Born & Raised is a renovated former 1930s-era drugstore transformed into a “Mid-century Modern meets Art Deco” fine-dining steakhouse. This timeless and opulent 250-seat concept is anchored by designer Paul Basile’s unparalleled craftsmanship. Nearly every thoughtful embellishment throughout the 10,000-square foot space is custom designed and built in-house. While unexpected challenges from airport safety regulations to building a second-story addition ballooned the project budget to $6.5 million and the timeline to nearly three years, the veteran designer and owners, CH Projects, remained steadfast with a final product that was well worth the investment for San Diego.
Situated on the bustling corner of India and Fir in Little Italy under a warm neon emblem, Born & Raised pays homage to the classic Mid-century American steakhouse. The façade is comprised of more than a mile of dark green-powder coated hot rolled steel tube scrim. At the front, an Art Deco-inspired entryway showcases walnut veneer with multi-dimensional curves. Faceted, saw-tooth, beveled glass windows give passersby a peek in to see the restaurant’s design, one that expresses the grandeur of a third-wave chophouse and is playfully activated by tuxedo and sneaker-clad servers propelling tableside cart service.
The main downstairs dining room opens to expansive seating area that includes oversized custom camel leather booths with imported Italian green marbled table tops and brass accents. Deco-inspired fluted glass sconces are found tableside while vintage-inspired globe pendants and antique sconces sourced internationally are found throughout. The immaculately detailed ceiling is comprised entirely of book-matched walnut veneer sourced from a single walnut tree out of Northern California. Walnut veneer also covers the expanse of the main dining room including tambour paneling on both walls and seating, molding details, and custom parquet flooring inlayed with terrazzo and brass.
Without a doubt, the showstoppers in the main dining room are the 8 columns crowned with LED-top lit “blooms.” These illuminated “dendriform blooms” give the ceiling a warm ambient glow. A forty-five foot long cocktail bar features more imported green Italian marble. Its custom twenty-six tap system is built around the“bloom” columns – marrying form with function.
Near the custom, bent-brass finished hostess stand, guests ascend a suspended steel staircase under a light well that pours natural light in from the new second-story addition. The staircase is clad entirely in vacuum-formed, curved, walnut veneer and trimmed with solid walnut. The staircase was painstakingly installed over four weeks with every piece cut to fit by hand.
With panoramic views of Little Italy, the upstairs design transitions to a “mid-century garden” with black velvet and plaid booths alongside cane wicker detailing. An oversized bar is clad in the same Italian green marbling with an inverted bullnose edge, mirrored ceiling, teak and holly paneling, and a flowering steel trellis, bringing the same “bloom” design elements to the upstairs area.