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San Diego CLOSED Restaurants: Thread Three- The Saga Continues.

With absolutely no authority, yet blessed by nonspecifichigherpower, I use this giant imaginary scissor to bifurcate the imaginary giant ribbon on a new, fresh start for the thread pertaining to restaurants of San Diego that have fallen victim to the shifting sands of the industry and closing their doors.

This new thread should allow easier navigation and enhance the Chowhound user experience.

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  1. It would be my hope that this new thread remain small.

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    1. I saw that Azafran the Cuban restaurant on the 101 in Oceanside has closed. I spoke with Chef Mark Millwood from TBG BBQ in Oceanside and he said The Flying Pig Pub and Kitchen may be going into the space either as an expansion or a new concept. It's a really nice building Azafran was just always empty.

      1. Sadly, I just learned that Lisko Deli and Fish Market closed. I don't live in that area, and so only went there a handful of times. It was a real gem.

        Greedy landlord to blame, so I was told.

        2 Replies
          1. re: notjustastomach

            I have the same LL on another property. More likely poor business practices than greedy LL. s.r.w.

          2. Savory Garden (located in the 99 Ranch complex on Clairmont Mesa) has closed.

            1. The fish boutique in Mira Mesa (same mall as TJ) has closed. Sign says closed temporarily for renovation but for the last 4 weeks nobody is doing anything

              1. Perhaps this is old news, but Red Pearl Kitchen downtown is closed.

                1. Sora

                  Partners are re-opening (cough, cough) in mid-May as a rustic Italian bistro.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    That did not last long...I guess if you are going to Japanese / Italian fusion it needs to work. Thay also went with more of a night club feel (Always bad for a restaurant IMO unless drinks are driving your sales)

                    1. re: chris2269

                      New name is going to be .... (wait for it) ... Meatball Cucina.

                      Let the jokes begin.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Couldn't be happier Sora failed.....this same restaurant group owns Greystone (they claim to use prime meat), Osetra, and Panevino (once ordered a $30 veal dish, only to receive 2 veal patties I would expect to find for $5 at Subway--I kid you not).

                    1. re: globocity

                      wow, you mean four years of running Groupons and other daily deals almost constantly couldn't save them?

                      1. re: globocity

                        Shocking that they hung around as they did, especially in the post Bird Rock mafia days, but in a way we do have them to thank for Societe.

                        1. re: RB Hound

                          @RB Hound and soon Benchmark Brewing.

                          I used to go to LJ Brew House after work in the 90s, and last time I went back about 7 years ago it was exactly the same...and not in a good way.

                        2. re: globocity

                          No great loss, went a few times just out of giving them more than a few chances. It's a good location, hope a nice brew/gastro pub goes in with some awesome offerings.

                          1. re: globocity

                            Soon to become La Jolla Brewing Company...

                            From this article:

                            http://lajolla.patch.com/articles/la-...

                            Next time you’re in La Jolla and craving a craft brew, Phil Aitken wants you to think of La Jolla Brewing Company. The savvy investor and his three business partners recently purchased the La Jolla Brewhouse and are currently working to transform it into the beacon of San Diego craft beer. The sale, which is in escrow, is pending California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control approval.

                            "We want to be a place where everyone can get craft beer from throughout San Diego, without leaving La Jolla,” Aitken said.

                            Partnered with Aitken are Leigh Gibson, owner and operator of Dirty Birds in Pacific Beach, Fred Gaston, a local attorney at Gaston & Gaston downtown, and Armando Lopez, another local businessman and investor. Heading up the brew operations is Brett Stamps, a former brewer at Dogfish Head, and Mira Mesa-based Green Flash Brewing Co.

                            Etc., etc...

                            https://www.facebook.com/LaJollaBrewi...

                            1. re: bizzwriter

                              Sounds a little like the San Diego Brew Project in Little Italy, with a few house beers thrown in for good measure. Sort of a yin to the Public House La Jolla's yang. Just as long as they don't go after the happy hour crowd or late night bar crowd, people might actually take them seriously. Definitely no crappy loud dance music.

