An evening out for Pizza or Spaghetti at this new Italian dining spot is just what Emma needs tonight! Ethan has secured a table on the upper Patio. Let's see what chef has on the menu and enjoy this lovely architecture.
This Friendly neighborhood restaurant, designed by Wes Talbott - formerly of the LEGO Elves team, has been placed just a few miles from downtown Heartlake City -- as we can see its skyscrapers in the distance. Having designed so many of the whimsical Elves sets, it's a pleasant surprise to see such a realistic creation from Wes.
This is a very wide box, with the now standard doodle graphics on the flanges and the "teamwork" heart motif with the 5 Friends.
Box back let's us see inside the kitchen and a few cameo insert images of features and activities.
Thumb-push tabs seem to be more common on large boxes now; they used to be only on small ones. My box was smashed a bit coming to the USA from the EU; it can't stand on its own, so I've had to photograph it lying flat -- which isn't ideal, since it's as big as Mia's House box.
The "scene slice" side of the box is always fun to me and this one has Chico photo-bombing!
Top of the box shows various pieces and elements of the set with a small brick collage (suggesting parts can be used for other creations, of course!), along with the names of our mini-dolls in this set; plus Emma as the part-size-ratio.
The other side has more brick collage and the newer LEGO Life ad.
Box contents are 5 numbered bags of parts, a 135+ page instructions book, a 16x16 tan baseplate, and one sticker sheet -- which was not in protective plastic against the instructions book; luckily mine are not bent or damaged.
Bag 1 of parts contains the new Teal brick separator and rare Azure scooter. Plus we get Lavender Kitchen accessories!
The inner bag of bag 1 seems to be a prank already!
We must open that inner bag to first build 2 of our mini-dolls and scooter. A mysterious character indeed. Emma's Aqua helmet with hair piece is only otherwise in 41351 Creative Tuning Shop
We get our first of the new for 2019 printed Spaghetti with meatballs round 2x2 tile! Although not new, the 1x1 square Teal tiles are only otherwise in Minecraft.
Then our first building is the trash dumpster -- per instructions we insert those 2 orange fish, the Lavender hand-held mixer, a fork and a knife. Although throwing away perfectly good stuff is confusing, the fact that we do something with those accessories -- rather than just setting the pile aside the whole build -- is clever and smart.
There is a sticker which gets applied to the front of the dumpster, yet I am going to build the set first without stickers -- to help demonstrate their effectiveness for presentation. Of course Chico and Vega don't mind ...
With all of bag 1 parts assembled, we have a very solid base of the entire restaurant. I don't recall previous sets of structures that we don't at least build part of a wall in the first stage, so this is interesting. Building the bathroom floor with inlaid Teal tiles is good for learning to do this ahead of time in our own creations.
Basically, bag 1 allows for decent building and playing; the dumpster is fun and the grey stone buffet-looking counter lets us use the Lavender accessories once again. Plus make Lasagna and get to savor the new Spaghetti tile!
Bag 2 parts contains a new colored part for 2019 - Medium Nougat 2x2x3 Roof Tile with 73-grade. Mini-doll head with glasses is new in this shade combo. Although not new, the Chef torso hasn't been in Friends since 2013's Downtown Bakery.
Meet Lillie ~ our Chef! She's wearing the same hat as Olivia in her Cupcake Cafe, and sand blue pants as seen in Mia's House. Since we've had to open bag 2's inner bag, let's see if there are any new or rare parts. Yes, the Medium Stone Grey "inkwell" piece (1x1 plate with shaft) and rare only in 3 other sets.
She has a pen and the Reservation List for tonight -- so we better get building!
With parts from bag 2 added to our foundation, you can see a Bathroom! No Friends building can be without one, right. Nougat brick-bricks start our wall support, and we've added more smooth tiles and a holder for the Menu "book" inside the entrance. We also get to build a salad bar buffet -- complete with strawberry cupcakes, bread, plus Oil and Vinegar dressing. Such a fine use of neat parts - just mind the greens, because they are loose in the bowl.
Now that Lillie is busy supervising the restaurant build, let's look at her photograph. She has nougat-colored rim glasses and dark azure eyes. As mentioned earlier, her chef's jacket first appeared in 2013, yet the hat is new for 2019. It is hard plastic (the reddish-brown hair part is not rubbery), and her sand-blue pants are also worn by Mia's mom Ann.
Emma's photo shows us the same top in her Art Studio, yet paired with an Aqua skirt -- no doubt to match her helmet (only in 41351).
Here is Pra ... err, Ethan wearing his regular sand green hoodie. Neither his black crash helmet or visor are new parts, just new to Friends; for 2019 it's found only otherwise in Star Wars.
Bag 3 parts give us the new Medium Stone Grey dome with 32-diameter (cylinder hemisphere).
The inner bag holds the new-in-white Window Arch 1x2 with jumper top (only otherwise in Hogwart's Castle 2018 set in Tan).
Bag 3's inner bag parts include the aforementioned white arch pieces, and new for 2019 trans orange 1x1 round tiles.
First we get to build the stone Oven! I love it!
The rest of bag 3 parts added give us the first floor, angled doorway, enclosed patio, arched railing for stairs, and our oven -- perfect for Pizza!
Interior-wise, we add the bathroom door, cooking accessories (again, using/adding them throughout the build is great!); then to be safe -- we install a fire extinguisher by the door.
Bag 4 parts gives us more white arch pieces, the newer Lantern piece, and rare Cool Yellow 1x8x2 Brick with Inside Bow (arch) - only in Ariel's Undersea Palace (2015); more new pieces appear in the inner bag.
Bag 4's inner bag holds more Spaghetti! Plus, plus we get new bright red half-circle tiles.
