Tabletop Awards

Recognizing excellence in the strategic and functional application of tabletop design.


Tabletop Awards

2019 Performance in Tabletop Awards

Restaurants with a Check Average of More than $75 Per Person

First place: Aba, Chicago

Photos courtesy of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

Why It Won

The unique menu goes well with the unique plates. It’s an absolute perfect alignment between the food and the tabletop. This presentation is true to the Mediterranean, which is the inspiration for the menu. For example, the colors are a little subdued and earth toned, which is consistent with that part of the world. There’s lots of blue plates used today, but the dark aqua used here is appropriate as it connects well to the dining room.

Specifying Team

John Chiakulas, chef/partner, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises; Michael Giles, partner, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises; Marc Jacobs, executive partner, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises; CJ Jacobson, chef/partner, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises; Jeff Matula, DSR, Edward Don & Company; and Cannon Porter, partner, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

Editor’s note: Cannon Porter of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises served as a judge for the 2019 Performance in Tabletop Awards but did not judge this category to avoid any conflict of interest.

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Honorable Mention: View MKE, Milwaukee, Wis.

Photos by David Smies, The Boelter Companies

Worth Mentioning

Everything really meshes well here — from the dining room to the tabletop to the food. This tabletop really encompasses the atmosphere the restaurant strives to create for its guests. The white china pairs well with the wood table and the colors of the menu. This installation uses a couple of unique pieces that fit the particular food items the restaurant serves too.

Specifying Team

Nancy Barber, DSR, The Boelter Companies; Corinne Kuester, front of the house manager, View MKE; Julie Pandl, DSR, The Boelter Companies; Andy Ruggeri, general manager, View MKE; Carl Tomich, owner, View MKE; and Kim Tomich, owner, View MKE

  • China: Front of the House
  • Flatware: Browne
  • Glassware: Libbey

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Honorable Mention: The Statehouse at The Edgewater, Madison, Wis.

Photos by Jessica Chatham, The Edgewater

Worth Mentioning

Given the restaurant’s dark interior, the plates and the food really brighten the space. The project team made good use of different shapes to create visual intrigue as well. The earthen-ware appearance also really works in this setting.

Specifying Team

Aaron Buss, purchasing director, The Edgewater; Dennis Daly, sales rep, Edward Don & Company; Juan Martinez, executive chef, The Edgewater; Kerry O’Connor, tabletop specialist, The Hode Group; Amy Supple, senior vice president, The Edgewater; Fadi Takouz, food & beverage director, The Edgewater; and Chad Wunderlich, outlets general manager, The Edgewater

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Honorable Mention: Legacy Rockford, Ill.

Photos by Stella Lorens, Edward Don & Company

Worth Mentioning

The setup is very elegant and also simple at the same time. Good choice of glassware. Clean design. Nice use of white and patterns. Everything about this is elegant.

Specifying Team

Kerry O’Rourke-Baader, territory sales manager, Libbey; Dennis Cassidy, broker owner, Cassidy’s Proline; Ali Chance, interior designer, A. Tanner Design; Howard Cohen, territory sales manager, Miller & Stryker Associates; Vicki Righeimer, broker owner, Vicki Righeimer and Associates; Jody Schumacher, DSR, Edward Don & Company; Al Castrogiovanni, owner/chef; and Legacy, Joe Castrogiovanni, owner, Legacy

  • China: Cardinal
  • Flatware: Cardinal
  • Glassware: Cardinal and Libbey
  • Accessories: American Metalcraft