tomato pie pizza joint restaurant interior

Established in 2006 with two Los Angeles based locations, Tomato Pie Pizza Joint is a fast casual restaurant concept specializing in hand tossed NY-Style pizzas. A perfect NY-Style pizza that has the balance of a thin, crispy, yet chewy crust as well as an even distribution of organic, locally sourced fresh produce and homemade ingredients. Their brand vibe is a throw back to late 60’s inspired architecture reflecting the bright colors of that pop culture.

Tomato Pie was now expanding with a new location in South Pasadena, California and called upon Dept of Energy to help them develop their interior visual recipe to it's fully baked potential. Their overall established branding direction was something they were already relatively happy with, but they felt it had never been fully realized when it came to the interiors. The goal now was to expand upon their already existing branded elements and connect that with new touches and components for an architectural interior concept that defined and established their referential Mid-Century modern era vibe in a contemporary and exciting way.

Also recently, a business in their neighborhood with franchise goals had been opened up which borrowed heavily upon their existing color palette, materials and furniture. With Tomato Pie’s new restaurant on the horizon, now was the time to fully establish exactly who they are while developing their look in such a way that it was uniquely theirs and difficult to easily replicate. Thus another goal was set to create a branded blueprint to utilize at South Pasadena, and then to be able to carry it over to the previous locations and any future Tomato Pie Pizza Joints.

Drawing upon the owners love of Mid-Century architecture and design that had influenced their brand to date, while maintaining the historical brick features of the newly leased space, we developed a look & feel that is both modern yet a toss-up to the loved influences of a visually significant era gone by but still cherished. We kept their current branding colors of orange, powder blue, beige, brown and white while incorporating materials such as stainless steel, walnut wood finishing, Hi-Macs and octagonal tiles that they were drawn toward. These materials not only represented the era we were drawing influences from, but are highly durable for a high volume restaurant setting.

With materials chosen we focused on using them in a way that nodded to the late 60’s but were interpreted in a modern way that made the elements unique for Tomato Pie. For example, the entire expanse of the ordering counter could be seen as an oversized piece of mid-century furniture from a distance and the custom designed partitions are a throwback to the popular breezeway tiles of the period but treated with materials and a sleekness that make them current. Custom bowling alley bench seating was designed to ensure the correct brand colors and durability needed.

Our approach was to choose a few standout pieces and make them the diamonds of the space. This also allowed us to ensure that those pieces were the ones that would be able to carry over to any location and be immediately identifiable as Tomato Pie. Those details also helped us create an energetic, accessible and inviting atmosphere.

To date, this has been one of our most exciting and loved projects to be a part of. Not to mention the pizza, THE PIZZA!, that we could eat every day!  Now if only there was a Tomato Pie in Seattle…


Tomato Pie Render 01

Design: Dept of Energy

Architect: Neil Brown

Contractor: CalAsia Construction, Inc.

Tomato Pie 55