Cohn Restaurant Group Debuts OB Warehouse in San Diego
David and Lesley Cohn of the Cohn Restaurant Group are pleased to announce that OB Warehouse, the latest venture in their growing list of more than 21 award-winning restaurants, opened its doors Aug. 7 in San Diego.
Nestled in the heart of Ocean Beach on the second floor of the former Portugalia building at 4839 Newport Ave., the 6,000-square-foot OB Warehouse brings a casual new eatery to the coastal town’s growing culinary scene. With an innovative global menu by acclaimed Chef Amiko Gubbins and exciting industrial design by Philippe Beltran, OB Warehouse’s creative interiors boasts communal seating, an expansive central bar, and a chic outdoor patio.
“This project has been a long time in the making, and we’re incredibly pleased to bring this fun, world-cuisine dining option to the area,” says David Cohn. “Ocean Beach is a vibrant community known for it’s character and originality, and we’ve created a menu and design that complements the neighborhood.”
Imagined by Chef Amiko Gubbins, the Cohn Restaurant Group’s “Special Ops - Food & Flavor,” OB Warehouse offers fresh California ingredients that mingle with influences from Asia, the Mediterranean, Morocco, and the Middle East.
Serving a wide range of inventive starters, salads, flatbreads, entrées, and desserts, many designed with sharing in mind, Gubbins presents several signature menu items, such as the Golden “SoCal” Crabcakes with honey red chili aioli, the Merguez Sausage Flatbread topped with oven roasted tomato, Feta cheese, and harissa,and the Royal Goan Shrimp Curry served with toasted basmati rice and crispy shallots.
To perfectly complement an array of savory dishes, Gubbins has crafted several desserts such the Coconut Tapioca with crispy phyllo and lemongrass pink guava coulis, and Bittersweet Chocolate Cake finished with espresso sauce and a candied lemon twist.
OB Warehouse’s bar program features a range of hand-crafted, warehouse-themed cocktails such as The Welder, an easy-drinking blend of Kolsch beer, Pavan liqueur, grapefruit juice, and lemon juice, as well as the Forklift, made with Kappa Pisco, St. Germain, orange juice, and a dash of lychee syrup.
The beverage menu also offers an extensive list of more than 50 unusual wines from around the world including varietals from Lebanon, Slovenia, and Greece, and more than 20 draught beer options, focusing on craft beers with a heavy regional emphasis.
The vision for this curated and eclectic space comes from the mind of Philippe Beltran, the Cohn Restaurant Group’s go-to designer, whose repertoire includes 100 Wines Hillcrest, BO-beau kitchen + garden, BO-beau kitchen + bar, and the newly revamped Indigo Grill.
Known for his soulful, old-meets-new aesthetic, Beltran added warmth to the industrial space with procured treasures found on his international travels. Upon entering the second-floor restaurant, guests are transported into an inviting loft-like expanse where vintage artifacts seamlessly blend with modern design.
Within the open-concept OB Warehouse, Beltran created various distinct spaces. The front dining room showcases items such as push carts from India, oversized tables sourced from an old shoe factory in Portugal, and a 1960s gym bench repurposed as lounge seating in a section overlooking the busy Newport Avenue below.
Victorian-era doors, crystal sconces, and bronzed damask wallpaper add an unexpected feminine appeal in the communal dining area. Oversized lighted marquee signs display ‘Food’ and ‘Drinks’ from the ceiling, flanked by an old discarded windmill hanging from exposed rafters above. A colossal typewriter key installation and antique pedal car loom over the expansive U-shaped bar and the room’s focal feature, a bisected 1965 Airstream trailer, functions as a peekaboo display into the working kitchen.
At the heart of every Beltran design is a commitment to repurposing lost and forgotten resources from right in our own backyard. Beltran found local inspiration by reclaiming materials such as discarded scraps of metal, found at the former Ironside Metal Works shop in Little Italy, to line the underside of the oversized bar, as well as recycled wood from an old warehouse downtown.
Amiko Gubbins, Special Ops – Food & Flavor, Cohn Restaurant Group
Chef Gubbins culinary career began by watching her traditional Japanese mother in the kitchen, but her formal training first took life in La Jolla under Ulf Anders and William Gustaf, whom she credits for cultivating her immense appreciation for food and quality ingredients.
After spending time in the kitchens of Cilantros and Pacifica Del Mar, Chef Gubbins served as executive chef of Cafe Japengo where she took home the award for Best Asian for eight years. Soon after, she branched out on her own as chef and owner of the critically acclaimed Parallel 33 in San Diego's Mission Hills neighborhood.
During her time there, Chef Gubbins earned numerous awards including Best Asian, Best Ethnic, Best Fusion, and the prestigious Gold Medallion Award for Chef of the Year. After her time at Parallel 33, Chef Gubbins went to work as the personal chef for music icon Lenny Kravitz before working with Specialty Produce where she selected the freshest produce from the Santa Monica Farmers Market for daily use by local chefs.
Most recently, Chef Gubbins served as executive chef for Sysco San Diego where she brought her culinary experience to the company's vast restaurant base. In her spare time Chef Gubbins practices yoga, surfs, and performs in the Encinitas Guitar Orchestra.
Chef Elias Gonzales, Chef de Cuisine, OB Warehouse
Born and raised in San Diego, Chef Gonzales has worked in kitchens throughout the area with some of the city's most noted culinary talents, such as Antonio Friscia, Christian Graves, and Dwayne Gayle.
Chef Gonzales’ culinary career first began when he worked as a dishwasher at a small Italian bistro in San Diego. He was then offered an opportunity to work with Harrah's Entertainment where he quickly climbed the ranks as a cook. Following his work there, Chef Gonzales moved to Stingaree in the Historic Downtown Gaslamp District and was promoted to a Sous Chef position.
Chef Gonzales then advanced his career by earning the title of executive sous chef at the Hotel Solamar. Here he took on increased responsibility, including handling banquet operations for the entire hotel. Most recently, Chef Gonzales spent time working under Executive Chef Dwayne Gayle at Eddie V's in La Jolla, an invaluable opportunity to ramp up his experience in fine dining.
Akin to Chef Gonzales' deep-rooted love of his hometown is his belief that respect and loyalty are the key ingredients to a successful career, especially in the often-changing world of food. As he embarks on this new, exciting step, working as Chef de Cuisine at OB Warehouse, Chef Gonzales is excited to join the renowned, San Diego-based Cohn Restaurant Group, whose venues embody much of what he treasures about the local area.
He looks forward to a long and rewarding culinary career, and stands by the principal, “If you do what you love, then you’ll never work a day in your life.”