The Lucky Monk’s Dramatic Transformation on a Budget

With a prime location just off the Northwest Tollway next to the AMC South Barrington 30 multiplex theater, this location is a favorite of moviegoers and residents in the Northwest Suburbs.
The right mix of food, drink and atmosphere is sure to bring a lot of business in the door. In order to take advantage of a great opportunity, the challenge was to create a fresh concept on a limited budget.
 The Lucky Monk in South Barrington, IL is a reconcept of the former Brass restaurant. The remake included a new name, a new menu, revised kitchen equipment to accommodate the menu, as well as a new look and feel to the space. The Lucky Monk is a pizza, burger and beer concept with an extensive list of quality microbrews, including many brewed in-house. Its name, The Lucky Monk, is a reference to the Trappist Monks of Belgium, who are master brewers.
The owner, Phil Thiem of Royal Management, hired Aria Group to achieve the most dramatic transformation possible on a limited budget. Aria Group’s successful interior design involved minimal demolition and maximum use of existing materials, while still changing the ambience of the space so as to be nearly unrecognizable from its former self. With the removal of interior partitions, Aria Group opened up the space and introduced new floating ceiling elements, floor materials, and millwork low walls to completely redefine the layout of the space.


The bar was relocated to create a feature island bar area, which also included opening an adjacent wall to feature the restaurant’s existing brew tanks through new glazed openings. New wall finishes were employed in many areas, whereas some spaces maintained existing brick and millwork, exemplifying how a skillful mixing of old with new can create an entirely different identity.


A dramatic new lighting design scheme puts the finishing touch on The Lucky Monk’s new atmosphere. Deep awnings over existing windows along with building lighting completely alter the structure’s exterior image at a minimal cost.
Aria Group Architects, Inc. is a full service, 50 person architectural and interior design firm. For more information about Aria Group, go to or call (708) 445-8400.