Ex-Fast Food Station

Inventive restaurant design takes the place of its cookie-cutter predecessor.

I am a little scared of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The smiling colonel, the secret recipe, the sporks; especially in a post-Supersize Me, pro-Slow Food era they all seem somewhat suspect. I didn’t realize how deep seated the fear was until I approached Spork, an ironically-named restaurant that recently opened in an unreconstructed former KFC in San Francisco. The shape of the exterior hasn’t been touched, but the chain’s signature slanted red roof is now coated in slate grey paint, along with the rest of the building. It’s unsettling—the shape of the building still suggesting fried drumsticks and cornstarch-y gravy when you come expecting a bowl of mussels and a cool, crisp glass of wine.

Luckily, the scene glimpsed through the large plate glass windows is stylish and welcoming—classic American roadside diner, remixed with modern Mission district style. The sight of groups of friends squeezed around booths is also reassuring as I arrive at a not-quite-dinner-hour on a sunny Saturday afternoon. I’m on my own, but the couple at the next table quickly adopt me, insisting that I try bites of their inside-out burger and demanding a taste of my homemade potato chips with caviar and crème fraiche. The pale-grey of the restaurant’s interior is spiked with shots of orange—a vase of bright gerber daisies, thin orange belts on the waitstaff uniforms—the color is subtle, but it helps make the atmosphere convivial.

See the slideshow for a tour of the remodeled restaurant’s interior.

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Spork’s menu, developed by chef/owner Bruce Binn, focuses on locally-sourced ingredients. Designer Eric Heid also went the local route for his raw materials. Below is a list of the companies they used:

– Light fixtures
Builders Resources
701 Amador St.
San Francisco, CA

– Light fixtures (chandelier in the lounge area)
Ohmega Salvage
2407 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, CA

– Booths and trim
Beronio Lumber
196 Napolean St.
San Francisco, CA

– Pegboard and lighting
Discount Builders Supply
1695 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA

– Tabletops
Plywood and Lumber Sales Inc. (PALS)
2035 Newcomb Ave.
San Francisco, CA

Chairs and billboard sourced on eBay

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