Griffins' Steakhouse Extraordinarie, Stockholm
At first glance, Griffins' is just another classic restaurant in the American steakhouse tradition. But when you look closer, it becomes apparent that your imaginary hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Griffins, are not your average restaurateurs, nor your average couple...
Our client had signed a contract on a restaurant location in a prestigious new building in Stockholm, adjacent to the central train station. The location was great - in theory. But the building was intended for offices, not restaurants - the ceilings were low and the spaces were small and boxy. The area was busy, granted, but it was busy with people hurrying to get somewhere else, away from the grey forbidding buildings, the din of the railway station and the thoroughfare, and after evening rush hour the streets were deserted. In addition there were rules prohibiting signage on the building frontages, making it hard for a restaurant to advertise its presence to passers-by.
There were no restaurants, no bars, no nightlife of any kind in the neighbourhood. It was a place dominated by traffic, not people, and by business, not fun. Yet the owners wanted a restaurant capable of attracting both locals and tourists, large parties as well as intimate couples, businessmen and thirty happy-hour guests. If ever there was a location that needed a strong concept to help it along, this was it.
We wanted to add warmth, personality and humour to a cold, uninviting building, and by extension, to the entire area. We made a virtue of the necessity of the dull exterior, and used it to create a contrast with the opulent interior, providing a moment of surprise that was sure to make an impression. In the absence of a fascinating local story or heritage, we created the imaginary host couple, the Griffins, and let their unusual interests and personalities shape the interior.
The Griffins are an odd couple - definitiely more than the sum of their parts. Mrs Griffins is an ex-ballerina, veteran of all the great stages of the world, with the passionate temper of a Spanish signorina and a flair for fashion. She's also something of a mathematical genius, playing chess like a Grand Master and shogi, go, backgammon and many other board games from her extensive collection. She met Mr Griffins, an eccentric professor whose interests reach from ESP to alchemy (and anything else that's hard to explain), when he was in Paris to give a lecture at the Sorbonne, and happened to slip into a small antiques shop in Montmartre... She was looking for a Guatemalan mahjongg game, and he hoped for a first edition of a famous work on the sunken city of Atlantis... instead they found eachother, and eventually, created Griffins' Steakhouse.
Griffins Steakhouse Extraordinaire is truly an experience out of the ordinary - the combination of an interior full of occult and mystical references, and multi-award-winning head chef Christian Hellberg is hard to beat. The restaurant was featured on The Coolhunter shortly after opening, and is currently ranked #17 among Stockholm's nearly 2000 restaurants on Tripadvisor.