© Drew Templeton | 2013

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Project Type: Branding, Web Design & Development, Design, Photography & Video

Scope- Mercadito Hospitality needed a brand built from the ground up for their new Spanish concept, Tavernita. Tavernita needed the works; a logo, photography, branding, video, you name it.

This is some insight into the thinking behind the branding and what helped forumlate these strategies.

"Best New Restaurants Of 2011" - Esquire Magazine
And that's before it was even open!

CS talking it up

There was definitely a lot of hype behind Tavernita. Hype that needed to be lived up to. Mercadito Hospitality had the idea for the concept after a mashing of the minds of the owner and the new found chef. They went to Spain, did some research and came back wanting to re-create what they saw, but with an added Chicago flair. Easier said than done...

Tavernita needed to resemble a Tapas restaurant, but it was more than that. With it's co-branded Barcito serving as the casual part of Tavernita, and the chef-driven, PR driven hype, it was more than the typcial Tapas restaurant.


To start the adventure I started brainstorming logo ideas. What I ended up designing had some very explicit implications with how it was laid out. Using a clean, well-rounded sans-serif font established a base of modern sophistication. While the extended t's respresented an umbrella that encompasses everything the concept had to offer. Since Tavernita has Spain it its blood, it still had an eclectic mix of old and new, as well as Spanish and American.

Clean, recognizable and fitting the theme

Even in the cold, the logo still stands strong


At the time of it's inception, Tavernita's web elements were not up to me. Sure I helped guide the design here and there, but it was up to an outsourced web team to make the site, and it's design elements that at times weren't necessarily cohesive with the brand elements we were creating in house.

After a year of being in buisness, the site needed a redesign, and I was their guy.

With tens of thousands of unique visitors per month, the site needed to put its big boy pants on

Not that the old site was bad, it just didn't live up to the expected hype of Tavernita. The design direction of the new site needed to let the concept speak for itself.

With full screen imagery, the site did just that

The new site incorporated a full screen flexible layout that let the image speaks for themselves. People needed to be impressed by Tavernita, and the food and the space that the team put together did that, people just needed to see it.

To let the user experience be non-obtrusive, HTML5's new push state was used to dynamically load the content upon each click of a link. This allowed the visitors to feel as if they're never leaving the page, which in turn captivates and impresses them and increases our chances of having them make a reservation.

The old site

The redesign

Did it work? Well the average time on site increased and the click through rate to other content besides menus and hours of operations increased as well.

Since I no longer work with Mercadito Hospitality as a client, the site has gone under a few minor revisions. Even though a new company has stamped their ownership on the site, the foundation of the design is still based of my original idea.


Let's just say the best part about taking pictures for Tavernita was being able to eat what I photographed afterwards.

With such an excellent PR push for Tavernita from Isabelli Media Relations, I was lucky enough to have my photographs published in some amazing mediums. Here's some of my work.

Pork belly bocadillos

The Lounge at Tavernita

mmmm, pork

Tavernita's dining room

Dirty pig on fire


To push Tavernita and build the hype before it was opened, I created videos that showcased a little bit of what goes into the concept during the creation. From the interior design team, to the beverage consultants, to the chef, all in attempts to increase visiblity of the brand and keep the buzz going. Here are a few videos that I did during that process. To view all of them, visit Mercadito Hospitality's Vimeo page.

Showing off some of the fresh fish from Supreme Lobster

Fresh ingredients from the Green City Market

After our soft opening, we needed a video that showcased the concept and got people in the doors. I created this after months or filming for the mini-concept videos and I think what we ended up with was pretty cool.