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che fico restaurant

Chef David Nayfeld and partner Matt Brewer needed an identity package for their Jewish-Italian taverna restaurant on the Divisadero restaurant row of San Francisco. Their restaurant was being constructed within the second story of an abandoned mechanic shop. Chef Nayfeld hoped to bring to the area handmade pastas, Jewish-Italian heritage, and his own San Francisco version of pizza napoletana. The name of the restaurant directly translates to “What a fig!”, but colloquially means “That’s so cool!” Since opening, Che Fico has become one of the top restaurants in San Francisco.

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The design challenge for this project was to capture the essence of the “Che Fico!” expression, while also hinting at both the seasonality of the farm-to-fork ingredients, and the owners’ love for East Coast hip hop. The culinary heritage could be found easily in the food, so the owners wanted the branding and aesthetics to convey something that would add to the restaurant’s character. 


I started exploring logos with expressive lettering, conveying the grit and hustle of New York streets. I explored compositions using different media and styles of stroke, using a folded (pop-cap) pen, ruling pen, brush pen, and illustration markers. This practice of working with my hands to bring life and energy to the words inspired the final chosen selection. 


More of the branding pulled from the clean modern lines and bold graphic style of hip hop album artwork of the last 20 years. Extended projects I designed included exterior signage which made use of the old mechanic sign, food and cocktail menu design, business cards and note cards, and application for embroidered flat-bill hats to match the chef’s style. 

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