Lunch & Design has taken us to a variety of great restaurants; “great” both in quality of food and experience. Before we dive into the motivating lunch we had at Bracero Cocina de Raiz, I’d like to revisit why we started this series to begin with.

Lunch & Design started with the desire to dissect the surroundings of restaurants we love and provide ideas on how to bring it to life in your own home. I’d like to also add that as we have done several articles in this series, they’ve begun to take on new meaning. Lunch & Design is also about sharing the passion of food, experience, and camaraderie with one another. This passion is represented perfectly in Little Italy’s Bracero Cocina de Raiz on the corner of Kettner Ave & First Street.

bracero downstairs dining room

At first glance, to us, it appeared to be the next best Mexican restaurant in San Diego based on the number of smiling patrons. Another quick peek inside, you start to see the rustic-modern details come to life. A lunch stop shows the full picture: a restaurant that exudes the very passion and mission it was built upon. Take a seat at any one of Bracero’s sturdy wooden tables and begin to feel exactly what the proprietors intended – the culinary heritage of generations who have harvested the land. It’s a true representation of what it means to gather together and indulge in food and friends.

bracero stairwell

One Friday afternoon, the GoHaus team did that very thing. I mentioned it being a motivational lunch. I’ll spare you the details, but as we looked around new details of the restaurant were being unveiled to us. It did wonders for our senses and helped carry our conversations that led each of us to be inspired in different ways.

bracero upstairs bar

The entire restaurant is perfectly curated with just the right details of rustic mixed with modern. There’s also a hint of industrial-modern aesthetic in certain areas or installations. For instance, the concrete tiled bar surrounded by the communal tables that look as though they have hosted many family dinners.

I love their use of industrial items, mixed with warm touches of nature. For all the cement and metal work, there are touches of wood, straw and plants throughout. – Michael Bowen

bracero hat wall

There’s something about this style that appeals to the senses and you can’t help but feel relaxed and comforted. I know that I am definitely scanning my apartment for ways to bring out this perfect coupling, as I have modern design leanings while my husband has the more rustic ones. Here are some ideas:

  • Add wood furniture pieces done in darker, rustic finishes. For example, this Harrisburg Side Table or this Melrose Bench from Dot & Bo
  • Use pottery to spice up side tables or corners with a rustic touch. For example, this terra cotta vase. Stick with earthy colors such as tan, copper, and green.
  • To achieve the same aesthetic as Bracero, it’s important to balance the rustic with the modern. Think about clean lines of furniture or introducing new materials like marble, exposed metal, and modern light fixtures.
  • Think about a gallery wall. Bracero did a fantastic job of creating gallery walls at different points of the restaurant. All unique. Taking inspiration from their wall of hats, maybe you can create a gallery wall of unique textiles? Or, possibly a wall of terracotta plates? Think about; there’s always room to be creative.

Have you been to Bracero? What did you love most about it? Share in the comments below.

bracero taco

bracero gallery wall

bracero bar