Earlier this year, the historic Guild Hotel in San Diego — with roots dating back to 1924 when it was an Army and Navy YMCA — announced a partnership with Be Saha Hospitality Group, a local group behind several popular concepts in the city.
The company took over the hotel’s food and beverage operations and is preparing a couple of new, as yet unnamed concepts that are set to debut this spring. They include a restaurant in the hotel’s courtyard (formerly named Luca), and a re-concepted lobby bar, garden and lounge. Be Saha Hospitality will also handle all onsite events and room service.
The lobby bar will launch in March with an Italian theme, small bites and an amaro-focused drinks menu. The fine-dining restaurant, which is expected to open for dinner in May, is still finalizing the menu.
“This has been a long time coming,” Onal Kucuk, general manager of The Guild Hotel said. “We’ve been searching for a food and beverage partner for a while now, but were patient in the process, waiting for the right fit. As a locally-owned hotel, it was a priority of ours to work with a San Diego-based group. Be Saha makes for the perfect partner at The Guild Hotel, not only because they are local but also because of their artisanship and dedication to craft culture and social good.”
To lead the project, Be Saha Hospitality brought on chef Ruffo Ibarra. His resume includes Michelin-starred kitchens in Spain (Cenador de Amos) and Italy (Osteria Francescana -- twice named best restaurant in the world), and he owns Oryx Ristorante in Tijuana, Mexico. He also served as president of team Mexico at this year’s Bocuse d’Or, the global culinary competition.
“Be Saha’s mission is to bridge borders between cultures and people, and The Guild Hotel is the perfect place to continue sharing stories of wanderers,” Amar Harrag, founder of Be Saha Hospitality Group, said in a statement. “We’re excited to give reverence to the heritage of this landmark, and we can’t think of anyone better than chef Ruffo Ibarra to create this new dining experience for locals and travelers.”
Ibarra will work alongside Be Saha chef and culinary director Janina Garay, who joined the group in 2021 after working at Michelin starred restaurants, including Addison in San Diego and Topolobampo in Chicago.
Be Saha already runs several concepts in San Diego, including Tahona, an agave spirits bar with two locations in the city; a bistro and absinthe bar called Wormwood; and Hidden Craft, a beer hall and restaurant in downtown. Their latest project is Botanica, which opened last fall and combines a genever- and gin-focused spirits menu with cocktails and pintxos (Basque tapas) like oyster tartare, lamb sausage tarts, and paella croquettes. A unique touch is the bar’s dedication to digital art, with a gallery spotlighting local artists and NFT artwork available to purchase