Jon Mangini of URBN Restaurants (BASIC Bar/Pizza in East Village, URBN Coal Fired Pizza in North Park, Vista and URBN Brewing Co. in El Cajon) plans to expand his collective with a fourth URBN Coal Fired Pizza location in North County. Slated to open doors in March 2015, the latest addition to Mangini’s restaurants will be in Encinitas and will have the same industrial feel of his other popular venues. The menu will feature thin crust, coal-fired pies reminiscent of the famous pizzerias found in New Haven, Connecticut. A choice of craft beers from the collective’s El Cajon brewery operation, URBN Brewing Co., will be available, alongside an extensive list of international ales. URBN Coal Fired Pizza Encinitas, 764 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024, no phone.
Executive chef Steven Riemer, the culinary talent from The Lodge at Torrey Pines and The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, is overseeing the new 8,200-square-foot, indoor/outdoor restaurant Oceana Coastal Kitchen located at the iconic Catamaran Resort Hotel. Guests can enjoy Riemer’s California comfort cuisine, along with sweeping, unobstructed views of Mission Bay. Oceana Coastal Kitchen, 3999 Mission Blvd., San Diego, CA 92109, 858-539-8635.
Fans of fried Oreos and the sinful Krispy Kreme triple cheeseburger, found at the San Diego Fair, no longer have to wait until June to eat these deep-fried indulgences. The menu at Chicken Charlie's FryBQ continues to evolve --- look for fried Doritos, bacon-wrapped pickles, waffle dogs, cookie dough and more. Chicken Charlie's FryBQ, 5407 Balboa Ave. Ste 460, Clairemont, CA 92111, 858-279-1111.
Named for the famous surf break off Fletcher Cove, Pillbox Tavern & Grill serves up coastal American cuisine in a "retro modern" setting. Whether you're interested in a weekend brunch or late-night supper, the family-friendly menu has a wide appeal with its coconut shrimp, panko-crusted pork tenderloin sandwich, chicken wings, Angus burgers, mahi mahi tacos and more. Pillbox Tavern & Grill, 117 W. Plaza Street, Solana Beach, CA 92075, 858-436-7016.
The former La Jolla Strip Club has been transformed into Draft Republic, a gastropub with more than three dozen local beers at your fingertips. The lively eatery has billiards, ping pong, shuffleboard and flatscreens, along with tasty fare from chef Mike Camplin. Try the maple bourbon bacon sticks with apple chips, the rosated butternut squash flatbread or the juicy burger. Draft Republic, 4282 Esplanade Ct., University City, CA 92122, 858-450-1400.
Café Gratitude, which serves up gourmet 100 percent, plant-based cuisine, is arriving in San Diego. The popular vegan restaurant has outposts in Downtown L.A., Venice Beach, Santa Cruz, Berkeley and more, and will now descend upon Little Italy in early 2015. Café Gratitude focuses on organic, healthy eats and environmentally friendly products. The menu features dishes like chia seed pudding, gluten-free buckwheat-flax pancakes and Portobello mushroom tostados with cashew queso fresca and avocado.
The team behind Union Kitchen & Tap, located in both Encinitas and the Gaslamp, are rolling out a new gastropub in Pacific Beach called Backyard Kitchen & Tap. The modern-styled, beer-centric eatery will have cabanas, fire pits and living walls of greenery. It's expected to open in Spring 2015. Backyard Kitchen & Tap, 832 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach, CA 92109, no phone.
Arturo Kassel and Ryan Johnston of Whisknladle Hospitality will open their Italian Coastal restaurant, Catania, on March 1, 2015. Inspired by a road trip through Italy, Catania is the newest concept for this restarateur duo, who are also behind Whisknladle and Prepkitchen Del Mar. Designed by Bluemotif Architecture, the space will occupy 3,750 square feet on the top floor of La Plaza, which once housed Jack's La Jolla. Catania, La Plaza, 7863 Girard Ave., La Jolla, CA 92037, 858-551-5105.
