2007 – Our First James Beard Award

The Corner Office

So then there was Pete.

Peter Karpinski joined Sage Hospitality in 2005 to launch the new Sage Restaurant Group. We instantly hit it off and started creating together. The Corner Office was our first restaurant concept for SRG . . . Pulling from our own experiences from all over the globe and rooted in learning from some powerful mentors over the years we felt at home mixing a little irreverence together with what we both felt was a big opportunity to answer to what people were really looking for with casual dining in their lives. With humble honesty, if you would have ever told me that this crazy, sexy, fun restaurant bar concept that we drummed up together would get the notice of the James Beard Foundation I might have giggled. From the get-go this early SRG concept was intended to disrupt the Denver food scene and change the game for what was possible in the story behind the culinary experience.

In true Pete form, he pushed us and we pushed ourselves to grow this concept from new origins and stay true to that course all the way through. Riffing off of what “the corner office” had come to represent in the glass tower of the 1980’s, that “tony private office” reserved for the CEO our Corner Office was meant for all.

In visualizing the essence of what happens around the water cooler, a typical “day at the office” and then of course what happens after hours and everything in between  we scouted a funky office-space that was getting ready for a complete renovation and we hired real people to model for us through a casting on Craig’s list to generate the black and white photography behind The Corner Office brand story. Keeping it accessible and on the edge, the photography matched against a super strong  identity that we purposely teased out through a hidden digital experience and surprises that continue to unfold.

As Javier and I sat in the audience at Lincoln Center for the 2009 James Beard Awards, we were honored to just be there in the company of the world’s best chefs, culinary leaders in design and hospitality. When they announced that we had won for The Corner Office complete shock ensued . . .  I grabbed Javier’s hand and pulled him up on the stage with me to accept our award. Completely unprepared is simply said, “I guess sex sells. Thank you!

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