Architect Stephen Francis Jones adds to Pasadena's nightlife -

"Designing a restaurant is like designing a sports car," says architect Stephen Francis Jones. "You have a sleek looking body that needs a big engine and has to perform at top speed all the time. How do I keep it sexy? How do I keep it running well? How do I keep it adequate to the task of satisfying customers?"

Jones, who is the architect for the Del Frisco Grille in Pasadena opening on December 20, is also well-known for other local restaurant designs such as MB Post in Manhattan Beach, the retro chain Lucky Strike Lanes, and the original Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Beverly Hills, continues to be one of the burgeoning food scene's secret weapons—a designer who works tirelessly to meet the needs of his clients in any variety of situations by listening carefully to their expectations and adapting his process accordingly. Jones' recent endeavors branched out from not only creating designs for new companies, but evolving existing designs for companies looking to rebrand, rethink and revive their image. Jones collaborates with a handpicked team that provides turnkey branding and technical services. Together they work with a network of talented designers and fabricators to establish fresh, evocative imagery that interprets and amplifies the clients' initial vision.

Recently Jones took on the rebranding and re-launch of the iconic La Brea Bakery after it moved half a block down from its original location in Los Angeles. Jones facilitated a seamless blend of traditional ambience and artifacts from the original bakery with a refreshed logo and new "jewel case" displaying the luscious array of pastries and breads. He also revived Mister Donut, the largest donut chain in Japan, after it experienced declining profits in recent years. Jones borrowed the "jewel case" concept from La Brea Bakery and rebuilt the structure into an inviting shop complete with a Japanese garden-esque entrance. Opened in July, Mister Donut now has a revived image that will be used as a prototype for future Mister Donut shops across Asia.

Although Jones keeps busy with clients needing his expertise in their rebranding and rethinking in the US and abroad, he still pays homage to his own community in Manhattan Beach, California. Recently Jones took part in a fundraising project to transform the Teachers' Lounge at Mira Costa High School, a dingy, aging room un-renovated since 1949. Jones used budget-friendly means for transforming the unappealing space into an enlivened, inviting retreat for teachers to dine and discuss.

Now in its eighteenth year, SFJones Architects is renowned among Los Angeles architecture firms for designing spectacular entertainment and dining destinations that radiate fresh, balanced aesthetics, making bold statements for national and international companies. "When people go out to dinner, their expectation is to have a stimulating sensual experience involving taste, ambiance and social interaction. My objective is to make the visual experience as delicious as the food," says Jones.

The firm's recent restaurant projects include upscale casual restaurant Del Frisco's Grille in Irvine, Pasadena, and Santa Monica; Greenleaf restaurant in Hollywood; American Tea Room in both Beverly Hills and Downtown Los Angeles; two Simmzy's restaurants in Burbank and Huntington Beach—projects spearheaded by the same owner as the famous MB Post—and the rebranding of more Java Houses in Kenya. Up next are two more Greenleaf restaurants in Laguna Beach and Pasadena; the Tin Roof Bistro in Marina Del Rey; and a new concept restaurant in Honolulu, HI, featuring star chef Peter Merriman.

Whether creating an instantly-recognizable identity for national restaurants or cutting-edge quarters for a high-end dining destination, Jones creates dynamic environments for dining, relaxation, business and pleasure.

Sandra Sadauskaite