This set depicts the Crab Cooker restaurant in Newport Beach, California. The Crab Cooker has a vivacious, fun environment with a busy interior full of details and an exterior with bright bold colors of red, green, and white. I felt the look AND feel of the Crab Cooker could be faithfully captured in LEGO and so I built this set.
My primary goal in the set is to bring both adults and children together. The set is large with some complex techniques that most adults will find the build very engaging. Once built, the open layout invites children to play and storytelling with minifigs naturally ensues. One can easily imagine walking your minifig family into the restaurant, being seating, a waiter taking orders, waiters going back and forth to the kitchen, a customer running back outside to pay the parking meter, etc. Even crazier stories about the shark coming alive and the various artifacts being used to save the restaurant can make for some fun storytelling. In summary, adults will love to build it and children will love to play with it.
The set is built to minifig scale. The exterior uses SNOT techniques and jumper plates to create gradual recessions to be faithful to the actual restaurant. Perhaps my favorite aspect of the restaurant is the use of tiling in the name of the restaurant. This use of tiling looks very much like the actual font used on the Crab Cooker and brings the build to life. On the interior, minifig hat plumage is given an entirely different application in creating a metal archway over the cash register. The highlight of the interior is the faithful reproduction of the shark hanging from chains above the dining tables.
If this were to be made into an actual LEGO set, I would change four things. 1) I would add a whole cast of minifigs to ensure play with the set. I can imagine a fun variety of minifigs to be customers, receptionists, waiters, chefs, etc. 2) I would add more portraits to the paintings. I used treasure maps as I thought they would maintain the ambience of the sea but if I could have more 2x2 tile prints made of portraits, I would for this set. 3) I would make the mermaid reddish brown as the mermaid in the restaurant is a wooden sculpture. 4) I would add stickers or printed tiles in two places. I would add "Eat Lots A Fish" in gold lettering on the reddish 1x8 brown plate above the cash register. I would also add "Don't Look Up Here" on the red fish above the facade over the sidewalk. This lettering would cement the look and feel of the Crab Cooker.
I hope you enjoyed viewing this set. Please do vote on this set so we can enjoy building it and playing with our kids on this set.