BooKoo owner Matt Holmes had been looking to expand the restaurant’s 680-square-foot space almost since its inception. The closure of Henry's Toyshop in the adjacent space in late 2013 provided the perfect opportunity, he says. The expansion more than doubles the restaurant’s square footage to 1,400 and its number of seats to 48.
The expansion also provided BooKoo with an opportunity to change its interior design. Gone are the bright hues that Holmes says were much needed in the previously tiny space. Those pastels and bright colors would’ve made the larger space seem “like the inside of a coloring book,” he says.
“With the expansion of Boo Koo, we had the opportunity to tear away from the pastel hues and multi-colored walls and introduce much broader design elements consistent with our Mill Valley roots and our Asian Street Food style,” says owner, Matt Holmes.
The new design incorporates the work of San Francisco artist Adam Feibelman, whose “unique ceiling art and bar mural marry the elements of street art, playful themes, and restaurant design” Holmes says.
Holmes also reached out to San Francisco husband-and-wife team of interior interior designers Parisa O'Connell and Clinton Miller, who sought to transform “the space into a rustic, yet modern attraction, with highly textural elements suggestive of a bustling gritty Bangkok alley.”
To do so, Holmes procured some salvaged barn wood and sheet metal from now-defunct Mill Valley garden retailer Smith & Hawken. The refreshed wood and metal now adorn the new BooKoo’s walls, tabletops, and 26-foot bar/countertop.
"We wanted to bring a fresh urban appeal to the new space in fun unique way". An oversized custom light fixture was added as well, “fusing together the ever so bright red logo color along with concrete stains and white hex tile to create a beautiful and welcoming Asian-inspired restaurant experience.”
The expansion was critical, Holmes says, to putting all of BooKoo’s operations under one roof. He says “the logistics of running this business were so hard” because of the tight quarters, with him storing paper products in his house and “running out of food almost every day.”
Holmes says that in addition to paving the way for BooKoo’s craft beer program, the larger space allows for an expanded kitchen and thus a soon-to-expand menu that will include organic handmade artisan dumplings and the return of their popular line of Asian chicken wings.
“In the next few months, you’ll see a big step in our culinary innovation,” he says. “We’re really excited about it.”
The Asian street food restaurant first opened in December 2010 in the former Ino Sushi space as Charlie Hong Kong, a second location of Darryl and Carolyn Rudolph’s popular Santa Cruz restaurant of the same name. In August 2011, the restaurant broke away from that partnership and went through a name change and a tweak of its menu. The BooKoo name is a play on the French “beaucoup” (plentiful, bountiful) and has roots in Vietnamese slang.
As BooKoo is only taking a portion of the former Henry's Toyshop space, Holmes is looking for a subtenant for the rest of it. Interested parties can contact Holmes, a principal at Retail West, by clicking here.
The sub-leased space was temporarily occupied by Carolina Boutique, the retail shop owned by Carolina Loiacono, which moved into the space for a few months during a renovation of the building that included Carolina and Sofia Jewelry.
The 411: BooKoo is located at 25 Miller Avenue. It is open Mon.-Tue., 11am-8pm and Wed.-Sun., 11am-9pm. Click here for more info.