On Lusk Alley in San Francisco’s South of Market district, a 1917 smokehouse and meat-processing facility has been renovated to become Twenty Five Lusk. The 265-seat new American restaurant and bar is an unexpected gem in the urban fabric. The architects crafted the two-level space, weaving graceful forms and sophisticated materials through the massive, historic, warehouse structure. The interior emphasizes a counterpoint between the new palette of polished stainless steel, glass, white plaster, leather, mirror, faux fur, and slate and the existing elements of brick, concrete and rough-sawn timber.
A large, glass entrance was cut into the existing building exterior; the canopy bends up at its leading edge to become the restaurant’s signage. Windows were enlarged and added along the façade to animate the interior with natural light and allow views. Inside, a large wedge from the upper floor makes an open connection between the lower level lounge and the dining room upstairs. Entering the restaurant, guests take in simultaneous views of both.
The dining room is on the second floor, up a half-flight of stairs from the entry. The kitchen is a highlight on this level; a modern envelope of clear and black glass permits views of the chef action and reflects the activity of the dining room. A strategic mix of tables, banquettes, and booths provides seating for 120. Pullman-style booths are built into the angled, low plaster wall that borders the cut-away, and cantilevered tables, made from richly patterned Macassar ebony, pierce the wall. Lighting reveals the original Douglas fir ceiling and creates a warm glow.
In the lower level lounge, seating zones extend the length of the space, each with a suspended, stainless steel fire orb. The orbs act as a focal point for each seating area, much like camp fires, and their reflective flues extend up through the restaurant’s open spaces to the ceiling 20 feet above. Behind the large bar, the former Ogden Packing and Provision smoking rooms have been converted into intimate lounge areas. These semi-private, brick and concrete chambers are appointed with sumptuous sofas. The lower level features a 40-seat private dining room as well as a glass-enclosed wine room within the former freight elevator shaft.
The architecture sets up a notable contrast between the dramatic vertical space and the single-height areas, allowing guests to experience the restaurant in its totality while providing intimate spaces to explore.
Photography: Paul Dyer