It’s been almost 2 years since Ryan Durkin moved his mid-century modern furniture showroom into the iconic Paris Laundry building at Indian School Road and 7th Avenue.
With any luck, he’ll open a new restaurant concept before summer, and it should include some high brow local talent, (Corona Virus notwithstanding.)
According to Durkin, Blaise Faber will be joining the mix.
Faber curated the drink menu at Chris Bianco’s posh Tratto Italian Restaurant in Arcadia.
“If you were to ask anyone in the bar scene who is the best bartender in town, Blaise is the guy, like one of three,” Durkin said.
Tratto was named Best of the Valley by Phoenix Magazine in 2019.
Durkin was careful not to divulge many details, or to hint at a hard-open date, but said Melrose can expect the unexpected.
“Modern southwest is what I’ve been told,” he said with a laugh. “But whatever you’re thinking, it’s not that.”
Durkin and his capital partner purchased, re-purposed, and retrofitted the vacant dry-cleaners in 2018.
The move was welcomed by many in the neighborhood, as the 1950’s structure, with pronounced googie-style arches sat vacant and risked inviting a demolition order.
Though Durkin originally hoped a sandwhich cafe and a cocktail lounge would complement the showroom, the concept evolved to include a sit-down restaurant.
He said Friday that it will still include a revolving menu, so furniture browsers can get something to eat when the store opens at 9. a.m.
Modern Manor held a “sneak peak art show” in September 2018 that served as a kind of soft-open of the furniture showroom.
Hundreds of people came.
“We thought the restaurant would just, you know, be a couple of months behind,” he said. “Here we are a year-and-a-half later and the restaurant still isn’t open.”
Durkin said the delay was due to planning complications and permitting red tape.
“I don’t want people to think (the delay) was a money thing,” he said emphatically. “Modern Manor is doing great!”
Durkin said he originally worked with Melrose’s own 180 Degree Architects (S.W. corner 7th and Camelback) but had to seek out a firm that specifically designs restaurants.
“180 Degrees were great,” he said. “But they just don’t do restaurants.”
Durkin declined to identify the firm he used next, but said he wished he’d taken 180 Degrees’ recommendation.
“We’re very organic in the sense that when we walk into a room and we can visualize it in our heads,” he explained. “It took (the other firm) an entire year just to get us plans to submit to the City.”
Nonetheless, Durkin said he expects construction will finish in the next month or so, and then it may be another month to work out the kinks and train the staff.
“There’s just endless amounts of red tape,” he said, laughing again, “so many rules you don’t know about.”
Durkin reported that the walk-in freezer and oven hood – all major commercial kitchen appliances – have been installed.
He said tile is underway.
When asked what the neighborhood might do to help, Durkin responded, “Just keep being patient with us, please.”