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At Cucina Enoteca in Irvine, the furniture is on the menu

March 7, 2012 | 11:14 am

Interior 1Some restaurants have long sold spice mixes, olive oils, books and aprons. The new Cucina Enoteca in Irvine, however, takes the concept a step further by offering nearly everything in the restaurant -- including the tables and chairs -- for sale.

Interior 4Tracy Borkum, owner of three San Diego restaurants and chef-owner of Cucina Enoteca, said she came up with the concept after fielding requests from patrons over the years. “So many people were constantly asking, ‘Can we buy that table, chair, artwork?’ ”

Items for sale include the orange wire Bend chairs ($360 to $398) by Los Angeles designer Gaurav Nanda, coffee-sack burlap and faux leather chairs ($306) designed by Borkum and made by Chula Vista fabricator Javier Estrada, metal-topped dining tables with turned wood legs ($525 to $825) and pendants light ($230 to $420) made by Del Mar artist Jennifer Price using vintage wire frames and cages.

“In designing the restaurants, I have always made a conscious effort to bring in local artists and have things made rather than buying something from a catalog,” Borkum said. “The reaction has been very positive.”

Smaller items are for sale too, including bowls and serving boards ($9.50 to $105), outdoor burlap pillows ($125), even wash basins ($118) and wall sinks ($140). Borkum says that everything can be ordered from a menu at the host stand and should be delivered in about six weeks. She said a retail space and an e-commerce site are coming.

Borkum described the restaurant’s playful look, including a colorful mural by graffiti artist Tokayo, as a mix of old and new. “In doing this, I got addicted to flea markets and have met some interesting people," she says. "It has been a nice opportunity to work with local artists.”

Cucina Enoteca graffiti wall

The locally made furniture and lighting are augmented with vintage flea market finds, such as wooden shoe molds made in Italy. The linen pillows are from Anthropologie and not sold through the restaurant.

Cucina Enoteca shoe forms

Borkum collected the shoe forms at flea markets and on EBay. Sorry, not for sale. But you can get ...

Cucina Enoteca bar

... the wood-and-metal bar stools, $210 apiece. The wire cage and glass bauble chandeliers are $420 apiece.

Cucina Enoteca

The long steel-and-glass community table is by San Diego metal designer Brian Linn of Vincent Designs. Special objects, decorations or flowers could be placed in the central trough. “At a birthday party a few weeks ago, guests brought pictures of the birthday boy and trinkets," Borkum said. In this photo, the troughs are filled with wine corks, which anchor glass hurricanes. The trough table is a special order and priced upon request.

Cucina Enoteca

The white upholstered chairs backed in coffee-sack burlap are $306 a piece. Most of the cage lights by Price are $230.

Cucina Enoteca poster walls

Vintage Italian movie posters line the hallway leading to the restrooms.

Entry

The turned-leg tables can be ordered with a metal top in dark or light finish. They start at $525 for a 36-inch square up to $1,750 for the 10-foot version. The wood pendants are from Restoration Hardware.

Cucina Enoteca, 31 Fortune Drive (at the Irvine Spectrum); (949) 861-2222.

Corrected: A previous version of this post stated that the antler chandeliers were from Restoration Hardware. They are from the Antler Lighting Warehouse.

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-- Lisa Boone

Photos: Cucina Enoteca

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