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Always evolving

Lantern Hill’s dining enhancement project based on residents’ feedback

Created date

May 8th, 2018
Embers Wine Bar is an extension of Tall Oaks restaurant and features the colors espresso, sage green, and cream accented by blue pendant lighting to complement the modern furnishings.

Embers Wine Bar is an extension of Tall Oaks restaurant and features the colors espresso, sage green, and cream accented by blue pendant lighting to complement the modern furnishings. 

Lantern Hill has once again proven that its community members are the heart and soul behind making it a great place to live. 

Just two years after opening the campus in New Providence, N.J., residents, staff, and the Erickson Living corporate executive team collaborated on a dining enhancement project to improve traffic flow and resources in the community’s three restaurants, Tall Oaks, Lantern Grille, and Chefs Table.

“The Resident Advisory Council [RAC] expressed a desire for a new lounge area and better traffic flow among the restaurants. Within a few months, we had plans to begin the enhancements,” says Executive Director Patricia Swan-Jacobs. “These changes, coming within two years of opening the campus, show Erickson Living truly believes that the people living in our communities should lead the way in determining the best use of space and resources.”

Lantern Hill hired Lantz-Boggio, a Denver, Colo.-based architecture and design firm, to complete the renovations. Lantz-Boggio has also worked on several other Erickson Living properties, including Tallgrass Creek in Kansas, Greenspring in Virginia, Fox Run in Michigan, Wind Crest in Colorado, and Brooksby in Massachusetts.

“The goal is to make this as seamless as possible, eliminate cross traffic, and increase capacity,” says Joseph Del Ciotto, senior associate for Lantz-Boggio.

“As we open more buildings and welcome more residents, everyone will appreciate the more gracious Embers Wine Bar, enlarged Tall Oaks restaurant, and reconfigured Chef’s Table restaurant with its cozy pub area,” says Swan-Jacobs.

Step by step

The project began with feedback from Lantern Hill’s RAC—a group of residents, each on a committee that represents a different department of operations—who act as liaisons between their fellow neighbors and management.

Swan-Jacobs and her team listened during initial meetings to obtain more detailed feedback from the RAC and understand their concerns and perspective.

The issues they identified included high cross traffic where food service staff and residents used the same pathways; the high-traffic location of the existing wine bar; and the insufficiency of the most popular restaurant, Tall Oaks, from a production standpoint, which, Del Ciotto says, “creates a hardship of menu variation, and it’s hard to prioritize orders.”

Next, Lantz-Boggio team members attended one of the meetings where they outlined ideas. “We had a few different options, and the RAC and Erickson Living helped us to focus in on the final solution,” Del Ciotto says.

The final solution reduces the number of restaurants from three to two, increases the size and capacity of Tall Oaks, and increases the size of the new lounge, Embers Wine Bar.

Quality over quantity

These changes will greatly increase quality in menu variety, capacity, and design.

Tall Oaks will expand and merge with Embers Wine Bar into the existing Chef’s Table space. The new dining venue will offer a combination of banquet, table, and counter seating in a more formal, upscale setting.

“It caters more to every resident. And the social aspects of Tall Oaks—it has everything in one space,” Del Ciotto says. “Residents prefer the aesthetic of the space. It’s more upscale, and from our conversations with residents, I think they enjoy a more formal setting.”

Lantz-Boggio and Erickson Living’s corporate design team collaborated on the interior design, making it as seamless as possible by incorporating similar tones and fabrics.

Espresso, sage green, and cream accented by aqua blue pendant lighting over the bar area complement modern furnishings and fixtures in Tall Oaks.

Embers Wine Bar, positioned as an extension of Tall Oaks, carries a complementary color scheme with warm wood furniture.

Chef’s Table, which will move to the former Lantern Grille space, offers a more casual atmosphere and pub area.

“It started off when the RAC began asking questions with corporate leaders,” says former RAC secretary David Marr.

And they listened.