I re-imagined a local dining guide to include not just restaurant menus as we did in the past, but this time with thoughtful articles about the venues and about the people who make up the restaurants’ character. The result is a beautiful magazine with rich content that connects our community readership to our local restaurants — in ways both culinary and neighborly. It was a task best suited for written narrative, rather than in image- and menu-driven advertisements. And our readers loved it!
The Drunken Seal
The Drunken Seal is housed in a building that has a long history of being home to restaurants. Although located right on the bay with great water views and in a quiet, discreet neighborhood, the current owners cannot simply bank on the real estate nor rest on the laurels of their chefs’ well-known successes. Previous ownership left the premises with a bad taste in the mouths of those who frequented their establishment. So the challenge for the new owners is two-fold: establish the restaurant as an up-scale casual beach bar and food venue, while also winning back the market’s intrigue and trust.
Rather than exclaim “New Ownership!” we took a more modest approach and emphasized the new character. Since this is a small market in a small town of mostly middle-aged homeowners with above-average income, the intention is to engage them with a sense of integrity and ingenuity. The Drunken Seal is not just a business with a great view, but a local restaurant and bar whose menu is crafted by chefs whom the market already trusts, and whose ownership is looking to offer a place that will fill the need for a mature adult-focused atmosphere (rather than peddle calamari to the lowest common denominator).
Ultimately, we want regulars. We want people to come to The Seal for drinks before a fundraising event. For lunch with a business associate. For a fun dinner with friends when the kids have finally agreed to behave and go to bed a little earlier. For when people are out for a nice dinner elsewhere, they ask “Where should we go next?” — and for more than one person in the party to quickly say in unison, “How about The Seal?”
East Wind Lobster & Grille
This was a unique challenge. East Wind is an established, iconic spot that appeals to tourists and locals alike. But it’s presence in this Dining Guide was not going to cut it with a simple menu sample; geographically, this publication’s audience is on the other side of a major bridge. We needed to drive home the reasons for readers to make the trip across the water.
Along with highlighting the owner’s neighborly character and locally sourced fare, we celebrated East Wind’s reputation for high quality food in a casual but beautiful atmosphere. And since this publication tends to find itself in readers’ hands even after the summer high season, we laid the foundation for building up Jean’s cooking classes.
The goals we set for off-season marketing are almost entirely for her public and private group lessons. The idea is when locals are looking for things to do indoors when the weather isn’t good for outdoor activities, we want them to think of East Wind and learning new recipes and techniques for cooking and entertaining. The colder months mean losing the outdoor deck and seating, so dine-in business is much more limited. After hours cooking classes are a great revenue stream, and fantastic events to promote and share on social media.
Graziella’s Artisan Pizza Co.
Although an established pizza joint, Graziella’s is growing and evolving. Recent changes are steps toward a more family-centered, dine-in atmosphere. By adding beer, wine, and gelato to the menu, along with renovations to create a more comfortable, relaxed ambiance, Graziella’s wants to be a place for groups to come and hang out. For these reasons, the article focuses on appealing to as many people as possible. It was written simply and highlighted the breadth and versatility of the menus. It aims to inspire readers to not only call for delivery, but to stop in and try different menu items while enjoying the company of friends and family.
With families as the primary target, the visuals were designed to appeal to both a younger audience and the parents who ultimately make the dining decisions. The cartoon-ish highlights (“Gelato bar,” “Something for everyone”) are meant to excite the general reader, while in text we highlight the artisanal hand-tossed dough and the family sauce recipe.
Since the company owns two businesses in three locations, we pushed for geographical convenience and distinguished the second business, Silver Beach, for its seafood selections. Unlike the other ads, pieces of the menus are included to re-enforce selection, versatility, and to maintain the reputation as a great pizza and take-out business.