The story of MACE by Joseph Hadad: from concept and name to strategies for home-delivery
Launched in September 2020, in full pandemic, right behind the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest, Mace by Joseph Hadad celebrates the North African cuisine of the Chef’s childhood.
MACE was conceived as an affordable place, for a larger public, with a brasserie style but animated and full of action, as the lively streets of Tel Aviv or Morocco. The menu has Israel and North African influences, and the interior design is 100% Moroccan. The location is a tribute to Chef Joseph Hadad’s origins: his mother is Moroccan, and he spent his childhood in Haifa.
Moroccan street vibes behind the Romanian Athenaeum
The two-floor space features a downtown location, that hosted a restaurant before, and a corner positioning, with large windows overlooking the Romanian Athenaeum.
Visible from the entrance is a visually appealing „mercato-style” area, with three key elements:
A two-meter-long custom barbecue with natural coal
A skewer glass display, custom made in Budapest
A three-meter-high Moroccan oven that dominates the space. It is covered with tens of colorful mosaic pieces, and its creation took three weeks. The kitchen is open, with a large window towards the street: there is nothing to hide.
The rough wall finish is also a reminiscence of Morocco. The floor is made of concrete and cut patchwork tiles. The decoration consists of jars, copper kitchenware and colorful Oriental carpets.
The underground encompasses a more private space, with Moroccan tables and plants and walls finished in terracotta orange.
The old building created numerous challenges: the basement was flooded and the works took plenty of time and effort. The construction works were carried out by architect Andrei Grosu.
What does MACE mean?
The initial name was Mangal, yet, in order to create a connection with the Caju brasserie, located on the same street, Joseph Hadad chose MACE, again a hint to the essence of taste. Mace is the reddish seed covering of the nutmeg seed, a powerful spice used especially in the Oriental cuisine.
A 100% Grosu Art Studio product
The office Grosu Art Studio fully signs this project, from concept to the consultancy on the pandemic home delivery menu. The branding is signed by Diana Sonia.
For the pandemic period, when most of the clients preferred to order via home delivery, the proposed concept was inspired by comfort food, a street-food-style dish one can eat with their hand. This is how the Mace Express box appeared: a box with four pitas with different fillings and three sauces.
„We suggested a product that is between shawarma and burger, as both are very popular, yet we did not want something as big as shawarma, nor as consistent as the burger, but with the same level of taste and special sauces”, Victor Grosu explains.
Mace Express boxes were extremely successful and are still the most popular choice for home delivery.
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