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The original design for Nico & Vali was as a traditional Italian deli. Over the years, although successful, patrons wished for a destination that maintained the high quality traditional Italian food, yet provided a local social watering hole. In doing so, Nico & Vali wished to turn their traditional deli into an Italian restaurant which offers dine in service, carry out, and a selection of Italian grocery items for cooking at home.

Owner Paul Di Palma engaged Studio H2G to reinvent the deli they originally designed 10 years ago. Studio H2G removed the deli and food showcases and replaced them with a contemporary whimsical bar. Using large scale patterns inspired by the Nico & Vali logo, a unique layering of textures and a mix of old world furniture with contemporary accents creates an exclusive destination for the quaint, yet trendy, community of Plymouth, Michigan.

Studio H2G leveraged the existing conditions to minimize the impact on budgets, yet maximizing the customer experience. Pragmatic solutions, such as adding a wood ceiling treatment to appear like exposed wood construction, added character to the environment without impacting structural changes. One particular challenge was shielding the drink station from customer sight, yet retaining visibility into the kitchen. Studio H2G’s solution involved creating a functional station, camouflaged in what effectively is one of the key elements in the space.

Vintage lighting and custom metal ceiling displays define the bar without the need to build anything on site. Utilizing this approach was important in allowing the restaurant to remain open during construction. The outdoor patio and the new modern bar, combined with the musical talents of owner Paul De Palma, is an ingredient mix that is quickly making Nico & Vali one of Plymouths’ favorite hang outs.

Photography by Don Kurek

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