The Iron Horse Grill
The rebirth of an iconic landmark

From the armour smokehouse to a true landmark icon that celebrates Mississippi’s rich heritage, the story of how The Iron Horse Grill went through fire to be reborn is the one to be experienced.


consulting web design copywriting client side programming CMS e-commerce

The context

The Iron Horse Grill is a legendary iconic landmark in Jackson, Mississippi, a place where music, history and food meet. Originally built as an armour smokehouse in 1906 the building is now a part of cultural heritage in the area with a strong vintage industrial feel. After the big fire in 1999 the building was abandoned until it rose from the ashes again as The Iron Horse Grill. The place is leaning strongly on the Mississippi’s blues and rock music tradition and combines it with authentic cuisine into a unique social venue.

The concept

The Iron Horse as a building and as a club has a strong and unique story, one that begs to be told. We turned to the parallax effect as it is an efficient way to present a narrative. By putting the story in focus the idea was to capture the feeling of the place as that will drive people to come and visit. The rest of the content was organized around the main story, conceptually following the same line of presentation. Other sections — a detailed floor plan, upcoming events, reservations, menus, merchandize — all follow the same graphic style and invite the user to explore. By using the already established visual identity and style we strived to build a simple yet communicative presentation.

The work

The first step was obviously to build a teaser website for the time while the place was being rebuilt and renovated. Then we moved on to the real thing. We strongly leaned on client’s visual identity and widened the existing set of graphical elements to effectively tell the story online. Building a parallax homepage was a process where we experimented with elements and screens a lot and adjusted them along the way. Initially we started with a storyboard, knowing it will change as ideas emerge. Such interactive approach to design through prototyping was more time consuming but gave better results.

The virtual tour integrated interactive floor plans with photo galleries to give visitors both the overview of the building as well as an insight into the details of its decoration. The events page references vintage poster designs and translates it into an interactive experience, with users being able to zoom in and expand the details of each act.

The visual style of the website relies on custom-set typography, rich textures and decorative elements, and a specific dark and warm color palette to create a vintage but unique look and feel that matches the atmosphere of the venue well while also supporting the interactive narrative concepts seamlessly.

Behind the scenes we have built a sophisticated custom CMS that is simple to use which is important for managers who run a day-to-day operation. Being able to focus on your work and not having to deal with software systems is important. At the same time, CMS allows a great scale of flexibility should demands for new functionalities emerge. We are even ready if the owners decide to add another floor to the building.

We turned to the parallax effect as it is an efficient way to present a narrative. By putting the story in focus the idea was to capture the feeling of the place as that will drive people to come and visit.

The results

The Iron Horse is a place where people go to eat and have fun, while also learning about the history and enjoying this unique environment. Their website needs to be convincing, authentic, atmospheric, and represent the physical space well. It also needs to serve as a communication tool and allow customers to discretely interact with services or staff.

Fiktiv has created a website that accomplished these goals and added something extra special to the feel of it — that’s probably why it has received a lot of positive feedback from online and onsite visitors, as well as the client.


built a well aligned online presentation
visitors identify website with physical space
unobtrusive CRM functionalities
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