Our design for Mister Jiu’s 2-story Chinatown space — originally home to one of SF’s oldest and longest running restaurants — reflects the spirit of chef/owner Brandon Jew and his inventive contemporary Chinese food.
The concept naturally leaned toward the duality of yin and yang, dark and light, which we reinterpreted as a modern interior inspired by its cuisine’s lively energy, and embedded with references to its deeply rooted history and culture.
The first step we took was to relocate the restauarant’s entry from Grant Street’s bustle to the cloak of Waverly Street. Akin to modern-day Hong Kong alleyways that frame their destinations, this brings visitors in from a sheltered passage to the dim reception and bar areas, and gives a composed glimpse into the light-filled dining room beyond.
It was important to the chef that the dining room feel bright and refreshing. We took inspiration for the palette of green, teak and varied textures from the aesthetics of tea growing, and Guilin’s iconic Li River, with accents including a parquet tile pattern, and repurposed lotus chandeliers and brass pendants. The large elements of the space were made simple, to create a quiet visual field and add elegance — with tone-on-tone plaster, painted walls and custom teak tables.
Mister Jiu’s kitchen is huge and robust by San Francisco standards, and is truly the heart of the space. Open to the dining room, it offers diners and restaurant staff the same experience — views, high quality finishes, spaciousness, thoughtful organization — so they may equally enjoy their experience and time in the restaurant.