Prime, A Shula’s Steak House
Designer: Preen, Inc.
Winning the 2022 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, and others, Prime was designed to challenge the traditional concept of a casino restaurant.
Located atop an 11-story tower in Wild Horse Pass, a casino and resort complex owned by a Native American Community, the restaurant integrates earthy materials and colors to frame and honor the sacred lands as seen from the restaurant’s panoramic walls of glass. Inspired by the Sonoran Desert and Estrella Mountains, the interior incorporates warm woods, raw textures, and rich tones to create an indescribable experience with an unforgettable view.
Prime was conceptualized with three things in mind, says designer Alexis Readinger of US studio Preen, “French, desert, steakhouse.” Overlooking the tribe’s sacred desert and mountains, Prime was designed to echo the pure allure of its surroundings while adding a lightly French aesthetic. The designer added, “the natural landscape was highly influential, from the materials and forms selected to the way we oriented seating to maximize views.”
Readinger entrusted Cortina to contribute to the execution of the design. Pieces like the shellback chairs, their curves alluding to a French aesthetic, are upholstered in Brava Muschio, coupling the beauty of an aniline leather with scratch protection for functionality. The sophisticated and slim-lined bar stools, veiled in Cortina’s Elegante Pearlessance, add a touch of luxury to the pyramidal bar. The end result—an award-winning experience.
By Preen Design principal Alexis Readinger and Designer Taylor Cornell:
“The initial concept for Prime was French, desert, steakhouse. Most of the Shula’s restaurants are traditional steakhouses, but Prime’s menu had more of a French twist/technique. Most important though, was that the restaurant is on the top floor of a Gila River Community casino and overlooks the tribe’s sacred desert and mountains. The natural landscape was highly influential, from the materials and forms selected to the way we oriented seating to maximize views.”
“The FF&E is a direct reflection of those initial concepts. Pieces like the leather shellback chairs, are a mashup of French and steakhouse. They are a nod to traditional leather club chairs, yet their curves are more of a French aesthetic. We partnered them with honed stone tables that bring in that earthy element to that seating condition. Similarly, with the bar situation, we wanted to play with materials that were texturally and formally varied. The pyramidal bar face was made by a Los Angeles-based artist whom we’ve worked with forever. The highly organic finish of that element in conjunction with the statuesque barstools with Cortina’s Elegante leather creates a space that, I think, is really interesting and compelling.”
Designer: Preen, Inc.
Photographer: Brandon Barré
Location: Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Arizona
Restaurant Owner: Shula’s Restaurant Group
Casino Owner: Gila River Resorts & Casinos