Searsucker Restaurant, San Diego
“It was post-’Top Chef, ’ and my good friend James Brennan and I decided to start a restaurant together. James, who’s a business-boy-genius, scored the best location in downtown San Diego. We got 7, 500 square feet on the corner of Fifth and Market, the hub of the Gaslamp Quarter. I wanted the restaurant to focus on ‘new American classics, ’ meaning that you take something familiar and you reinvent it. Playful tongue in cheek, the kind of place that — as soon as you walk into it — you let your guard down, you relax and enjoy being there.
I learned that seersucker was worn by working-class people in the 1800s because it could be ruffled and it didn’t have to be ironed. Later in the 1800s, upper-class college and university kids all rebelled against their parents by wearing seersucker suits, which appalled the parents but made seersucker the ‘new vogue’ and forever the summer fashion.
Well, that’s exactly what we wanted to do with our restaurant. We wanted people to be able to feel like they’re dressed up in their comfortable seersucker suits, they’re relaxed, feeling good, like they’re taking a little summer vacation. Thomas Schoos added the couches, right in the middle of everything (brilliant!) and James added the DJ and the music. And so, Searsucker and the whole ‘social dining experience’ was born.”