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Mint Restaurant

The Issue

When an entrepreneur opened her second restaurant, she was excited to run a fun, neighborhood spot for casual dining and hanging out. What she didn’t realize is that it would be so loud. Noise control was necessary, but the owner didn’t want an acoustical treatment that would compromise the existing design. AlphaSorb® Fabric Wrapped Acoustic Panels were custom made and strategically placed to blend into the background, decrease noise, and increase overall intelligibility of sounds.

About the Client

Mint Restaurant in Richmond, VA opened as a sister spot to Amy Cabaniss’s existing eatery Julep’s, located downtown. Mint was designed for refined, casual dining. Large mirrors and an elegant-looking bar contrasted with flat-screen televisions airing sporting events and an affordable ‘snacks’ section on the menu.

Cabaniss said when opening her second restaurant, “I want people to have a lot of fun [at Mint]. It’s not going to be as quiet, I guess. Julep’s is a fine-dining restaurant, so the focus is much different [than at Mint]. So, I really want it to be a neighborhood restaurant.”

Mint gained a strong following early on, becoming exactly what Cabaniss envisioned for her “neighborhood restaurant,” The only problem? When the seats and bar were full, it got loud. So loud that wait staff and bartenders had a hard time communicating with each other and patrons.

The Challenge

Cabaniss contacted Acoustical Solutions. She asked if they could come up with a noise control treatment that would comply with the following:

  • Be as unobtrusive as possible. Cabaniss loved the existing design and layout of Mint. She didn’t want to compromise its appeal by adding panels or other treatments that would stand out.
  • Reduce the overall noise level. OSHA states that decibel levels of around 80 to 85 may be dangerous to workers’ hearing if they are exposed for long periods of time. When the bar was crowded, average dB levels were too close to this volume.
  • Bring down the reverberation. Reverberation is the reflecting and deflecting of sound waves off of hard surfaces. This decreases the intelligibility of speech, music, and television programs.

Treatment Provided

Acoustical Solutions installed AlphaSorb® Fabric Wrapped Acoustic Panels on the front and back walls, which were the largest bare surfaces in the restaurant and the biggest problem areas. The back wall was where the kitchen, wine racks, and bar all met, and where wait staff had the most trouble communicating. The front wall, next to the entrance, is where most of the seating is, and where diner’s conversations got lost in the reverberation. These panels were made in a color closely matching that of the existing paint.

Black AlphaSorb® Fabric Wrapped Acoustic Panels were also custom-made and installed along a black HVAC duct above an alcove with additional seating. Alcoves are problem areas when it comes to acoustics because sound waves get trapped in these narrow spaces creating echo.

The Mint Restaurant uses AlphaSorb wall panels on upper wall surfaces to reduce ambient noise.

The Mint Restaurant uses AlphaSorb® wall panels on upper wall surfaces to reduce ambient noise.

The Result

After the treatment was installed, wait staff noted the change in acoustics, even before customers arrived. Reverberation and noise were decreased, and the treatment was hardly noticeable unless pointed out.

In the Customer’s Own Words

“I think the panels look good and I am happy that it has made some difference with the noise!”

— Amy Cabaniss, Owner, Mint Restaurant

To learn more about how Acoustical Solutions can solve your noise control problems, use our contact form, call one of our Acoustical Sales Consultants at (800) 782-5742, or visit us on the web at acousticalsolutions.com.