See Inside Chef Rochelle Daniel’s Atria designed by Mendil + Meyer

Fall in love with the small restaurant that evokes the feeling of an atrium: airy, bursting with plant life, and full of light.

By GR Chair

Photography by Ben Meyer

Neutral upholstered Alfred Barstools at restaurant bar.

When Mendil + Meyer design studio first sat down with award winning chef Rochelle Daniel, she brought them a stunning vision of a restaurant called Atria. She imagined a space that evoked the feeling of an atrium: airy, bursting with plant life, and full of light.

“She really liked that kind of wild feminine touch,” said designer Anissa Mendil of Mendil + Meyer. “When we met, she had with her a little notebook full of flowers and she said, ‘This is the color palette.’ All kinds of sages, peaches, and whites sprang from that little notebook.”

Chef Rochelle Daniel has been the executive chef at restaurants like award-winning Fat Ox in Scottsdale, Cress on Oak Street in Sedona, and Etch Kitchen & Bar at L’Auberge de Sedona. She’s been named one of the Valley’s “Top 5 Sous Chef’s” by the Arizona Republic and “Best Sous Chef” by Plus, she’s been in the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame since 2017. If you’re a Food Network fan, you might also recognize her from appearances on Chopped: Grill Masters.

With Chef Daniel’s nature inspired concept, Mendil + Meyer were a perfect fit for the task. Much of their design work is dedicated to wellness in a way that is intimately tied to nature. Design team Anissa Mendil and Ben Meyer are deeply engaged with biophilic design and taking inspiration from natural surroundings. “I don’t even think about it anymore, because in my language,” said Mendil. “Nature in design has been such a big part of my journey.”

The space Atria now occupies in Flagstaff, Arizona was formerly an Italian restaurant which required quite a bit of reworking to become the bright atrium inspired design it is today. Mendil + Meyer wanted to see what they could reuse in the spirit of sustainability, so they reworked old booths and reupholstered acoustic panels with biophilic inspired fabrics.

“She wanted an open kitchen concept which really showcases the talent and connects the guests to the food being prepared,” said Mendil when asked about challenges in the design process. “The challenge is you don’t just have to design a kitchen for functionality. It has to look good.”

The open kitchen now offers customers a front row seat where they can watch their fresh, local, and seasonal picks from the menu be expertly cooked and plated. The art of cooking takes center stage. Peek at the gallery on Atria’s website and you’ll see plates that not only look delicious but also beautiful. From the cuts of meat that are elegantly garnished to the delicate collage of an artfully assembled salad.

This restaurant is truly hers, paying homage to her work and craft even in the smallest details. Bookshelves provide the cozy feeling of someone’s personal residence, and they showcase pieces by artisans alongside books hand chosen by Daniel that represent her journey and what has inspired her over the years.

If you’d like to enjoy farm fresh, house-made, and local dishes by Chef Rochelle Daniel in this stunning space by Mendil + Meyer, Atria is located at 103 N Leroux St in Flagstaff, Arizona. Reserve your spot on their website at this link.

Thank you to Mendil + Meyer for speaking with us about this gorgeous project. We can’t wait to see what they’re working on next! Follow us to stay updated on beautiful installs and other GRCC stories.

Love hearing behind the scenes details from designers? Check out this interview with Natalie Lieberman of Collect + Curate about the design process for Hog and Hominy’s new space in Memphis, Tennessee!