Richard Blais Opens San Diego Restaurant
Juniper Hospitality and acclaimed Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais are proud to announce the opening of Juniper & Ivy (J&I), a modernist American restaurant located on the outskirts of San Diego’s historically rich Little Italy neighborhood.
Set in a converted 1920s sawtooth warehouse, J&I presents the regional culinary landscape with a sophisticated dining experience that is as refined as it is playful.
The restaurant is the result of a partnership between owner Michael Rosen, a La Jolla, California-based investment manager of 27 years who trained at London’s prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, Richard Blais, and Atlanta-based Concentrics Restaurants.
In their first “left coast” concept, Blais and the J&I team have culled some of the top talent in the industry including Chef de Cuisine Jon Sloan (formerly of Roy’s San Diego), renowned mixologist Jen Queen, and wine and beverage director Tami Wong (La Valencia Hotel).
Much like the building itself, J&I’s dinner menu has its basis in centuries old and classic techniques, all elevated by modernist elements. Fueled by Blais’ creative energy, the menu will evolve daily based on the chef’s ever-changing inspiration and culinary vision. While the menu will be whimsical in nature, Blais plans to highlight the region’s bountiful fresh ingredients sourced from Baja to Vancouver. The menu from the accomplished culinary team will present guests with refined American food with a left coast edge.
Blais’ locally inspired menu will be complemented by Queen’s innovative craft cocktail offerings and Wong’s thoughtfully curated wine and beverage program. A prominent emphasis will be dedicated to Wong’s approachable wine compilation, a selective list featuring the highest-quality varietals from all corners of the world.
The thoughtfully curated collection is comprised of two sections: “Tried and True,” representing classics and go-to favorites, and “Leap of Faith,” featuring exciting varietals, up and coming regions, and classics that are not readily available. Small production, organic, sustainably produced or biodynamic wines with an emphasis on balance perfectly complement the restaurant’s culinary offerings. Wines are prominently displayed in a two-story wine wall, providing a dynamic visual to the entryway and bar.
Behind the bar, Queen takes the reins over a cocktail program that presents such distinctive creations as the Messenger Pigeon with tequila blanco, lime, arugula soda, and celery bitters and In the Ivy with orange blossom vodka, pressed lemon, blueberry-Riesling emulsion, and ivy tincture.
In the same way as the restaurant menu, the wine and cocktail list will constantly change and evolve on a frequent basis. United by a common vision of elevating the ever-expanding Southern California dining scene, the J&I team is dedicated to creating an unparalleled guest experience complete with unique, never-seen-before elements from the memorable cuisine to the dynamic design aesthetic.
In its design approach, internationally acclaimed The Johnson Studio set out to preserve the integrity of the original architecture of the building while infusing contemporary design elements into the space. To achieve this, the team conserved the remaining concrete shell walls and rustic sawtooth redwood ceiling, maintaining the existing skylights that have been in place for decades.
By adding new custom furnishings and finishes, the team was able to achieve an air of refinement in the space culminating in a polished, yet industrial, environment. Key elements such as the expo kitchen, two-story over bar feature, and custom wine display set the tone for a laid-back atmosphere catering to a wide range of dining patrons.