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October 26, 2017
Reception & Ceremony
The US Grant
Tickets Available Now!

Historic Preservation

Officine Buona Forchetta

Buona Forchetta founder Matteo Cattaneo and BiCE partner and executive chef Mario Cassineri have joined forces for the new Officine Buona Forchetta, a Liberty Station spin-off of the wildly popular South Park pizzeria. Transforming the former naval barracks into an Italian-inspired garage and eatery, the team enlisted the help of Ruland Design Group, a San Diego based firm, who worked to preserve the building’s history while reinventing its purpose for Officine. Having sat empty and unused for over twenty years, Principal Audrey Ruland and her design team were brought in to breathe new life into the space. Blending the building’s history to meld with its reincarnation as one of San Diego’s most beloved restaurants, Officine offers diners a fresh, new experience. Preserving the original stucco textures and existing gray muted paint on the walls, Officine fuses industrial and organic elements with color and surprisingly fun adornments that add intrigue.

Utilizing the historical Spanish Revival-style architecture popularized by Bertram G. Goodhue, lead architect for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park, the 200-seat space includes a 1,500-square foot custom patio and a 1,000-square foot family-friendly outdoor space nestled under an open-air archway overlooking a lush courtyard. Officine’s rear patio includes a playground and protected area for kids to run free in-between bites.

The intimate 1,200-square-foot interior is dominated by three separate stations: the bar, pizza station, and main kitchen, with bright red seating positioned around each to give patrons the opportunity to watch the pizzaiolos and chefs at work. Two gilded pizza ovens sparkle against the muted walls, adding warmth to the space. Found objects add depth and intrigue to the restaurant, including antique farming tools gifted from Mario’s grandmother, a classic Vespa perched atop the bar, and a vintage Fiat that’s been converted into a table for two. Officine at Liberty Station invites patrons to feast on great food and enjoy the deliciously visual environment, all while connecting with the community in honoring the region’s storied military history.

  • Orchid Nominee

  • Project Address:

    2865 Sims Rd

    Project Owner/Developer:

    Matteo Cattaneo and Mario Cassineri

    Owner Contact Name/Email:

    Matteo Cattaneo and Mario Cassineri, lauren@leftcoastpr.com

    Project Architect/Designer:

    Audrey Ruland, Ruland Design Group

Comments

  • Rosalie

    One Vote for Officine. Best Restaurant in town!

  • Crissy King

    Beautiful! Love the red accents all the way to the ceiling and the openness through to the ovens. Great space!

  • Lisa

    Love the design of the restaurant with it’s unique yet “inviting” atmosphere. This is such a great restaurant to hang out with friends and the food is amazing!

  • Betty Amos

    What a cozy and warm environment.

  • Courtney Tibbets

    Such a wonderful restaurant and design! Unique and warm, we love visiting it whenever we are in the area.

  • Erin

    This is an incredible space!!!

  • Kendra

    An amazing restaurant. Every detail in the restaurant is as carefully planned as the food. It has an innovative and fresh look and use of colors that highlight and compliment the impressive pizza ovens while still feeling warm and inviting. We love going here to enjoy the design and the food!

  • Betsy Erickson McCue

    Stunning layout and design! It is so well thought out and perfectly executed! Stunning example of functional design and great aesthetics.

  • Laurel

    Love the design and feel of this space!

  • Chris Dulnikowski

    Such a fun place! We love going there and enjoying the great food. The restaurant design is well planned with the different patios and interior spaces where we can watch the pizzas and food being made. And I love the pop art feel – especially the red accents and the Fiat table!

  • Vanessa Allen

    Really enjoyed the ambiance – the colors reflect the character of the food, the staff and the vibrancy of Liberty Station. A really welcoming place to be!

  • Vicki Smith

    I went to Buona Forchetta in Liberty Station for the first time this past weekend. What a hoot! It’s one of the most uniquely designed, whimsical, warm and friendly restaurants I’ve been to in San Diego or really anywhere. The attention to detail, from the separate “spaces” (bar, pizza, cooking area) in an old Italian style to a phone charging station (who does that?) to the super cool manager’s office in the loft (entry by ladder only) to the Fiat table for two, pop art on the wall and great outdoor seating. Add delicious and authentic Italian food to the mix and I’m sold. In fact I was recommending it to coworkers today, which is not something that I typically do. I’ll definitely be back!

  • Kara Peter

    Come for the gnocchi and stay for everything else. My bucket list includes eating in the Fiat table for two. This place defines what design and proper space planning can do for a patron. It is so visually stimulating and your eyes get drawn up throughout the space. The tractor chairs which retract back under the bar is pure genius, they permanaently tuck back in. The pop of the reds, whites, and gold are uses of the mixed industrial lighting and metals evolve around the big gold mirrored ovens. The food and space revolve around where you cook and it is the heart of the restaurant. The smells from the wood pizza fill the inside and outside space.

    Liberty Station is a huge family place where outdoor dining is preferred. The front and back patios are different, yet embrace the community of multi-gernational families who can dine. Some of the places at Liberty miss that mark. The outdoor play area is another hook to keep the families coming back. The phone charging station will keep the young. The food, wines, and amazing service will keep everyone here. Best part, design should take risks and the huge portrait with it’s nod to 420 is not only captivating, but says, I am progressive and I am bold.

    Buona Forchetta is hands down one of the best designs in San Diego and it is so refreshing to see something which is completely different, open, and with such foresight in planning.

  • Elisa

    Love it!!

  • Jordan Goodman

    What an incredible way to preserve this historic space while updating it to become a fun, unique and stand out space! Pair that with Buona Forchetta’s incredible cuisine and you’ve got a winning combination! Ruland Design Group did an outstanding job on this project, one of San Diego’s best.

  • Sara Young

    We stumbled upon the Buona Forchetta in South Park when they first opened and it’s become one of our regular places. We ate the Liberty Station location this past weekend. Absolutely beautiful! Love the small touches like the Vespa and Fiat inside the building. Its’s cool and hip without being overdone. So glad they are successful.

  • Brittany Teeter

    I had my birthday dinner this year at Officine Buona Forchetta and it was outstanding! Not only was the food absolutely amazing, but the space is so inviting and inspiring! Such a great place to celebrate!

  • Lauren Winget

    My favorite restaurant! The space is beautiful, and the atmosphere of the staff, the ambiance, (and of course, the food), make you feel as though you’ve been transported to the Italian countryside! Bravo, Officine!

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Orchids & Onions is an educational and fundraising program of the San Diego Architectural Foundation, a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization dedicated to education and the promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region.

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