A restaurant must create a sense of place. From beginning to end dining is an experience--from a personal getaway to an evening out-- which when all the notes are hit guests may reach a personal place. Sure, they may just be dining, but if the parts work well together a greater whole may be achieved.
The question is how to create a sense of place? Everyone must believe the story. Not a made up or conceived story, rather just the story behind the restaurant, what it is, how it integrates the many facets of dining, allowing for an alignment of facts which when combined show and tell a great story and pull diners into a new place. The restaurant is the environment, the food and service are the experiences and the story is the catalyst which sparks the events and allows for the creation of such a place.
Without a catalyst, nothing happens. We must then focus on who we are, what we provide, believe in it and allow ourselves to create the catalyst which will exemplify a sense of place.