The East Village will be home to Water Grill, which will offer a wide range of seasonal seafood, whole fish, meats and a raw bar. The new restaurant also boasts two spaces for private dining, including a larger room upstairs for 50 guests overlooking J Street with vaulted wood ceilings. San Diego native Fabrice Poigin will oversee the San Diego eatery. Water Grill, 615 J St., San Diego, CA 92101, 619-717-6992.
David Spatafore, the local hospitality maestro behind Coronado’s Blue Bridge Hospitality (MooTime Creamery, Village Pizzeria, Lil’ Piggy’s Bar-B-Q, Coronado Coffee Company, Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge) has announced the plans for Liberty Public Market, a public arena for local artisans, handcrafted food and specialty items, all under one roof. The 22,000-square-foot space will house more than 30 purveyors, allowing brick-and-mortar opportunities for small businesses. Acting as a one-stop specialty shop, as well as a daily farmers' market, Liberty Public Market is similar to Napa’s progressive Oxbow Public Market. The market will be set in sprawling Liberty Station, adjacent to Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. It is expected to open in summer 2015. Liberty Public Market, Liberty Station, 2816 Historic Decatur Rd., San Diego, CA 92106, no phone.
Bottega Americano is a European-style marketplace and chic restaurant with five interactive food bars, creative cocktails, gourmet gifts and an epicurean to-go market. The menu honors the culinary traditions of Italy, but also American regional cooking. Think wood-fired pizza, a pasta bar, paninis, a raw bar, salads, salumi, gourmet cheeses and an espresso bar. Executive chef David Warner (formely of JRDN) has partnered with chef Giuseppe Ciuffa and GM Greg Van de Velde (formerly of Mister A's) to create this innovative concept. Designed by Thomas Schoos (Searsucker, Puesto), the 8000-square-foot marketplace is a dynamic and inviting setting where diners experience the sights, sounds and aromas of the kitchen. Snake Oil Cocktail Company has further elevated the scene with clever potables like handcrafted syrups for the coffee bar, coffee-based cocktails and modern versions of classic Italian libations. Bottega Americano resides in the LEED-certified Thomas Jefferson School of Law, across from downtown's new library, and is a glorious step forward for San Diego's culinary scene. Bottega Americano, 1195 Island Ave., San Diego, CA 92101, 619-255-7800.
One of Tijuana's most celebrated chefs, Javier Plascencia, has announced plans to open a new restaurant on Kettner Boulevard in Little Italy. Named for the 1940s Bracero program, which brought in many Mexican agricultural workers to the U.S., the bi-level eatery will allow San Diego diners to savor the famed chef's modern Mexican fare, without crossing the border. The lower level will be a casual, no-reservations eatery, while the upper floor will offer a more formal dining experience. Plascencia also has Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro in Bonita, in addition to a slew of eateries in Tijuana (Mision 19) and Guadalupe Valley (Finca Altozano). Bracero: Cocina Mexicana de Raiz will open in spring 2015. Bracero: Cocina Mexicana de Raiz, 1490 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101, no phone.
Bertrand at Mister A's Celebrates 50 Years in June 2015
During 2015, Bertrand at Mister A's will honor its 50-year legacy with special menus, a retro cocktail hour and a gala dinner benefiting the Old Globe Theater. The anniversary menu selections will take diners on a journey back to a different era, with dishes and cocktails of the day such as lobster diablo, beef Wellington, Caesar salad for two and baked Alaska. Throughout the month of June, the restaurant will offer a $65 prix-fixe menu with wine pairings, as well as other specials. On June 1, the original opening date, Mister A’s will host a black-tie fundraiser benefiting the Old Globe in nearby Balboa Park, which is celebrating its centennial this year. Bertrand at Mister A's, 2550 Fifth Ave., 12th Floor, San Diego, CA 92103, 619-239-1377.
The team from George’s at the Cove is launching Galaxy Taco in La Jolla Shores in early June 2015. Executive chef/partner Trey Foshee has announced that his sous chef at George's California Modern, Christine Rivera, will serve as chef de cuisine of the new project. The 4,000-square-foot eatery with serve up Baja-inspired foods with local seasonal ingredients from cold seafood dishes and salads to seasonal hot appetizers and eight varieties of tacos. Look for an excellent selection of tequila and mezcal. Galaxy Taco, 2259 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037, no phone.
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