Craft & Commerce: Local Project in Social Engineering

Craft & Commerce is a new project in San Diego social engineering with a bold vision to eliminate fast 'n' easy artificial stimulation and reinvent the art of real human interaction.

A canvas of materials, ideas and quotes that have inspired them along the way, Arsalun Tafazoli and Nate Stanton have brought to life their understanding of an ideal conversation space – the cornerstone of culture. It is here in casual dining halls that patrons should gather to read, reflect and exchange ideas.

Without direct interaction, how do you expect to evolve as a human race? We need conversation space to make things happen.

Craft Commerce is at once traditional and ahead of its time in décor and ideology. Piecing together antique reclaimed snow fencing from Wyoming on the ceiling, metal and glass front doors with Model T Ford steering wheels as the handles and quotes from notable books, like the Grapes of Wrath and On the Road written on the walls and across the booths, Craft Commerce dares to test Henry David Thoreau’s philosophy of social engineering in San Diego’s ultra-modern community of Little Italy.

Also the brains behind Neighborhood, El Dorado and Noble Experiment, the head honchos of these local haunts explain that Craft Commerce is a happy medium or blend of their existing venues. There isn’t a television in sight, a library of classic literature towers up the walls, including Tafazoli’s favorite, Thoreau’s On Walden Pond, and the venue publically seeks to call out the smoke and mirrors while almost mocking the hype of modern design. Penned across a narrow floor-to-ceiling wall mirror is the slogan: “This Mirror Is Supposed To Make The Room Look Bigger Than It Actually Is.” On another exposed brick wall is “Demand Less” – an anti-capitalist slogan that aims to release expectations and encourage reality-driven interaction.

Although you won’t find any sensory-overload gimmicks at Craft Commerce, what you will find is extra-strength champagne cocktails served in 38-ounce punch bowls. Oh yes. Creating the cocktail program is award-winning bartender Phil Ward of Death Co. and Mayhuel fame in New York, who has combined quality spirits with fresh-squeezed juices, delicious champagne cocktails, and of course, punch-bowl service. What’s even better? Craft Commerce introduces the first Kold-Draft ice machine in San Diego, which makes the slow-melting, perfect cubes required for a superior cocktail.

If you’re more a fan of the local craft brewery scene, you’ll be pleased to know Craft Commerce will focus its 24 rotating drafts beer menu on local breweries such as Ale Smith, while also tapping into community-based breweries from around the world, along with an assorted selection of sour beers and small-batch bottle collections.

When it comes to the food, Tafazoli says it best: “Well, we won’t be slicing salmon with lasers here.” Craft Commerce will be known for food that is familiar and memorable – without any of the transparent celebrity chef hype. The menu at Craft Commerce was executed by Chef Craig Jimenez, known for his work at the Guild and Firefly, and will focus on old-world cooking techniques to ignite flavor from each house-made item. Boasting custom meat grinds and an in-house smoker, the menu will serve up hearty, simple American food, ranging from bone marrow to Ribeye and Broiled Oysters.

The cocktail-centric prestige of Nobel Experiment meets the simple, American food of Neighborhood and the hipster gathering spot mentality of El Dorado to create the newest project in social engineering: Craft Commerce in San Diego's Little Italy. How will you be inspired? Go find out for yourself.

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