Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA
Mark Olthoff, AIA, LEED® AP
The new home of chef Douglas Keane’s acclaimed Cyrus Restaurant makes deliberate connections between the agrarian landscape of the Alexander Valley and the progressive dining experience that unfolds within. Surrounded by an established vineyard and mature landscape designed by Andrea Cochran, the building is raised slightly above the ground level, providing an experience of floating above the surrounding vineyards.
Originally a Sun Sweet Prune packing plant and later modernized for offices and events, the latest architectural interventions make clear delineations between the original building, subsequent adaptation by others and the new ground floor restaurant designed by Olson Kundig. A revised arrival procession leads visitors through an established allée of trees to an intimate entry garden protected behind new textured site walls. Here, a custom steel door and canopy overhead create a signature threshold for the journey ahead.
Cyrus seats up to 12 guests in three services each evening, an intimate experience centered around the celebration and craft of fine dining. The visitor pathway begins with sparkling wine and hors d’oeuvres in a lounge overlooking the river valley’s vineyards and hills beyond, lit by warm afternoon light or an evening sunset. Informal seating and a steel table cantilevering from an existing concrete column encourage guests to circulate within the space, taking in views of the gardens and landscape. Passing a transparent wood and glass wine room, guests next proceed to the Kitchen Table, placed at the heart of the restaurant. Located within the main kitchen, the U-shaped table anchors one side of the room, allowing full view of the food preparation beyond. At the Kitchen Table, Chef Keane prepares omakase-style plates and engages directly with guests. The space is intentionally dim, gently focusing the diners’ attention on the well-lit plates of food before them.
Advancing to the main dining room, guests enjoy expansive views of the surrounding terraces, trees and vines for the final acts of the meal. The interior of this space is referential to the landscape, including an expansive new window framing a large ancient olive tree just outside. Kinetic partitions surround a private dining space; these walls can be activated and hidden, opening the dining room to host larger events and seat up to 100 guests. As the evening concludes, visitors discover a small chocolate room just before exiting the restaurant. This intimate and theatrical space features a flowing wall of chocolate to create a strong final memory of the night.
Throughout Cyrus, the architecture is deliberately subdued, creating signature moments that quietly complement the dining experience. This allows guests to follow a soft circulation pathway, drifting through interior spaces linked by a warm materiality and character of light and shadow, while the kitchen program remains rigorous and regimented. Separated from the main public space by an open breezeway, a bright and voluminous prep kitchen fosters a pleasant and functional workspace for restaurant staff.
My favorite part of the project is watching the Cyrus team working in the kitchen, especially the view into their preparation and assembly of the food before it’s unveiled at the Kitchen Table. They constantly push for evolution and next‑level creative thinking, which is a big part of our DNA, too, and part of what made this project such an incredible collaboration.Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA
Interior Design Best of Year Awards, Finalist, Fine Dining Category
“Heaven on Earth.” Conde Nast Traveler, Aug. 2022, 13, 16-17. Print.
Jung, Carolyn. “After a decade, Cyrus is reborn in Geyserville.” San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Jun. 2022, H2. Print.
Mueller, Christina. “Eat & Drink.” Marin Magazine, Sep. 2022, 21. Print.
Irwin, Heather. “New version of Cyrus for Geyserville.” Sunday Press Democrat, 1 Mar. 2020, 3-4. Print.