Brandthropology – Through Customer Experience CX Design.
Chicago West Loop – Bandit – Left our Lead Designer Feeling Nostalgic. And Full.
What is Brandthropology?
Brand – thro – po – lo – gy
1. The study of brand experiences and their impact on how we live and what we love.
2. The analysis of brands, the relationships people have with a product, service, company or organization.
3. The learnings acquired from the manifestation of a brand identity, a brand name, its heritage, culture, integrated marketing or other branded action.
4. The understanding of brand ambassadorship, brand preference, loyalty and evangelism through customers, peer groups or other influencers.
As someone who loves new experiences, I’m always excited to try a new restaurant in Chicago–especially in West Loop. My latest discovery is Bandit, a restaurant and bar that opened in 2019. Located at 841 West Randolph Street, Bandit has some stiff competition. But this restaurant and bar gives you a unique experience that you’ll want to return to. Let’s dive into their branded experience as part of our BrandthropologyTM series.
With 90s retro diner decor, Bandit had me feeling nostalgic as I walked up, starting with an old neon sign above the doorway. Upon entering, you can see most of the restaurant space. On the right, there is a DJ stand above a u-shaped bar, hanging lights on the ceiling and a stretch of tables that lead you towards the back of the restaurant with a beautiful outside patio.
We had a reservation and were seated right away (thank you!). I immediately browsed the drink and food menu. They had a nice selection of fruity cocktails and frozen drinks. I ordered “The Samantha” and my friends ordered the “Princess Peach” and “Thunderbird”. Even the cocktail names are nostalgic of 90s games and movies!
The menu has an art-deco style font and muted colors. We ordered a few shareables, the Kung Pao Cauliflower, Crispy Mozz Thiccs, the Diplomat (upscale sliders) and Shrimp Tacos. The food came plated on simple, delicate white plates. Every bite was delicious. The Diplomat and mozzarella sticks felt like they belonged to the dive-y, retro atmosphere. The Shrimp Tacos and Kung Pao Cauliflower didn’t match the rest of the comfort food on the menu, but they were still delicious.
As if the atmosphere and food weren’t nostalgic enough, a trip to the bathroom definitely left me feeling like I was back in middle school. The women’s restroom was covered floor to ceiling and every inch in between with pictures of Justin Timberlake. Photos, magazine covers, yearbook photos and even song lyrics made up this bathroom shrine. Everyone who walked in snapped a photo for their Instagram story. And it gets better, the men’s bathroom is covered with Brittney Spears. Oops, she did it again.
Love it or Leave it?
I loved it! The 90s and early 2000s themed Bandit restaurant and bar left me reminiscing. The nostalgia starts at the door and follows you even to the ladie’s room. The décor, menu and food all made up the experience and the fun, up-beat atmosphere makes it a great place to go with friends. Between the delicious food and nostalgic elements, I’ll definitely go back. Bandit is building its brand and like JT says, “What Goes Around…Comes Around.”