Celebrity Travel & StyleInterviewsJet Set PetLuxury VoyagesSuite Dreams - The World's Best SuitesTime TravelerLuxury Travel TrendsWeekend Away
Destination WeddingsFamily Vacation PackagesSpa & Wellness PackagesRomantic & Honeymoon PackagesGirls GetawaysFall Travel PackagesWinter Getaway PackagesChristmas Travel & PackagesNew Year's Eve Packages
ArticlesThe Best Hotels, Resorts & Villas Around the World
Beach & Island Resorts5-Star City HotelsAdventure Lodges & Eco EscapesBoutique City HotelsCountry House HotelsRomantic RetreatsLuxury Guest RanchesLuxury Safari Camps & LodgesGolf Resorts & LodgesSpa Resorts & Wellness RetreatsSki Resorts & LodgesWine Country GetawaysLuxury Family Travel & ResortsNew HotelsHot Hotel Openings
Beach, Coastal & Island VillasCountry VillasGolf VillasSki VillasLuxury Villas & Vacation Rentals Around the WorldHotel Branded Residences
Luxury Cruises & YachtingLuxury Car RentalTravel Tips & AdviceAirline NewsUltimate TripsBusiness TravelFamily TravelLuxury SafarisPrivate Jet TravelRail Journeys: The World's Most Scenic Train Rides
RestaurantsBars & NightclubsAfternoon TeaCoffeeCooking ClassesCulinary TravelWine Travel
Spa & Wellness RetreatsYogaGolf GetawaysTennisSki Vacations
Gift GuideBeach and ResortwearBeauty and FragranceBooksFashionHome StyleLuggage and HandbagsLuxury Autos & Driving ExperiencesMen's StyleTravel EssentialsWatches & JewelryWine and SpiritsWorld's Most Expensive
Back to:  Home > Food/Wine > Restaurants


New San Diego Mexican Restaurant Opens in Former Jail

December 17, 2013 -

Puesto Opens in San Diego, Restaurant's industrial design converts a former jail into a colorful arena for Mexican food.

After the success of their popular Mexican “street food” restaurant in La Jolla, California, the family that owns Puesto decided they wanted an atmosphere a bit more upscale and eye-catching for their new location in the just-opened The Headquarters complex near Seaport Village in San Diego. The Headquarters development was once the San Diego police headquarters, and Puesto would occupy a former file library and jail cell block. To accomplish the transformation, Puesto hired Thomas Schoos, the designer behind such iconic venues as Tao in Las Vegas, Searsucker in San Diego and Morimoto restaurants in Honolulu, Napa and Mexico City. When Schoos saw the large industrial space, he immediately realized that, instead of attempting to obscure or “clean up” the distressed architecture, it would be far more evocative to preserve the rustic, sensual textures, using them as inspiration for the overall look of the restaurant.

Puesto restaurant

Chipped wall paint, glue marks on the ceiling, old light switches, plumbing and electrical conduits were all left exposed, though clear-coated to preserve them in their distressed state. Schoos also decided to keep the catwalks that were part of the original file room, turning them into a dining mezzanine. In contrast to this, Schoos has placed contemporary décor and artistic elements that create an eclectic, casual vibe while exhibiting a typically Mexican love of color. Two striking examples are the murals by graffiti artist Chor Boogie that occupy walls in both dining rooms, adding a riot of vivid color and graphical interest.

Puesto restaurant

“Even though it is a big industrial space,” explains Schoos, “I wanted Puesto to be as vibrant and alive as a street festival or a bullfight in old Mexico.” In fact, with a mezzanine overlooking the action, the space feels a lot like a “food arena” where watching food being prepared is part of the show. To keep food central, Schoos placed the open kitchen along two walls of the front dining room with only a copper screen separating guests from the flames, aromas and visual stimuli of cooking.

