Kettner Exchange Unveils in Little Italy | Get Your First Look Inside

October 29, 2014

The long-awaited Kettner Exchange opens its doors at 2001 Kettner Boulevard in Little Italy today at 5pm. From the crew behind Vin de Syrah and Analog downtown and Firehouse in Pacific Beach, owner and restaurateur Matt Spencer introduces his newest 2 story bar and restaurant concept, boasting progressive American cuisine by Chef Brian Redzikowski and a unique menu of craft cocktails. This $3.6 million project is two years in the making and will have multiple niches for dining and lounging, including the only rooftop lounge and patio in Little Italy with views to San Diego Bay.

At Kettner Exchange, expect daily live music, elevated eats and distinctive drinks. Award-winning Head Chef Brian Redzikowski brings sophistication and experience to the restaurant. Redzikowski has worked for some big name restaurants and chefs, including New York City’s acclaimed Le Cirque 2000, the $17 million Yellowtail Restaurant in the Bellagio Hotel and Casino and locally at Flavor Del Mar. During Chef Brian’s career, he also had the opportunity of competing on Food Network's Iron Chef America. 

Redzikowski’s expertise paired with Bar Manager Steven Tuttle’s knack for creatively acclaimed cocktails should make Kettner Exchange a culinary destination in San Diego. Tuttle was trained under NYC greats Sam Ross (Milk & Honey / Attaboy) and Phil Ward (Death & Company / Mayahuel). In San Diego, he worked at Craft & Commerce during the time it was named one of the Top 50 Bars in the US by Food & Wine Magazine, as well as nominated at Tales of the Cocktail for best High Volume Bar. His work has been featured in multiple local publications, including Thrillist and Locale Magazine. Steven also assisted in staff training at Ironside Fish & Oyster and was most recently GM at El Dorado Cocktail Lounge.

In a nod to San Diego’s early history, the restaurant is named after William Kettner, a congressman in the early 1900s credited with bringing the military to San Diego. The space will have a few nautical touches like an early 20th century map of San Diego Bay embellishing a darkened mirror on the wall and ceiling as patrons enter the restaurant.

“As we were designing Kettner Exchange, we sought to pay homage to Kettner's attributes by creating a dignified yet welcoming environment with subtle nods to our great bay and nautical history,” said Spencer. “We’d like to think many influential people such as Kettner will enter this place and enjoy an honest drink with a gratifying meal in America’s Finest City.”

Kettner Exchange will also boast an adjacent boutique coffee and donut shop complete with roof top patio. The shop is detached from the main restaurant and will be branded separately from Kettner Exchange. Donut Joint will offer hot, fresh gourmet donuts as well as organic coffee roasts from Virtuoso, San Diego's only organic coffee roaster. Donut Joint should be finalized and ready to open daily at 8am in the coming months.  

After today's opening, Kettner Exchange plans to be open from 4pm to 12am Monday through Wednesday, 4pm to 2am Thursday and Friday, 10am to 2am on Saturday and 10am to 12pm on Sunday. For more information, visit, call 619-255-2001 and check out the photos and menus below.