The question Eater's been getting asked the most lately is, "What's up with that Richard Blais project?" so we checked in on the status of Little Italy's Juniper & Ivy, a joint venture between Blais and Michael Rosen of Juniper Hospitality, and Rosen kindly gave Eater a hard hat tour of the restaurant, which is currently scheduled for a February opening.
Rosen attended the Le Cordon Bleu in New York while working in the investment business there, but Juniper & Ivy is his first hospitality endeavor. He'd been a fan of Blais' appearances on Top Chef, and approached the chef a few years ago about opening a restaurant in San Diego. If you've been following along, you'll know that Blais relocated here from Atlanta earlier this year.
In addition to the 90-year-old building that's being transformed into Juniper & Ivy, Rosen owns the entire corner at Kettner and Juniper and will turn a portion of it into a parking lot for the restaurant.
The restaurant will open onto a central bar, flanked on one side by a two-story wine wall; a glass-enclosed private dining room will be perched above.
Just below will be a main dining room, which will be able to be curtained off into sections for more intimate dining, and an open kitchen; including the side patio, there will be seating for 200. Look for lots of skylights, natural wood and a palette of blue and camel.
Rosen doesn't want Juniper & Ivy to be a special occasion restaurant but hopes it'll be a destination for adventurous palates seeking a serious dining experience combined with the energy of a great cocktail bar. Though the menu is still being refined, it'll have everything from seafood crudo to meat and vegan options; for fans of Blais' work in molecular cuisine, there will be touches of it, but the techniques won't dominate the plates.
· All Juniper & Ivy Coverage on Eater [~ESD~]
· All Plywood Report Coverage on Eater [~ESD~]