New coworking start-up Spacious launched earlier this month by using DBGB Kitchen and Bar as a meeting and office space — and now, they're adding L’Apicio in the East Village and Public in Soho to the available work spaces, too, founder Preston Pesek says. They plan to announce partnerships with restaurants in Williamsburg, Chelsea, Tribeca, Upper West Side, and even San Francisco and Los Angeles soon, but Pesek says they’re not targeting just any restaurant. It must be beautiful, and even though they won't be serving food immediately, the menu must be delicious, he says. A good restaurant, he says, works perfectly as a good meeting space.
"Technology allows us to work from anywhere we want. Why not pick a place that’s beautiful and inviting?" Pesek says. "A restaurant is a highly evolved environment that is designed specifically to be inviting and comfortable and nice."
Besides being dinner-only restaurants, the restaurants involved with Spacious also need to be near public transit, be well-designed, and be big. DBGB has about 180 seats, and L’Apicio offers about 190. All of the eventual participants will have a minimum of 60 to 100 seats. Spacious members pay $95 per month to work in the spaces during the day, and restaurants are part of a profit-sharing partnership with the start-up.
'Why not pick a place that's beautiful and inviting?'
Eventually, Pesek envisions some of the restaurants offering limited small plates during the day only for Spacious users. Most of the kitchens open early for prep work anyway, and it would be a way to showcase what they’re working on, he adds. Spacious members would order it from an app on their phones and pick it up themselves, as to avoid table service. They’ve already started to see some Spacious members return for dinner service, and a taste of lunch adds to the experience. "We have a symbiotic relationship with our restaurant partners," Pesek says. "Our customers become their customers, and their customers become ours."
But smaller, "divey" restaurants are out of the question, he says, though several have already reached out to them. "What we really want to do is curate and showcase some of the best spaces in every city where we operate, almost giving people an opportunity to learn that these spaces exist," he says. Plus, he wants to make sure all the restaurants involved feel proud to be in the same "peer group" of people. "We really want to make sure all the partners we select have really spent some time thinking about creating a great environment," he says.
Some of the more than 100 people who have already signed up to use Spacious work as freelancers and seek alternatives to coffee shops, but many also work from an office and use it a public meeting space. Being in a well-designed restaurant space can be a nice break from office life, Pesek says. "We like the fact that it’s different," he says. "It’s refreshing. It feels good to be in these spaces to work."