The restaurant is set in the Carnation Milk factory building in San Diego’s East Village neighborhood. Studio Simic’s husband-and-wife team—industrial designer Srdjan Simic and interior designer Dara Simic—was approached by the former owner of the Corner Bar, Cooper McLaughlin, and his business partner, chef Jason Gethin, to re-invent the space for approachable fine dining in the trendy area.
Designers were tasked with a complete remodel of the existing two-story restaurant in the factory, which was originally built in 1919. The main entrance to the space was moved from 10th Street to J Street with the addition of a dramatic, large red metal and glass pivot door and a wood-slatted and metal awning. The former entrance now serves as a storefront window that provides a glimpse into an open kitchen.
In front of the chef’s bar is a family-style table with seating for 10—the inspiration for the restaurant’s name. Hanging above the rustic wood table framed in raw steel are red rope light fixtures with antique-style sockets. The same lighting concept, color scheme, and usage of materials are repeated upstairs to unify the two spaces. The old main entrance staircase is now used as the food runners’ staircase, which is hidden from diners’ view by a reclaimed teak wood-slatted screen.
Custom banquette seating was added around existing architectural elements in the open dining area. The main dining was changed to an open plan by eliminating existing low walls and part of the subfloor to open it up to the staircase and entry below. A large chandelier painted in red highlights this area. The relocated main bar now includes both a seated area and a standing bar table for additional space servicing the bar area and waiting guests.