It's hard to forget you're dining in a former Ford assembly plant — the largest such facility on the West Coast, no less — when eating at the BoilerHouse in Richmond. Yet that goes to the designers' credit; the chic industrial setting pays heartfelt homage to the building's past without being trite, with many original features still intact. The 525,000-square-foot, quarter-mile-long plant was constructed more than eighty years ago and featured the requisite assembly lines plus a railroad shed and a pier with a one-acre hangar. During World War II the plant was retooled for the production of military vehicles, and it eventually closed entirely in 1956. After an extensive restoration effort, the building now serves modern uses including live entertainment at the Craneway Pavilion and the offices of solar company SunPower — but the experience of eating fresh American food in a former boilerhouse right on the Richmond waterfront seems to trump all.
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