The art and décor of our favorite restaurants secures a place in our memory side by side with the many meals enjoyed there over the years.  The art is a part of each space’s identity.  Well-chosen artwork establishes a restaurant’s history, culture, or intended atmosphere, creating a unique and particular experience.

A restaurant’s artwork allows the opportunity to illustrate a bona fide background and character.  When one sees old photographs of an Italian landscape while eating their tagliatelle and sipping Chianti, a feeling of pure authenticity is brought to mind.  When one is enjoying cacti painted across the walls accompanied by an enchilada, an atmosphere is created that adds to the enjoyment of spending an hour or two within another culture.

The expression of customs and traditions through art in restaurants is a valuable attribute leading to feelings of full immersion in the experience of eating out.  Sitting in a French café surrounded by photographs of the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame reminds visitors of the origins of their favorite treats.  Regardless of what country we find ourselves in, the ability to wander into a restaurant and find a little bubble of an outside culture is an invaluable experience.

Art within restaurants is also a fabulous opportunity for local artists.  These collaborations not only provide the artists with spaces to showcase their work, but having rotating artwork on display keeps things fresh and exciting for regular customers.  The idea that one could check out the artist of the month is all the more reason for another visit to a favorite neighborhood eatery.

One might argue that a restaurant that boasts consistently amazing food and sees lines out the door on a regular basis may have no need for artwork.  He or she would argue that a no frills approach shows a pure and simple dedication to their craft.  While an establishment may not “need” art to draw a crowd, it is still a valuable addition for the sake of recollection.  When customers look back on their experience and consider their return, having a positive visual association will fuel a long-term fondness and admiration for the institution.

Art within a restaurant space does not demand quantity or complexity.  It is simply an opportunity to create a lasting impression.  When thinking back upon our culinary experiences, there will either be a visual memory or their won’t.  Doesn’t it seem that when given a choice, with all other factors being equal, that one would likely return to the option of atmosphere?  Where’s the joy otherwise?