Hook & Master - Philadelphia, PA Commercial Design

Hook & Master

Philadelphia, PA

Chef Jose Garces, a Chicago native, wanted to update a corner pizza joint and feature different pizza styles, including Chicago and Brooklyn pies. The MDG team jumped at the chance to help him out. When an Iron Chef asks you to create a “pizza tiki corner bar”, it’s time to put on your creative concept hat and think outside the pizza box.

Through an extensive brainstorming process, we landed on 5 key concepts: Italy, the coastline, water, octopus and tikis. Our initial presentation featured a large octopus-themed mural to adorn the exterior of this non-descript building in the up-and-coming artsy neighborhood of Old Kensington in Philadelphia. Chef Jose loved the idea and created his appetizer menu with this theme in mind featuring fresh octopus and seafood.

With a nod to Bill Murray (also a Chicago native) and his character in Wes Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic”, we married the dark corner bar feeling of the building with the details of a steampunk ship, incorporating pendant light fixtures above the main bar – salvaged from an old steam ship – and retro bar stools that recall your favorite seafood restaurant growing up. Deep sea oddities grace the upper walls and the bathrooms too.

We also slightly reconfigured the main bar to accommodate a hostess stand, a take-out window, and a centered marquee with a customized shell sculpture created by the MDG team.

We then added a graphic mural that pulls you to the back of the small restaurant and draws you upstairs to the tiki bar and lounge. A narrow “row home” footprint was maximized with banquette seating and visually elevated with bold patterns, colors and textures. The black backdrop ties the first-floor “dive bar” aesthetic together with the upstairs “club” vibe. A buoy chandelier, tiki bar backdrop, and various pieces of art adorning the spaces were also creations of the MDG staff.

We’d like to believe the décor is what sets this restaurant apart, but of course, the culinary talent of Chef Garces truly takes center stage. Hook & Master has been making the top pizza and restaurant lists in Philly since opening in the fall of 2021.