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Designers on the Rise

Featured as the newest "designer on the rise," The Workshop Co-Op sat down with playground's creative director, kristine schnell, for an interview to discuss the ins and outs of hospitality design, why black is the best color and the virtues of silence.

“Design is all about the way we live, where all elements of a space, from the architecture to interiors, graphics to music, come together to create an unforgettable experience.”

Read the full interview here. 


3 Meals & A Bar

Each month we ask one of our favorite San Diegans the question: If you only had 24 hours to show a friend the best that urban San Diego has to offer, where would you take them?

Read the full story here. 


The Best—and Worst—of San Diego Architecture

Social good and public spaces dominated this year’s Orchids & Onions program with big and small developments getting praise or blame. Sponsored by the San Diego Architectural Foundation, the program began in 1976 and this year presented 15 Orchids for good work and four Onions for those that came up short. The eight jurors reviewed scores of nominations from the public, toured 23 of them and announced the results Thursday at the U.S. Grant Hotel.

Read the full story here. 

"Breakfast food meets chic design"

Tacoma’s Proctor District is getting a shiny new breakfast option later this fall: the breakfast-minded Waffle Stop is slated to open in November. Perhaps unusually, it comes partly from a design firm: California-based Playground Agency are working on the Proctor Street space, showcasing plenty of woody textures and white surfaces, and an all-round modern set of fixtures.

On the food side, there’s a commitment to cooking from scratch and with responsibly-sourced ingredients. It should come as little surprise that breakfast and brunch will be a focus, lunch too.

Read the full story here. 


"Coin-Op Game Room Is Downtown’s New Supreme Hangout"

Bringing its unique brand of fun, food and drink to the Gaslamp is the latest location of Coin-Op Game Room. The arcade bar and eatery, which first launched in North Park back in 2013, has since expanded to San Francisco and Sacramento. Its new 7,180-square-foot Sixth Avenue spot is significantly larger than its original 30th Street space, and filled with more than 50 games - retro classics including Pacman, Donkey Kong, and Mortal Kombat, plus pinball machines, Skee Ball lanes and more; gaming even extends to the communal tables, which are inset with multi-game screens.

Read the full story here. 


"Long closed Mission Bay landmark to be converted to bayfront restaurant"

A long shuttered visitor center on Mission Bay that for decades welcomed tourists and locals will be transformed into a waterfront restaurant and event center that will preserve the seashell-shaped building’s distinctive profile.

Earlier this month, the San Diego City Council gave its blessing to a new long-term lease with a San Diego development team to redevelop a 2.6-acre city-owned site on East Mission Bay Drive near the Clairemont Drive freeway off ramp. While the 4,600-square-foot building will primarily function as a casual, counter-service eatery, the redeveloped area will also offer outdoor seating, a children’s play area, public information services, and beach and bike rentals.

The proposed $3 million project, known as Shoreline Mission Bay, will be undertaken by a relatively new hospitality firm, San Diego-based Playground Concepts. It was among six firms that responded to a 2015 city solicitation for proposals.

Read the full story here. 


"More Details Emerge About Mission Bay’s New Waterfront Eatery"

Shoreline will span a casual restaurant, coffee and juice bar and more

Fresh details have been shared about Shoreline, the new hospitality project that will revamp and revitalize the San Diego Visitor Information Center, which sits at 2688 East Mission Bay Drive in Mission Bay Park; built in the 1960s local architect Richard Lareau, the building has been vacant for the last seven years.

Local firm Playground Concepts, which has a background in architecture, design and hospitality, worked with Cushman & Wakefield’s San Diego-based team The Land Group submit a request for proposal (RFP) to the City of San Diego for dibs on the seashell-shaped building, which spans 4,600-square-feet, and was chosen from a large group of applicants.

Read the full article here. 

"New Restaurant in the Works For Shuttered Visitors Center"

A familiar local landmark that's been closed for six years is now heading toward a future as a restaurant site.

For more than four decades, it used to be the City's "visitors information center" on Mission Bay. A lot of San Diegans have fond memories of the complex as a meeting place. For out-of-towners, it was a helpful resource finding and booking hotel rooms and various tourist attractions.

