I am a thief.
Not like a ‘steal your stuff’ thief, but an idea thief. Especially when it comes to décor. Love, love, love going to open houses just to see how other people dress their living rooms, or trick out their kitchens. Restaurants are fertile ground for thieving, from ideas on what to cook and what to drink to how to set a table or and plate a meal.
The Table in the Short North has one of those singular aesthetics that immediately makes an impression. From it’s brick and wood bones to its shazam splashes of sky blue. Furniture is mismatched, yet all has the same vibe. The place settings show off a mile-high collection of various china patterns and plates. It all comes together in this shabby chic, eating at your favorite grandmother’s table, vibe.
“When Sang and I started working on the concept of the table,” said general manager Jennifer Marlatt, “we talked about how she cooked a lot with her grandma and how I come from a huge family.”
“A small family get together for us is 25-30 people and we would all bring plates, silverware, everything.”
Combine this reverence for family gatherings with The Tables nose-to-tail, farm-to-table, sustainable mission and you get place settings that have been sourced everywhere from thrift shops to parents’ basements. “The idea of reusing is part of it,” she said. “You know, the bar is made from wood from a 200 year old barn.”
Marlatt’s mother started finding pieces and got a little carried away with shopping. “Between the dishware, the tables and chairs, she would find inspiration and text me images and buy stuff,” she said. “I had to fire her…she loves telling people, ‘My own daughter fired me!’”
One ironic side affect of using plates from all over is that not only are customers are recognizing particular patterns from their own family, but they are also so enamored by the décor, that they regularly query about buying items. “People will ask if we have four of certain chairs to see and they’re kind of joking, but not,” Marlatt said with a big smile. “See those glasses over there? A customer had them in the basement and gave them to us.”
The Table’s trademark look has created so much discussion amongst eaters that Marlatt mentions that she eventually hopes to set up an Etsy shop so overflow treasures can be shared with those who have a crush on the one-of-a-kind table settings and furniture.
A few of the chairs in the dining room were actually caned by Marlatt’s grandmother, while other pieces of furniture came out of the family basement. “I remember these tables were in my mother’s basement for 35 years,” she said. “Twenty-five years ago, I remember telling my mother that they would look cool in a coffee shop or something… and today, they are here! It’s a full circle moment. ”