Rioja celebrated its tenth anniversary at the end of last year — and then owners Beth Gruitch and Jennifer Jasinski promptly closed the place for the better part of January to bring the dining room up to date. Jasinski and Gruitch were so pleased with the results at their newest restaurant, Stoic & Genuine, that they hired Boss Architecture and Jordy Construction, who did the design and build at the Union Station fish house, to put their touch on Rioja as well. The result feels warm and plush, with crimson and avocado green accenting rich browns. The central brick wall separating the two halves of the dining room received a whitewash and the addition of wine display racks in the alcoves, giving the whole space the air of a vintage wine cellar. Photographer Danielle Lirette stopped by to capture the new vibe — a stylish combination with contemporary, mod and elegant touches.
Gruitch says they lost a few seats with the new design but that there are actually more options for smaller groups. The seating configuration and added sound baffling mean a more intimate experience for each group of guest with a little less ambient noise. And along with the changes to the decor, she also points out a few menu changes, including a by-the-glass list composed entirely of Spanish wines. Jasinski has added a few new dishes, especially for brunch service, but regulars will still see their old favorites.