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Gingham is the Next Malarkey Fabric.

Apparently the Brennan-Malarkey machine is opening Gingham in La Mesa before Herringbone in La Jolla.


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  1. It'll be interesting to see what they do with that space, it's somewhat awkward, but has a killer patio with fireplace. Nice location, decent (tho'metered) parking. If they succeed it would be a good addition to La Mesa Blvd. I'll be waiting to see their menu.

    1. I thought that they got shot down by the La Mesa CC on noise issues. Brennan wanted music out on the patio and the council wouldn't let them. I will go for the cheap joke and say well, the residents can just turn off their hearing aides and the loud music wont be a problem.

      1. I guess this means that Malarkey's plan for Muslin Terrace will be further postponed.

        1. Gingham sorta fits the personality of La Mesa, I guess. Although I would have been ok with Denim, Dungaree or Leather. LOL

          2 Replies
          1. Good...maybe all the people from La Mesa, etc. who invade Searsucker on weekends will stay home and I can go back there.

            Aside from that though, I've enjoyed some items, not all, at his Searsucker (have not had eaten at Burlap). Consider me a skeptic who does not see the justification for all the hoopla he receives. He was a chef at Oceanaire (a chain) cooking someone else's recipes who has done a wonderful job since marketing himself....am I missing something here?

            5 Replies
            1. re: El Chevere

              Yeah, you are missing something.

              You didn't mention the fedoras he can't seem to stop wearing.

              1. re: El Chevere

                Cuisine is art, restaurants are business.

                I didn't especially enjoy Searsucker and won't return, but he's done a helluva job as a restauranteur. My hat's off to him.

                611 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                1. re: Fake Name

                  I think we're in agreement...questioning his culinary talents, definitely not his marketing talents.

                  1. re: El Chevere

                    And I think those marketing talents will be stretched in the East County. The space they're taking over has a fantastic (and large) patio, but the interior is choppy and disjointed. I'm not sure a menu designed for downtown and La Jolla will play the same in La Mesa, but you can't dumb it down too far either. The immediate clientel is not accustomed to paying downtown prices and I'm not entirely sure they will.

                    Terra has been wildly successful on an underserved and unattractive stretch of El Cajon Blvd. with the "nothing over $20" format (tho' they seriously need to upgrade their acoustics). La Mesa Blvd is neither underserved nor unattractive. They're going into the heart of LM Village which is a quaint and charming throwback to the 50s and 60s without the foot traffic of downtown.

                    From a purely selfish perspective, I hope Gingham is wildly successful so I don't have get roped into any more meals with the family at The Brig or Anthony's

              2. With Searsucker, Burlap and Gingham, are we looking at a "Hat" trick from Brennan-Malarkey?

                2 Replies
                  1. re: stevewag23

                    I am still waiting for the opening of Muslin Terrace. There will certainly be some interesting headwear for that one!

                  2. So, what is the general consensus on this?

                    Will Malarkey Pull a rabbit out of his hat with Gingham?

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: stevewag23

                      So how's Melarkey gonna get a rabbit into one of those fedoras he wears?

                      My guess is that Gingham will also be a success. It seems that many people like to make fun of Brian but most seem to have good reports after going to one of his restaurants. Maybe he just needs to ditch the hats...

                      1. re: Tripeler

                        Or stop being such a media whore

                        The success of Gingham will depend upon the menu mix and price points. East County desparately needs a good restaurant and the chosen venue has a TON of potential, but a good chunk of the locals there aren't willing to pay "downtown" prices for food they don't "get"

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          Agree DD. I think there are a good chunk of locals all over the county who aren't willing or are tired of paying downtown tourist prices for food they don't get.

                          I applaud anyone willing to branch out and bring good food to all areas of the County instead of focusing just on downtown or Hillcrest. Still P.O'd that Blanca bailed N Coastal.

                          And maybe it will be Malarkey, so what. I couldn't care less about his hats and media attention, especially since he seems to get more attention in this board anyway. I'll try it before I pass judgement just like any other restaurant.

                          1. re: Island

                            I truly hope this venture is successful and can sustain itself. It will help make East County a more viable option for operators looking to open something other than a chain franchise, breakfast/lunch place or fast casual "cafe".

                            Terra helped to break som new ground by moving to a god-foresaken stretch of El Cajon Blvd, which was probably a giant leap of faith. The small plates and rock bottom pricing have worked so far.

                            1. re: Island

                              So you are saying that you approve of Malarkey "throwing his hat into the ring" in East County?

                              Me too.

                              1. re: stevewag23

                                I'm glad someone with what appears on the surface to be sufficient resources to open and sustain an indie (or at least quasi-indie) restaurant is attempting to break the through "not East of the 805" barrier.

                                I think if they try and plop down their downtown "formula" into La Mesa it may backfire on them, but if they tweak it a bit it might work. A lot will also depend on how strong the crew is that they install in the kitchen. It will work for at last the first 6 months just because people will be curious. If the prices are too high, or they can't find something to like on the menu, those same folks will not make a repeat visit.

                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                  "I think if they try and plop down their downtown "formula" into La Mesa it may backfire on them, but if they tweak it a bit it might work."

                                  Do you think it is possible that if Marlarky does this, he may be trying to "wear too many hats"?

                                  1. re: stevewag23

                                    No, I think if Gingham doesn't work it will be more because he didn't put his thinking cap on and figure out that his cleintel isn't the same even if there is only a 20 mile difference ;-)

                          2. re: Tripeler

                            So, do you think we should "pass the hat around" for a collection so Malerky get get a new hat?

                        2. Actually, it's his fabric fixation that is hard to fathom.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Tripeler

                            I think it is a good (marketing) idea and like how they doing it

                          2. What is it with San Diego taking more and more of the same crap for food and lauding it as excellent?

                            Honestly, I've got to hand it to him as it was pretty genius to put Burlap next to Sammy's as it's just the next food price up from Sammy's, but against things like George's or even Market it just can't hold its own in that price point as far as food quality goes.

                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                Saw it on the news this am, didn't look like huge damage.

                                1. re: cstr

                                  Glad this was not worse than it was and probably could easily have been. Likely not very good way for them to endear themselves to their neighbors though.

                                    1. re: RB Hound

                                      Good question . . . outdoor propane heaters?

                                      1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                                        Yes, they have a large patio with a lot of heaters. And from the news films it looks like it's their patio that went.

                                  1. re: cstr

                                    You can see some video at this link:


                                    Even from a distance the video is pretty scary.

                                  2. re: Beach Chick

                                    According to Eater San Diego, tentatively scheduled to reopen on Thursday. http://eater.cc/VuM1wR