A second brick staircase gives second-floor access on the south side of the building. Together, the two staircases also serve to separate front-ofhouse functions—including the main dining room, restrooms, and bar —from back-of-house operations like the kitchen and loading dock. In contrast to the transparent glazing of the dining rooms, the volume housing the kitchen is clad in dark wood siding with few windows.
The two-story restaurant’s north façade is dominated by floor-toceiling glazing on the first level that offers ample views into and out of the main dining space. A broad brick staircase leads to a terrace on the second story that extends over the first floor with a cantilevered balcony.
The bar at The Grove is clad in glowing panels that mimic a rich material like alabaster. The effect is achieved by using 3form resin panels back-lit by fiber-optic strands that give the panels a gentle glow. Those perched on a bar stool enjoying one of the restaurant’s signature drinks also have a frontrow view of artist Margo Sawyer’s wall of color blocks, a feature that fits well with Discovery Green’s commitment to public art.
The main dining room uses a wood floor and ceiling, similar to the second-floor dining space. Expanses of glazing allow diners to enjoy views of the new downtown park while feasting on American fare ranging from salad and sandwiches to local seafood. Beyond the interior glass wall are two smaller dining spaces (denoted by the Louis Poulsen artichoke lighting fixtures) that can be closed off for private parties. The interiors were designed by a team from Schiller Del Grande Restaurant Group, the company that runs The Grove, in an effort to give the restaurant the same feel as the company’s other properties.
The flexible indoor/outdoor seating area on the second floor is clad on the floor, walls, and ceilings in wood planking that extends outdoors as the decking of the cantilevered balcony. Glass doors allow the seating area to extend out onto the balcony when Houston’s hot, humid climate permits.
On the second-floor deck, patrons have a view of the Houston skyline—a reminder that despite the bucolic setting of the ground floor, the restaurant is in the heart of downtown. Plastic chairs and metal tables can withstand the region’s summer thunderstorms, and the view of Discovery Green is maintained by a minimal custom handrail that features stainless steel wire cables threaded through painted steel pipe.
The new Grove restaurant by Larry Page of Page Southerland Page is part of the Discovery Green development in Houston, a new, 12-acre downtown park that feautures a lake, dog parks, playground, public art, and an amphitheatre.