Rintaro, a Michelin-recommended izakaya in San Francisco, needed a website that told their story and captured the same feeling that their dining experience does so well.
Inspired by owner Sylvan Brackett’s collection of Showa-era matchbooks, posters and magazines, I developed a visual strategy and built an original web experience from the ground up.
Rintaro uses seasonal California ingredients to prepare traditional Japanese meals. The food isn’t fusion: Its the food you would expect to find if Tokyo just so happened to be a city in Northern California. Their menu offerings, interior design and print collateral all reinforce this idea. We wanted the website to be a clear and robust extension of that idea. We prefaced the style guide with narrative:
It’s a brisk Friday night. You just left a dive bar and you can’t remember if your last drink was a shot of Fernet in the Mission, or a Highball in Shinjuku. You’re walking with some old friends along the Yamanote line, or is it the J-Church? You duck into the courtyard of a dimly lit restaurant and find yourself in a warm, intimate space. The sturdy wooden construction turns the sound from the lively crowd into a warm, inviting buzz. You can smell something roasting over a charcoal grill as a danceable song plays in the background. It could be 1958 or 2018.
Beneath the site’s rough, handmade feel the structure is intended to make navigation easy and intuitive. We prioritized the two most common user intentions: (1) making a reservation and (2) finding the restaurant’s location & hours. The site is built with Grav CMS and includes an admin dashboard that allows Rintaro’s team to update their menu and make content changes on the fly.