Anyone who’s ever watched Guy Fieri do his whole Guy Fieri thing on TV knows how much he loves rock ‘n’ roll. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that when the notorious chef and TV personality put his name on a brand new restaurant right in the heart of Times Square, he made sure the audio system was top notch.
Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar celebrated its grand opening on Tuesday, Oct. 9 (doors opened in early September), and most guests that night probably didn’t notice the premium sound setup. That’s because it is designed to be audible without being overpowering, allowing diners to wolf down sangria-glazed shrimp and angus burgers and listening to Stevie Ray Vaughn while chatting – not shouting – with their friends.
“Nine out of 10 times, people don’t think about the acoustics in [restaurants],” says Ernie Lake of EL Media Group, who designed and installed the restaurant’s A/V system. “Sound is almost always last on somebody’s list. And it really shouldn’t be because it’s a big part of the experience. It really sucks when you’re in a rest and the music’s playing and it’s just one big wall of sound.”
The sound system in Fieri’s new place features over 100 Tannoy speakers and Lab.gruppen amplifiers that pipe music into virtually every room of the 15,000 square-foot facility that used to be the New York Times building.
But while the multi-level space may have been great for operating the world’s foremost newspaper, it posed some challenges when it came to being retrofitted as a 500-seat restaurant, says restaurateur and co-owner Jon Bloostein. For instance, the space is so expansive that the distance between the restaurant’s lower level (the entrance used to be the loading dock where huge rolls of newsprint were delivered) and the mezzanine level required an interstitial kitchen had to be installed.
“Operationally, it’s a more complex restaurant than I had hoped and more complex than my other seven restaurants,” says Bloostein.
Those challenges extended to the restaurant’s sound system – and not just because cabling had to be run through the cavernous interior just days before opening. For acoustical purposes, the hard interior surfaces had to be softened – that meant installing Tectum acoustic