After successfully redesigning six Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar locations across Ohio, Maryland and Virginia, partners Elie Weiss and Andy Himmel approached Richardson to create a new restaurant concept with a “Live Loud” feel. BOMBA Tacos & Rum was born, a project implement in partnership with Cleveland-based TWIST Creative, which was responsible for naming and branding.

Designing the BOMBA Concept
A celebration of rum and Latin culture is what differentiates BOMBA from other establishments. The energetic attitude of the BOMBA dance serves as the bass line for the experience. And that starts at the entrance, with an illuminated sign made from rapped perforated patina copper panels that set the stage for the outdoor patio’s spiked spirit.

Richardson’s charge: to bring the partners’ vision to life. Rather than another old, stale taqueria, they wanted to introduce an uninhibited, exotic, energetic environment—a vivid backdrop for a different kind of taco bar venue. Taking its experience designing Paladar, Richardson defined a “sister” concept that is smart, adventurous, exotic and sultry.

Inside, an expansive rum display is a focal point. A natural walnut bartop with traditional detailing features a magenta-infused bar face. Guests experience a walk down a Cuban street when they see the elevator gate behind the hostess station and teal hurricane shutters. The bar was designed to radiate energy.

Meanwhile, in the dining room, the combination of communal tables and intimate booths provides a variety of seating options. Full-length retractable doors usher in fresh air and infuse a free-flowing feel into the space. Additional details include brass accents (typical of Spanish furniture), wood cabinetry adorned with cigar boxes, copper-tone lighting like that in rum distilleries, scraps of old furniture that are wood-blocked together, and intimate seating upholstered in teal and fuchsia.

Unleashing the BOMBA Brand
BOMBA embodies the Latin passion for life, for living in the moment. This contagious spirit fueled a wildly popular scene at BOMBA’s premier location in Rocky River, Ohio. Following the successful brand introduction, Paladar Holdings LLC opened its second BOMBA location in Fairlawn, Ohio, in May 2016.

Photography: John Spaulding Photography

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