Key West Cafe, Cleveland, Ohio
An unfortunate victim of the economic recession of the late 2000s, the Key West Café was a second-floor tenant of The Galleria at Erieview in downtown Cleveland’s East Ninth Street business corridor. For the better part of a decade, the Key West Café provided a refreshing and recharging getaway at the end (or middle) of the work day.
Developed in the 1980s by the noted local development company, The Richard E. Jacobs Group, the Galleria has long served as one of only two sizable retail facilities in the city’s central business district (the other being Forest City Enterprise’s Tower City Center at Public Square). The crisply monumental style of architect Kober/Belluschi Associate’s design for the Galleria tends to fight applied exterior signage.
So, when contemplating tenancy within the somewhat anonymous glass-and-spandrel prism of the Galleria’s northwest corner overlooking East Ninth Street, the owners of Key West Café turned to Rick Zimmerman of ZZ Design to create an appropriate street presence. Pictured here is Rick’s free-standing sculptural ‘lollipop’ sign of die-cut metals, neon and vivacious Caribbean colors.
This sign, shown here reflected in the modern façade of The Galleria, carries forth the message of Key West Café’s logo, marketing and branding: nighttime fun and festivity accompanied by signature island fare — seafood, fruit salads, tropical drinks, Haitian ‘jerk’ entrees and other Caribbean specialties. Completing the presentation were modest prices, live music, island art and artifacts, plentiful plants and casually-attired staff.
The design of this exterior pole sign was also manifest as the restaurant’s brand logo, and appeared as well on menus, interior décor, staff uniforms and promotional items.
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