Parts from bag 4 allow us to add seating for both patios -- which we build independent and install. I love doing that! Those bright red half-circle tiles become Napkins! But of course, right? It is those details we Friends-fans crave.
The flora decorations get a 2-tone green Arbor Vitae looking bush to complement the corner. The blank black "chalkboard" menu under the Lantern will be written on before we finish ... I'm continuing my non-sticker build for comparison later.
Now we install the stone sideboard counter into the kitchen, which we built from bag 1 parts.
Bag 5 parts contain a rare Dark Green 1x6x3 Wall with studs - only otherwise in City 60220 Garbage Truck, and new for 2019 color of Bright Red for those corner plates with a 45-degree angle.
The inner bag contains a few more new pieces and new colors.
Inner bag of bag 5 gives us the new-for-2019 plant with 3 leaves and shaft part (first found in CMF), and the new-for-2019 curvy 1x1x2/3 plates with outside bow in Bright Red, Bright Orange, and Bright Reddish Violet (Magenta). These curvy plates first appeared in TLM2 in pink; however, it wouldn't surprise me if they were actually designed by Wes, or the LEGO Friends team to use as the terra-cotta roof tiles. Because, well ... they are perfect for this!
We also have this set to thank for Purple Ice Cream Scoops!
I had to double check that we didn't have Magenta 1x1 plates (dots) before this set. Hard to believe it's new for 2019 and in only 2 other sets (Emmett and Lucy's Escape Buggy, LEGO House Dinosaurs).
Here I'm showing the underside support build-up for the roof sections above the entrance alcove. The red hinge rockers are the key to the slant. So far I am very happy and enjoying this process of creating terra-cotta rooftops. The curvy tiles attach very snugly, so be sure to have the red corner plate at the correct angle before applying; they aren't easy to remove quickly.
This also gives you a view of the Trellis above the upper patio area. You don't really see it well in the product photos.
The lovely grape bunches have been added to the sign base, and hung along the trellis. Isn't it beautiful!
This is as far as I can go without applying stickers. As it is now, it rivals any Creator restaurant, in my opinion.
The way the grape cluster under the sign is built is classic Elves style.
So now we have added all of bag 5 parts and the overall restaurant is ready for diners!
Even though we use a sticker for the "La Locanda" sign, it is a lovely design with hints of Art Nouveau lime green motifs. The shape of Italy almost looks like steam rising from the heaping plate of Spaghetti!
Everything we build is now complete. I decided not to add the dumpster stickers. Sorry Prankzy, I just couldn't cover those shiny new green tiles. Not to worry those who have watched "Girls on a Mission" though, his black helmet is there (although I wonder where he hid his motorcycle?) and a few other items of evidence of his visit.
No matter, Ethan is there waiting for Emma, and Lillie has the Menu ready ...
Looking at the back/inside of this Italian spot, we can see Emma and Ethan are sharing a plate of Spaghetti ("When the moon hits the sky ..." naw, that's a different story ;-) as Lillie checks the Salad and Dessert Buffet.
Oh, did you see those green and black spray paint cans under the sign? Yep! Graffiti, oh gosh. Prankzy did visit! LOL
Chico and the dumpster kitty (who we all know as Vega) are deciding who jumps the shark, err, for the fish ...
The bathroom under the stairs is a great design which teaches building-in aspects. I didn't have the heart to adhere a sticker to that shiny new rare solid brown door either. So, you can have a close-up look at the stickers after our Cat Friends :-)
Plus, a close-up of our adorable kitties -- which will make loads of cat fans happy who have been asking for more in a single set.
Vega and Chico ~ best diving buddies now ;-)
Sticker sheet -- #6 tag and #7 the forlorned pizza and the P+E compliments of Prankzy ...
Spare parts are always welcome and with this bunch, I hope the extra new plant piece truly is an extra (in that, hope I didn't miss a step), because it's wonderful.
One more look at the whole scene:
The Teal cushioned seats and tables with purple tops are built independent of the structure and then installed; so you could move them around if wanted.
The Salad/Dessert Bar would make more sense inside -- yet would most likely need lots of space. The restaurant is more of a quaint cafe this way.
What's hard to appreciate from my images is above the front door are those 2 white 4x4 curved pieces, which add nice depth to the angled door in the exterior alcove.
The hostess stand has a shiny dot, which I'd image as a bell, since Lillie will be busy. The reservation list and pen sit there. The nougat shelf for the Menu is such a great representation of real-life.
Real-life is what comes to mind about so many aspects of this restaurant. Rumors that Friends would have a licensed eating place swirled around online before the proper images could appear. Comparisons to "Olive Garden" eateries are quite wide-spread. Perhaps when this set becomes available in the USA and Canada the first of August, we'll see a lot of happy builders within Friends fan-base, as well as general LEGO builders. Building a place you can actually visit (and eat there) should prove enticing!
Apparently there is at least one restaurant named "La Locanda" in the USA; it does have arched entryways between rooms, and spaghetti is the specialty. Whether this was any inspiration, only Wes knows -- for now.
Designing a realistic set, while also adding the storyline for younger builders to engage, is the perfect pairing of style and details, plus respect for level of skill. You can play a bit as you go, yet that doesn't impede serious construction. I remember mention of sets that would make AFOLs happy coming this year for Friends -- this must be a taste. I'm already hungry for more!
It's hard to pick out a favorite building aspect or process, because honestly, I've enjoyed the entire box of contents. I learned new techniques and had day-dreams of others along the way. Even though I built for review purposes, I still had a fun LEGO-time. Other than making it larger to accommodate the buffet table where customers are, there isn't much I would want to modify. Honestly though, combing 2 of these sets might be really enjoyable!