Catalina – Charlotte

  • Location(s): Charlotte, NC
  • Project Includes: Architecture, Interiors, & Branding

For twenty-five years, NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka has dedicated his efforts to curating delicious dining experiences. Now the sports icon is bringing his flair for flavor to Charlotte, NC. Catalina Kitchen & Bar, now open, serves up coastal hospitality and impeccable food inspired by the beautiful and friendly Santa Catalina Island off the coast of California.

Working closely with the Ditka’s restaurant group, we worked to craft a true neighborhood kitchen in which patrons feel welcomed to dine every night of the week. Guests are invited to slow down and explore a menu of modern classics: premium steaks, fresh seafood, and a sprawling wine list featuring producers large and small. Joining a growing food scene in Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood, Catalina brings vibrant enthusiasm for California coastal aesthetics curated through a distinctly Southern lens. This relaxed, breezy atmosphere fosters true Southern hospitality amid modern, industrial accents.

Following the Ditka’s mission, Catalina is tailored to the Elizabeth neighborhood and the residents who live there. Located just off Charlotte’s historic streetcar line, Catalina reflects the best of its environment, adding to the community. Greenery suspended from the ceiling keep the space feeling lush and lively, reminiscent of the area’s growing canopy of trees. The curved oval bar mimics the rounded corner of the building’s existing exterior, creating a focal point and center of attention. These soft, rounded edges continue into finishes and architectural elements throughout the rest of the space.

This organic flow facilitated one of the key goals of this project — cultivating a comfortable and dynamic environment in which guests feel relaxed and at home. The primary seating area between the kitchen and bar creates a palpable synergy between the two. Catalina bustles with energy and activity, and the focus never strays from a spectacular experience. Guests are invited to feel a part of the restaurant, engaging with the mood as staff prepare specialty cocktails and mouth-watering seaside favorites.