Former Lei Lounge In University Heights To Open As Madison Restaurant & Bar This December

Chef Mario Cassineri
October 27, 2015

Madison restaurant will open in the space formerly occupied by Lei Lounge in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood by the end of December, bringing upscale dining and cocktails, modern design and curated music to the dynamic food scene of Park Boulevard. The new restaurant and bar is a collaboration of familiar restaurant industry faces, such as Chef Mario Cassineri of BiCE San Diego - charged with designing the Madison Menu, to those better known for their design and cultural endeavors, including Jeffrey Fink, owner of M-Theory Music & managing parter of FLUXX, and ARCHISECTS, the industrial design firm behind FLUXX’s rotating themes. Partner and General Manager Matt Sieve, formerly of Isabel’s Cantina and third generation restaurateur, will run Madison’s day-to-day operations.

“We look forward to introducing Madison to the University Heights neighborhood,” said Madison Managing Partner Jeffrey Fink, also owner of M-Theory Music and managing partner of FLUXX nightclub. “Located right on Park Boulevard and offering a menu with options for any occasion, Madison will be the type of place you can enjoy a beer with a friend one night, and go on a dinner date the next.”

Architectural rendering of front
Chef Mario Cassineri, partner and executive chef of BiCE Ristorante, will design Madison’s menu. Staying true to Chef Mario’s Northern Italian roots, the menu will feature several Mediterranean influenced dishes, with classic Southern California ingredients. Chef Tony “G” Gutierrez, formerly of BiCE Ristorante, La Strada and Opera Café, will helm the Madison kitchen. Chef Tony trained under Chef Mario for four years at BiCE and looks forward to bringing his menu to life at Madison. The restaurant will also feature a full bar with cocktails designed by mixologist Dan Dufek, local beers, and a tailored wine program.

“Much like the Madison menu, the design seeks to integrate local with international design and materials, making the restaurant both a stimulating and comfortable place to dine,” says Anna Sindelar, of ARCHISECTS, the industrial design firm responsible for Madison’s design, and former Creative Director of FLUXX.

Architectural rendering of inside
The Madison space, previously occupied by the Lei Lounge, has been transformed to take guests to a place of instant relaxation, pulling inspiration from mid-century modern and Italian design traditions. The Madison storefront is a post-modern and playful replication of Victorian era storefronts seen throughout San Diego, streamlined and painted in a single wash of sky blue that is eye-catching and inviting. The restaurant opens to a sophisticated bar and lounge area, where guests can enjoy the main menu in a more casual setting. Just beyond the bar area is the dining room, which is lined in cedar, featuring dramatically high vaulted ceilings with sky views and intricate wood joinery, creating an indoor-outdoor ambiance. The rest of the cedar-dominated venue is contrasted with colorful geometric wood puzzles that function both as the walls and the art in much of the space.

Fink brings his passion for music to the restaurant with curated sounds by M-Theory Music, projected through a top-of-the-line sound system by Sound Investment. Design duo Anna and David Sindelar, responsible for FLUXX nightclub’s fluctuating themes and owners of ARCHISECTS, infuse the project with their Fine Arts training and experience. The musical background of the creative team is woven through the space with a site-specific rope installation, reminiscent of guitar or harp strings, activating and lowering the cavernous arched dining room and partitioning the cozy booths in the bar area.

Madison is located at 4622 Park Boulevard between Madison and Adams Avenues, and will be open daily from 4pm to 2am. For more information, visit