What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Uh, except for awesome design inspiration for one of St. Louis’ best-known restaurant families, that is.

We’re not talking about paintings of Elvis gracing some playing cards or adding outlandish, rhinestoned Liberace flair everywhere (though we’d totally be down for that). But Las Vegas has some special swankiness that makes a number of restaurants out there perfect for a romantic dinner, a night out with the guys or a family treat. And that’s just what the Gianino family had in mind for its newest restaurant, Joey B’s Food and Drink on Manchester.

When our Gianino friends approached us to be both the designer and general contractor for the fourth location of Joey B’s, it was an offer we couldn’t refuse. Here was a chance to transform a deteriorating former Chili’s into a lush yet family-friendly gathering spot! We had our work cut out for us, as we needed to design around a busy, noisy street, an ancient facade and dated interiors. Could we really bring the heart of Vegas into this place? Um, yeah, bet on that.

We gave the building’s exterior a major facelift that even Vegas’ best plastic surgeon would be proud of. The structure originally screamed Chili’s, with red paint, intricate brickwork and that distinctive boxy shape, but we got rid of all the old stuff and painted it black, just as the Rolling Stones have been suggesting for years (well, charcoal grey, actually, but nobody’s written a song about that). We also removed the dated wood paneling and added new windows with black mullions. New in- and out-doors flanking the main customer entrance keep the wait staff safely moving, and branded black and red awnings cap off the now-inviting look.

The magic starts to happen even before guests make it to the building, though, because we added a huge all-season patio space right out front.  The walled patio shifts its angle from the street to give it some dimension while adding a noticeable buffer between the restaurant and busy Manchester Road. A gorgeous Ipe walkway leading to the front door is flanked by dining and bar spaces of painted concrete, cedar and steel. We built plenty of options for covered and uncovered seating, and guests can enjoy their delicious food and drink in booths, at high-tops, at traditional tables or at the bar. Too hot? Too cold? No problem on Joey B’s patio, because there are 14 Big Ass Fans for summer and 24 gas heaters for cooler times. Also: fire pits! Dining al fresco on Manchester has never been so pleasant.

Inside, you’ll completely erase all memory of Chili’s “I want my baby back ribs” jingle, thanks to some of that newfound Vegas swank. The large foyer gives guests plenty of comfortable seating options while they wait for take-out or table space (Trust us, the spectacular food brings all the people to the yard) and opens on the left and right to a lush dining and bar area. We used warm, earthy tones throughout and juxtaposed dark walnut and light oak in the floor, tables, chairs and accents. Red low-maintenance wallcovering brings in the branding from Joey B’s logo and patio awnings, serving up a comfortable vibe with a posh element.

In the bar, which you can admire from almost every seat in the restaurant, we built a ceiling that serves as the restaurant’s showstopper. With an engineer’s consultation, we sanded 750 pieces of cedar timber of varying lengths and installed them from the ceiling, adding stunning visual interest, while dampening the area’s noise. But as we often do, we hid a few secrets up there. Some of those cedar pieces are actually cleverly disguised sprinkler heads, and we peppered custom-made, scale-size acrylic lights throughout. We know this is something Wayne Newton would sing about.

We built the top of the bar itself with book-matched walnut, while the die wall is comprised of slabs of maintenance-free Ellesmere Cambria. And throughout the bar and dining areas, we posted plenty big-screen TVs (Cardinals baseball and SpongeBob are both welcome) and warm, subtle lighting that won’t distract you from that big honkin’ burger or pasta bowl in front of you.

When it comes to entertainment and food, lots of people insist “Vegas, baby, Vegas.” But the high rollers on our team would rather place our bets on Joey B’s Food and Drink on Manchester. Double down, yo!

The cedar-timber ceiling with custom lights hangs over the chic bar.

The cedar-timber ceiling with custom lights hangs over the chic bar.

The backdrop of the host stand features the same cedar timber blocks as the ceiling of the bar.

The backdrop of the host stand features the same cedar timber blocks as the ceiling of the bar.

The dining room's oak floors are contrasted by the walnut seating and tables.

The dining room’s oak floors are contrasted by the walnut seating and tables.

View of the live-edge community table under a Jonathan Adler suspension fixture.

View of the live-edge community table under a Jonathan Adler suspension fixture.

Outside, the bar and a walk-in are covered by a butterfly room.

Outside, the bar and a walk-in are covered by a butterfly room. The supports are extra-wide to accommodate the gutter system.

The patio features firepits, heaters and fans to keep guests comfortable all year round.

The patio features firepits, heaters and fans to keep guests comfortable all year round.

Here you can see the shape of the old Chili's, but it has been disguised with a coat of charcoal paint, modern windows and doors, and spiffy new awnings.

Here you can see the shape of the old Chili’s, but it has been disguised with a coat of charcoal paint, modern windows and doors, and spiffy new awnings.

The patio features both ipe and cedar woods, and the concrete has two different colors to differentiate between seating areas.

The patio features both ipe and cedar woods, and the concrete has two different colors to differentiate between seating areas.

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