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.