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FIREHOUSE Gets a Fresh Look & Chef After Decade in Pacific Beach

The group behind Kettner Exchange revisit their beachside spot.

The most recent large-scale project from Matt Spencer and Tyler Charman (Vin de Syrah, Analog), Kettner Exchange, has been getting high marks for both its seriously stunning design and food since it opened last fall. Buoyed by KE's success, the partners brought along members of the team behind the buildout in Little Italy to the beach, where they're working with local firm Tecture (The Patio Restaurants) to design and fabricate custom pieces for the group's refresh of FIREHOUSE American Eatery + Lounge, which opened almost a decade ago in Pacific Beach.

Aiming to reopen shortly, FIREHOUSE will now feature accordion-style, floor-to-ceiling glass doors that afford better views of the beach and the boardwalk and custom-made tables created to take advantage of the indoor/outdoor design; after dinner service, the tables can be adjusted to bar height to accommodate the drinking crowd. Wood siding, charred in the shou-sugi-ban style, a Japanese tradition of burning wood to preserve and antique it, wraps along the outside and inside of the space. Upstairs on the rooftop patio, there's a fire feature, four new cabanas, a living wall and a retractable awning.

The million dollar overhaul also includes a new menu from executive chef Jason Maitland (Arterra, Flavor Del Mar), who resurfaces here after a stint as the consulting executive chef of Indigo Grill's revamp last summer. Spencer told Eater that with FIREHOUSE, he wants to add another upscale yet still casual option to the neighborhood that provides good food and service, plus a nice atmosphere. Maitland's menu, which includes daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, upgrades burgers and sandwiches with duck fat fries and add dishes that range from eggs Benedict on glazed doughnuts to a Mexican-inspired seafood cocktail with housemade hot sauce and hand made pappardelle with wild mushrooms, sherry and truffle essence. FIREHOUSE's two bars are updated too; though the cocktails won't be as complex as those at Kettner Exchange, they're decidedly more craft oriented.

Firehouse American Eatery + Lounge

722 Grand Ave, San Diego, CA 92109 (858) 274-3100