“It’s as if Don Draper and Betsy Bloomingdale had a baby,” jokes Ken Fulk, describing the decor he and fellow designer Jon de la Cruz devised for the new San Francisco hot spot Leo’s Oyster Bar. The seafood joint is the latest opening from restaurateurs Anna Weinberg, James Nicholas, and Jennifer Puccio from Big Night Restaurant Group—responsible for foodie hits like Marlowe, Park Tavern, and the Cavalier.
There are no bad seats or unflattering angles at this gorgeous oyster bar. Instead, there’s just you, your date, two glasses of Champagne, and a universe of rose-colored onyx bartops, vintage glassware, shell-shaped wall sconces, and tropical palm wallpaper. It’s a Mad Men set you get to drink in.
The duo recruited friend and interior designer Jon de la Cruz(DLC-ID) to design the 35-seat space and website pro bono, something he was excited to do because he grew up two blocks from the space. De la Cruz will be switching up the look slightly with each concept, playing off the open kitchen each time to make it very inclusive and focus on the cooking action. "We want to be part of the meal and not part of the kitchen because the reason people are there is for us to cook for them," Pinkerton told Eater. There will be plenty of room for interaction with Pinkerton and Nayfeld as they'll be serving some of the courses as well.
Located in the city’s Financial District just two doors away from Wayfare Tavern (owned by their Food Network star pal, chef Tyler Florence), the Leo’s space is, for the moment, stark. But that only fuels Weinberg’s team’s collective creative vision. Led by interior designer Jon De La Cruz (lead Marlowe and Cavalier designer under the direction of Ken Fulk, who serves as Big Night’s brand guru and creative partner), the group has gathered to animatedly debate the Mad Men-era decor vision, comprising tile floors, vintage rattan and a back room.
“Even though we started over inside, we still wanted the building to feel very established,” says Jon de la Cruz, design director at KFI. “We let history set the course for the design."
"...the long narrow interior will seat about 40 and include a small lounge in front. A large bar with an iced section for raw seafood will dominate the center of the space and an intimate room in the rear of the restaurant will be lined with banquettes. Designers Ken Fulk and Jon de La Cruz are using the Mad Men era for inspiration for the mid-century design featuring rich wood paneling, polished marble and brass accents."
"Behind a small lounge in front, the space will seat 40 with a large raw and cocktail bar in the middle of the room and a banquette-lined smaller room in the back as well. Ken Fulk and Jon de La Cruz(The Battery, The Cavalier) are going for a Mad Men-inspired design with wood paneling, polished marble and brass accents."
"The Blue Room features vaulted ceilings with golden-tipped lighting and walls made of tiles from New York subway stations. Retro flooring mirrors the design of the iconic Las Vegas Sands’ pool during the Rat Pack era. Guests can sit at a vintage mahogany bar with gold detailing while getting a back view of cocktails being made in front of an antique mirror."