of the little restaurants that he’d just visited, which he had really enjoyed.
It was perhaps the perfect place to make his dream come true. The restaurant was put on the third floor, so it already had the potential for a great view. He installed huge windows to capitalize on that view, and he put in the open-air patio so that people could sit and gaze out with an unobstructed view. From so high in the air, the overall feeling was terrific, and it created a wonderful atmosphere that was almost as good as the food itself.
The result is a restaurant that does not feel like it is located in a shopping center at all. A lot of times, these types of places have no choice but to feel dark and enclosed because they are at the hearts of massive buildings. There can’t be any real light with walls and stores all around. By staying on the edges of the building and going up to the third floor, this restaurant stays away from all of that, and it feels like the type of high-caliber establishment that could be found anywhere in the world. It is completely unexpected and it’s been very well received because of it.
By making this restaurant, Barbouti proved that people don’t always have to do the same thing over and over again to be successful. Sometimes, it’s better to go out and do something new and different, pushing the envelop. Is there a risk there? Of course there is.