Puesto restaurant

In addition to the food, color and activity, Schoos brightens the industrial space even more by introducing nature, both by opening the space to the outdoors and by bringing greenery inside. Along the front of the restaurant, massive two-story glass doors were added to open the restaurant to the pedestrian plaza out front. From the outside, passers-by can see guests dining on two levels through the tall doorways, creating an alluring facade. Though new, the added doors fit the industrial vibe with their four-inch-square beams made from textured steel. Between the two dining rooms, an indoor/outdoor living room is created with large doors and a tile “carpet” that extends from inside the room out onto the patio. To bring nature inside, the rear dining room features a wire mesh that covers an entire wall, allowing a creeping fig vine to climb the wall toward the skylight. And in the front dining room, aralia trees float in the air in massive concrete pots suspended from the ceiling by steel cables, like giant industrial flowerpots.
Schoos, who is also currently designing the posh new Herringbone Restaurant in the Mondrian Hotel on the Sunset Strip in L.A., sees Puesto as a perfect coming-together of location, venue and imagination. It creates a new, more upscale look and feel for the former short-order business while celebrating the history of a San Diego landmark. “It just feels like the type of place where you want to eat delicious crab guacamole or a steak taco along with signature cocktails with friends. It's an urban street party in a killer location with color, art and action. It's one of my favorite designs.”

Visit website: eatpuesto.com


Featured Luxury Hotels





Springtime in Tuscany, 25% off
Relais San Sanino is a charming, unique resort in Tuscany, near Montepulciano, offering 4 Exclusive Luxury Suites in the Countryside.



The Abaco Club on Winding Bay
A private, international sporting club and residential community situated on 453 acres in the Bahamas. The Abaco Club offers a world of relaxation with pristine white sand beaches, world-class Scottish styled links golf and a spectacular offering of other water, leisure and sporting activities.



Carneros Resort and Spa - Napa Valley, California
The resort features 86 charming private guest cottages and suites and nightly private luxury home rentals, each furnished with casual elegance and nestled in a lush garden courtyard with private deck.




2018 Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix Luxury Cruise and Driving Tour
Only a few spots left! Autobahn Adventures' Formula 1 Grand Prix VIP Tour is a combination Mediterranean luxury cruise and Porsche driving tour.




The luxury lifestyle - how to spend it on autos, jets, yachts, real estate, travel, shopping, wellness and all the best in life.




Anse Chastanet - St. Lucia
Set amid a lush 600-acre estate with two soft-sand beaches and breathtaking views of St. Lucia's iconic twin Pitons mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.




Eden Roc at Cap Cana - Punta Cana
Offering exclusive luxury in the Dominican Republic, Eden Roc at Cap Cana, the only Relais & Chateaux hotel on the island, features 34 freestanding suites with private pools and stunning views.




Explore the world outdoors - discover the best travel adventures, glamping, activities, gear, apparel, vehicles, and more.




Primland - Meadows of Dan, VA
A pristine Blue Ridge Mountain resort offering 12,000 acres of space, sky and shifting moods. Primland is the ultimate getaway for world-class golf, refined dining, and outdoor activities in an environment of rare natural beauty.




Rawai VIP Villas - Phuket, Thailand
A brand new family community and kids' park that epitomizes modern Thai luxury. Each of the 40 villas boasts a private pool in terraced courtyards.



Private Villa Rentals - Caribbean & Mexico
In the realm of world-class luxury private villa rentals, we know that the exceptional experiences our guests deserve are about much more than just the villa itself.



Living the dream - the world's best yachts for sale and charter. See the latest trends in yacht design, tech, toys, destinations and lifestyle.



Mountain Shadows
The new resort features timeless modern design, 183 guestrooms, a restaurant with an exhibition kitchen, two pools, a high-tech fitness facility, a fully revamped short golf course, a golf grill and lounge as well as 37,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.



Jade Mountain - St. Lucia
Jade Mountain is an exclusive luxury 'resort within a resort' with 24 suites at St. Lucia's famed Anse Chastanet Resort, in a truly romantic and magical setting poised high overlooking St. Lucia's Piton World Heritage site and the Caribbean Sea.



Hotel Valley Ho - Scottsdale, AZ
Escape to the sun in Scottsdale! A hideaway for celebrities, this Downtown Scottsdale resort features generously sized guest rooms with all-glass walls opening onto airy patios or balconies, many with views of Camelback Mountain.



Luxury travel and lifestyle - discover all the best destinations, hotels, resorts, nightlife, adventure, shopping, safaris, villas, spas and much more.



A.M.A Selections
A.M.A Selections offers a portfolio of hand-picked villas on the French Riviera, Tuscany and Umbria, complemented with an exclusive range of concierge services such as private jet and yacht charter, private chef, car service, and more.



BINA - Luxury Yacht Charter 142'
Offering remarkable quantities of luxury for a yacht of her size category, nothing but unadulterated bliss awaits you on board BINA. Sleeps 10-12 in 5 cabins.




Exploring the World in Style - cruising, yachting, expeditions, family adventure, luxury, river cruising - all to the best destinations in the world.