The owners of the bayside restaurant project want Shoreline to become a convenient destination for dining and nightlife. "We think it's absolutely ideal,” says Greg Van de Velde, one of three partners in the venture.

Read the full story and view the video clip here.

"Mission Bay Landmark Transforming Into Waterside Restaurant"

Say hi to Shoreline

A fresh-faced kid on the hospitality block is venturing to place an ambitious, large-scale restaurant venue just steps from the water in Mission Bay. Local design firm Playground Agency, whose work is showcased at North Park’s Chuck Alek Brewery & Tasting Room and Stuffed! in Liberty Public Market, recently launched a hospitality arm, Playground Concepts, that is developing this concept and other potential food and drink-related projects around Southern California. Founders Bradley and Kristine Schnell, together with COO Greg Van de Velde, a restaurant industry vet who was on the founding team of Bottega Americano, will transform a city-owned building that housed the San Diego Visitors Center for four decades until it shuttered in 2010 into a new bayside dining destination dubbed Shoreline.

Read the full article here. 


"Living Small"

Oakland’s first micro apartments are coming to the Nook on Valdez.

The first tenants should be moving into the Nook on Valdez—Oakland’s first micro dwelling—soon. Given the city’s housing crunch, it’s no surprise that micro-unit housing of buildings filled with tiny apartments of less then 300 square feet—about the size of a one-car garage—has arrived.

Such teeny units are typically marketed toward young, single renters—Millennials, perhaps—who often spend a lot of time at work and a lot time at play. They aren’t home much, which makes it easier to manage life in a small space. Plus, the nature of the newest generation of renters is one of economy. They are less materialistic. They have downsized their attachment to things. Micro living suits them.

Read the full story here. 


"STUFFED! Food Truck Preps First Burger Brick & Mortar"

It's rolling into the new Liberty Public Market.

Among the confirmed tenants slotting into the Liberty Public Market project, which now includes a sit-down restaurant, wine bar and beer tasting room among its food and drink options, is the first physical storefront for STUFFED!, a burger concept whose food trucks have roamed city streets since 2013.

Owner Alex Gould, who moved to San Diego after managing restaurants in Philadelphia for the STARR Restaurant Organization, also runs the food trucks parked at Green Flash Brewing Company's locations in Mira Mesa and Poway. His 280-square-foot food stall for STUFFED! will be one of a handful of hot food vendors in the Liberty Station market, which is now slated to open in November.

Read the full story here.

Get a Sneak Preview of North Park's Newest Beer Garden

Take a peek at the ChuckAlek Biergarten.

Currently in progress in North Park is the ChuckAlek Biergarten, a satellite tasting room for the Ramona-based ChuckAlek Independent Brewers that will share space with the newly-opened Tostadas eatery and the well-established Art Produce gallery.

ChuckAlek CEO Marta Jankowska says that the University Avenue Biergarten will have a mix of modern and traditional European biergarten elements, with multiple types of seating and standing spaces. A partnership with Art Produce means that there will be artistic, cultural, and visual pieces will be present throughout, as well as elements of beer history. Crafting the space is playground, a San Diego-based boutique architecture and design agency whose creative director, Kristine Schnell, who says that there will be a small indoor bar with 12 to 16 taps, but most of the seating will be outdoors in Art Produce's existing garden, which will be partially covered with new shade structures and lush with planters and other green elements. ChuckAlek Biergarten is slated to open by December/January.  

Read the full story here. 

Liberty Public Market: Meet the Artisans

Owners/operators Alex and Tori Gould bring their elevated comfort food concept Stuffed! to Liberty Public, where organic gourmet burgers stuffed with cheese, plus other tasty bites will be served. Thanks to its fun take on a comic book design theme, guests can enjoy a sense of nostalgia when ordering a POW! or BANG! Burger at the first brick and mortar location of this popular local food truck.

EXPECT: Burgers and sandwiches, an expansive mac n' cheese selection plus toppings like Portobello mushroom, grilled chicken and braised short rib. Also, a selection of vintage bottled sodas and crazy varieties of ice cream floats. 

DESIGN DETAILS: Playground Agency is anchoring the space around an elevated comic book theme -- expect modern surrounds adorned with custom graffiti pop-art covers.

Read the full story here.