Covina is a warm, welcoming haven in the heart of the Park South Hotel in New York City’s NoMad neighborhood. The concept was designed, with this location in mind, to create a refuge for hotel guest as well as local Manhattan residents. Every detail of Covina was chosen deliberately to fashion a lush, inviting series of alcoves with a relaxing vibe. Moving through the restaurant from the entry to the dining room, the space is enhanced by natural wood, warm lighting and Mediterranean colors that draw you out of the City streets and into this destination.
Architect Cass Calder Smith and his talented team worked closely with Chef Tim Cushman and his wife Nancy to bring their vision to life. The restaurant has various spaces for dining and drinking, each a unique area to experience Cushman hospitality. The Café entry quietly welcomes guests in from the 27th Street alcove entry with cozy seating and daylight trickling in. While further inside, a host guides guests into the formal heart of Covina. The restaurant’s connection to the Park South Hotel provides a second informal access from the main lobby of the hotel. Both entries connect a drifting spine from which various programmatic alcoves are reached. Within the somewhat hidden space, one finds the social, casual atmosphere of the stunning U-shape zinc-top bar providing the perfect setting for any impromptu gathering. Just opposite a semi-private dining room glows warm from the field of incandescent lights and the contrasting daylight of the adjacent lightwell. But the real design emphasis is on the engaging open kitchen, housing a wood-fired grill and a custom-tiled Stefano Ferrara pizza oven. The expansive sunlit kitchen includes counter dining which allows guests to experience the live-fire action.
The exposed industrial steel columns of the multi-story hotel tower above balance against the wide but muted white oak floor and wall panels whose continuity is accentuated with blackened steel and brass trim. From the central dining area, the vantage is open yet the experience is focused; a feature built from controlled acoustics combined with subtle reflections within the long vast space.
This eclectic restaurant and bar will easily draw you in to its casual sense of place with its vibrant décor, its inviting glow and simultaneous playfulness.
Photography: Eric Laignel