Benzina is a modest 2,000 sf restaurant, with 74 seats inside, and 40 patio seats outside. The building was an auto body shop that was built in 1963. The easy course of action would have been to demolish the building due to its age, but the buildings unique construction was an important piece of owner’s vision for a cozy mid-century neighborhood restaurant with great food and music. Along with the interior modifications, the renovation included replacing and coordinating every building system, repairing or replacing much of the exterior, and extensive coordination with the city to save the building. The goal of the renovation was to update the building’s interior, exterior, and landscaping, all while keeping a light touch on the original aesthetics.
The space was designed with layers of textures and color to create a vibrant, yet quaint feel. We wanted the space to feel fresh and new, but also familiar like it has been there for years. At the bar, the millwork takes inspiration from midcentury residential design. The area is lowered to give a sense of intimacy and the bar is detailed to display the owners record collection, cookbooks, and other artifacts of inspiration to the restaurant’s origin. The dining area opens to the patio which has ample outdoor seating, an urban garden, and bocce ball courts. Large overhead doors run adjacent to the open kitchen and chef’s counter. The kitchen’s design is centered around the Pavesi pizza oven which is powered by a combination of gas and wood. Much like the design concept of the restaurant, the oven is a fusion of traditional and modern.