Courtesy of DMAC Architecture / Photo by Anthony Tahlier

The visually intriguing structure that is now Greenwood American Kitchen & Bar began decades ago as a 5,300-square-foot auto repair shop on the corner of a busy intersection in Highwood, a suburb of Chicago. Surrounded with plenty of pavement for parking, the original brick-façade building had been altered in a manner that diminished structural integrity, and the light-industrial structure attached to it looked like little more than a tear-down.

Chicago-based DMAC Architecture saw something else: A chance to honor the building’s history and create a modern aesthetic through a combination of adaptive reuse and new construction.

Highwood, Illinois

DMAC Architecture
Dwayne MacEwen, Principal
Aaron Beyers, Project Architect 

Rockey Structures

The WT Group

41 North Contractors

Bricks Incorporated

Commercial / Hospitality

LaCantina Folding Door Systems
LaCantina Zero Post Corner System

Best of LaCantina 2019 for Best Renovation

Courtesy of DMAC Architecture / Photo by Anthony Tahlier

DMAC chose to keep the existing structure intact, exposing an interior concrete block wall layered with paint and other imperfections for an urban feel. Original garage door openings were outfitted with modern glass doors that allow movement and views. The floor plan was segmented to allow multiple seating configurations and efficient service while maintaining visual unity throughout. DMAC’s respect for the past, eye for possibilities, and careful attention to detail all contributed to the Greenwood project being named Best Renovation in our Best of LaCantina 2019 competition.

Courtesy of DMAC Architecture / Photo by Anthony Tahlier

Warm wood furnishings, fabrics, and wooden walls backed with black insulation boards offset the concrete surfaces and soften both the appearance and the acoustics of the space.

Courtesy of DMAC Architecture / Photo by Anthony Tahlier

The east dining lounge, one of two additions to the original structure, opens onto the terrace using LaCantina’s zero post corner system and two LaCantina folding door systems that pull back effortlessly to erase the boundary between indoors and outdoors.

“At the east dining room, there is an open corner that is cantilevered with no structural post. It was a unique condition where we wanted to enhance the physical and visual relationships between the indoor dining space and outdoor terrace. LaCantina folding doors worked seamlessly to accomplish our design vision,” Dwayne MacEwen, DMAC Architecture Principal and Creative Director, said.

Courtesy of DMAC Architecture / Photo by Anthony Tahlier

Another set of LaCantina folding doors connects covered patio dining with a second interior bar area. 

“We chose LaCantina for the slim and modern frame profile, to help maximize the glass opening. The door systems maximized opportunities to have a very open and fluid indoor outdoor restaurant experience,” MacEwen said.