Don’t you dare spill on the menus at Frederik de Pue‘s new Shaw restaurant Table. Each one took two to three hours to hand-write.
The seven page notebook-style menus are scrawled in pencil—front and back. Soung Wiser of D.C.-based The General Design Company, which created the menus, says that because the neighborhood vibe of the restaurant, they wanted the menus to help guests feel like they are in the chef’s home. “With that kind of intimacy, we looked at that notebook as more of a diary or journal,” Wiser says.
The idea to hand-write them all in pencil came from de Pue, but it was ultimately graphic designer An Ly who put her penmanship to use. (She didn’t lose a bet; she volunteered.)
The full set of 30 menus took Ly 60 to 75 hours over several days. She did the whole thing late at night while watching the first season of Girls. As for her hand… “I couldn’t even move it for days after that. My veins were just bulging in my hand,” Ly says. Still, she says the end result was worth it.
That’s quite the commitment for a restaurant item that is frequently carried away or spilled all over. “I am curious how long this will last,” Wiser admits. “Running a busy restaurant and maintaining that much hand-craft to it is really challenging.”
If there are changes to the menu (which already there have been), the restaurant staff will erase the dishes and write in the new ones. And the whole menu will change seasonally. The General Design Company has already created different colored notebooks for each season. And Ly says she plans to write them all.
Top photo by Jessica Sidman. Other photos courtesy The General Design Company.