A Modern Restaurant Honors its Architectural History

Located in a historic brick and timber building in San Francisco’s Mission District, The Abbot's Cellar is on the site of the former Valencia Hotel, which was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. Completed in July 2012, the 2,990 square foot design for the restaurant space focused on honoring the rich history of the building and the lineage of old-world craft beer brewing that originated in Monasteries hundreds of years ago. The challenge was to use the design elements and materials to enhance the existing space without becoming kitschy.

Mary Polizzotti
  • Photo credit: Ryan Hughes
    Something Old, Something New
    Designed by Lundberg Design; Olle Lundberg, designer; Ryan Hughes, designer/project manager

    Early on, Chef Adam Dulye coined The Abbot's Cellar's design mantra as “rustic elegance,” which informed the design and material decisions. The goal was to leave as much of the existing structure exposed as possible, and to have the new design elements and materials feel as if they have been there a long time, working in harmony with the existing space.   

  • Photo credit: Ryan Hughes
    Reclaimed, Reused, Recycled
    Designed by Lundberg Design; Olle Lundberg, designer; Ryan Hughes, designer/project manager

    The walls feature bricks reclaimed from the rubble of the 1906 earthquake. This resourceful reuse of bricks inspired the material choices—reclaimed barn wood siding and flooring, recycled denim insulation (for acoustical absorption), recycled steel, and recycled beer bottles as aggregate in the bottle-shaped sink.  

  • Photo credit: Ryan Hughes
    Consciously Tactile
    Designed by Lundberg Design; Olle Lundberg, designer; Ryan Hughes, designer/project manager

    Rough materials were balanced with smoother materials for the parts of the project that get touched by guests. All of the furniture (custom booths and banquettes, custom tables and stools, and chairs) is built from walnut, sanded smooth in contrast to the rough barn wood. The extensive beer menu is built into the table—part of the walnut edge of the table is the spine of the menu, held in place to the table by hidden magnets. 

  • Photo credit: Ryan Hughes
    Beer Bottle Basin
    Designed by Lundberg Design; Olle Lundberg, designer; Ryan Hughes, designer/project manager

    The counters, sink, oven cladding, and high top tables are all custom concrete with exposed pea gravel aggregate, ground smooth. The custom concrete sink offers a surprising and whimsical exclamation mark at the hallway in the back of the space—the basin is shaped like a beer bottle, and the aggregate inside the basin is from recycled beer bottles.  

Designers
Lundberg Design; Olle Lundberg, designer; Ryan Hughes, designer/project manager
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