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Restaurant Group Expands with Two San Diego Locations

RESTAURANTS: Upward Projects' Postino WineCafes Coming to One Paseo, Little Italy

SAN DIEGO – A Phoenix-based restaurant group, Upward Projects, is making a grand entrance into San Diego by opening its signature Postino WineCafe restaurants in Little Italy and One Paseo in Carmel Valley.

Expanding into the San Diego market was a natural for the 15-year-old restaurant group because co-founder Craig Demarco owns a home in Encinitas and the company had a built-in customer base from diners who were familiar with the brand, said CEO and Co-founder Lauren Bailey.

Lauren Bailey
CEO & Co-founder
Upward Projects

“We’ve definitely been looking around there,” Bailey said. “We were surprised by how many people knew of Postino in San Diego.”

The company leased 2,652 square feet of space at 2100 Kettner Ave., a 235,000-square-foot office and retail building developed by Kilroy on the corner of Kettner Avenue and Ivy Street, and 2,426 square feet at 3745 Paseo Place in One Paseo, also developed by Kilroy.

“There is so much to love about San Diego, and we’ve dreamed up these spaces to be an exciting and intimate gathering place for the community,” Bailey said.

Bailey said that she and Demarco chose Upward Projects for the name of their company because they liked the sound of it and the positive outlook it conveyed.

“Craig and I grew up in the restaurant industry and are generally positive people,” Bailey said.

The Postino brand takes its name from a former Phoenix post office that is the site of the first Postino restaurant, Bailey said.

Other Upward Projects brands are Joyride Taco House, Windsor, Churn Ice Cream and Federal Pizza.

Bailey said that she and Demarco were drawn to One Paseo because “we really liked the design and architecture.”

“Walking around that center, it was very thoughtfully done. You could tell they definitely cared about a guest experience,” Bailey said. “We put a lot of thought into these places,” Bailey said.

Interior Designs Unique to Neighborhoods

The Little Italy site was attractive because it fit in with Upward Projects’ desire to promote in-fill development in urban neighborhoods, Bailey said.
In the 1940s, the building was an automobile plant, and Bailey said that the design of the restaurant builds on that theme, including pieces of an old Volkswagen that will hang from the ceiling.

Bailey said that she also collected 10,000 cloth name tags, the type that were sewn onto mechanics’ work shirts, which will be on display.

Furnishings at the Little Italy and One Paseo restaurants will be mid-century modern and include found objects that Bailey said she discovers in vintage shops.

The menu at the San Diego restaurants will be primarily Italian with touches from other Mediterranean countries. It will include bruschetta, panini, salads and charcuterie boards.

“We keep our food relatively simple,” Bailey said. “The majority of our menu items are meant to be shared.”

Although the two San Diego restaurants will go by the same Postino name, they will have their own sense of identity.

“We like to think about having a sense of discovery,” Bailey said. “We take a lot of time thinking about these individual locations. We’re not a cookie-cutter restaurant.”

The One Paseo Postino will have “this sort of like 1970s beach vibe,” Bailey said, with beach photos from the 1970s and framed vintage newspapers displayed around the interior.

“It’s not meant to feel museum-like,” Bailey said, but it will have a familiar feel for San Diego residents.

Upward Projects
FOUNDED: 2009
Headquarters: Phoenix
CEO: Lauren Bailey
Business: restaurants
Employees: 1,400
Website: www.upwardprojects.com
Contact: 602-246-7555; info@upwardprojects.com
Notable: Upward Projects has more than 30 restaurants in five states.

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