A couple months ago we shared a few details about our work transforming Rudy Hansen’s service station, which served the Hillman City community for over 40 years, into a tasty Peruvian chicken eatery (check out those posts here and here) and today we are sharing the completed Big Chickie restaurant build-out! (Visit our restaurant build-out page for more about H&H’s approach, including project examples and artic.es)
To honor their dad’s work, Rudy’s kids decided to continue his legacy of service by revitalizing the parcel. They invested over the past decade in environmental clean up of the land (including the removal of the gas pump station and overhang pictured below), with City guidance, and then offered the site for lease – with the stipulation that their father’s original building be retained.
Hammer & Hand and architecture firm Architecture Building Culture took on the challenge.
Site of Big Chickie before construction. Photo via Google Images.
A lot needed to change to convert the old service station into a neighborhood eatery, but a lot needed to stay the same to adhere to the owners’ wishes to maintain their dad’s building.
“We gutted the service station’s interior but maintained the architectural language of the building,” said H&H Project Manager Carrie Erickson.
Outside the building is where the most eye-catching work took place. H&H built a long covered cedar seating area for diners. “We added the outdoor seating and new parking area to create a restaurant, but it’s also kind of a front door to the Hillman City neighborhood,” said Carrie. Instead of changing the look of the structure with new paint colors, the team freshened up the exterior in the same cream and blue colors.
Photos by Jeffrey Tan
H&H removed the existing barred windows and tight entrance and replaced it with a more open storefront system. The garage doors were cleaned up but left as part of the building — another homage to Rudy Hansen’s service station.
A restaurant has a different list of needs than a service station, however, so the team worked with the City of Seattle to make the necessary updates and upgrades. H&H got the structure up to code and updated it with a new commercial kitchen, new bathrooms, electrical, plumbing, and insulation. The new commercial kitchen includes two charcoal rotisseries imported from Peru. To give the interior a Pacific Northwest feel — and match the outside eating area — the team clad the interior walls with cedar panels.
Some of the changes to the property aren’t as noticeable, but were crucial to creating an accessible neighborhood restaurant. H&H worked with the City to redo the curb cuts to allow for the adjusted layout of the property and to fix ones that had fallen into disrepair. The team also worked to get commercial grade mechanical rooftop units that would fit into the neighborhood and hide the noise of the roof’s exhaust fan.
We’re proud to have been part of this transformative project and can’t wait until Big Chickie opens its doors in September.
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