                              1. re: bizzwriter

                                Problem is "Craft Brew" is everywhere these days. There are 3 to 4 dive bars less than a mile from me that serve good food and have a large number of craft brews on tap and by bottle. They are going to have to rely on the tourists.

                                  1. re: chris2269

                                    I'm always in the hunt for a dive bar with good chow, please do give some names.

                                    1. re: cstr

                                      Oceanside, Red Rooster and Hosie's,for burgers. Also Red Rooster has 9.99 Rib Eye Sundays they cut their own steaks and you cook them on the patio. P&Q pub (I have not been there since the ownership change). Not quite dives but also That Boy Good BBQ and Treemont bar and grill for good food and beer.

                                      1. re: chris2269

                                        I guess I'm not sure why good places to go in Oceanside have any bearing on what goes in La Jolla.

                                        1. re: RB Hound

                                          Just means I won't go out of my way to La Jolla when I can get the same near by...no harm intended on the owners it's just if Craft beer is your draw it's not much of a draw as you can get it everywhere now.

                                          1. re: chris2269

                                            I seriously doubt that the new owners of the LJ Brewing Company perceive anybody living north of Del Mar as being part of their customer base.

                                            1. re: RB Hound

                                              Agree, but you are still relying on locals and tourists with the draw of craft beer. So how is it not the same failed business plan of the past owners? Maybe they can run it more efficiently but it's the same business model which failed. Maybe they can get a good chef in (no disrespect on the last chef). Other than that same old same old. Same thing same result.

                                              1. re: chris2269

                                                It may have been called "La Jolla Brew House", but the owners were not running it as a brewpub or a craft beer centric place. You can read more about it here:

                                                http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...

                                                1. re: RB Hound

                                                  Correct RB, the LJ Brew House wasn't brewing. IMO, just a meh place serving meh food. Nothing jumped out on their menu nor their taps. I like where it sits but, there is a lot of similar competition close by. I'd recommend the new management ditch the LJ 'tude and dumb LJ 'we're located in the pricey village so we can charge outreageous prices' and get something worth going there for to just possibly created a customer base.

                                      2. re: cstr

                                        Sledge!!
                                        Did you have to finish up on that court ordered work furlough program..orange is a good color on you.
                                        ; )

                                        Dive bars with good food..there's a combo pack you don't see much..
                                        Bummer

                                        1. re: Beach Chick

                                          Do you happen to have a 'Man Bag' that goes with my outfit? Funny, on the dive bars, I just saw that Night Owl has a new addition to it's name, Night Owl Cocktails, how's that for classing it up!

                                          1. re: cstr

                                            Night Owl Cocktails...that is hilarious!

                                            1. re: cstr

                                              Night Owl...talk about the mothership of dive bars.
                                              I believe its always had the tag line 'cocktails' in their signage.
                                              Haven't been in almost 20 years.
                                              I've stepped up my game..happy hours at Bertrand's.
                                              ;^)

                                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                                What about the man bag to go with my work release garb?

                                                1. re: cstr

                                                  Tod's has some fab man bags with matching pistachio driving shoes...you could wear them to the Night Owl for their happy hour..thought you were still in mediation on your work release?

                                  2. Does anyone remember the restaurant on either Midway or Sports Arena Blvd, East of Rosecrans? Going toward airport it was on the left side. Steakhouse type food, had a fireplace in one of the rooms. The family also owned two or three pizza places in SD.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: kdono

                                      Cotton Patch.

                                      Also owners of Boll Weevil. It was explained to me that Boll Weevil begain grinding the trimmings of the steaks from Cotton Patch.

                                      1. re: Fake Name

                                        Sounds like an improvement in quality.

                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                          Interesting that Boll Weevil rhymes with Midieval

                                        1. re: foodiechick

                                          The article indicates that the Gingham spot is in escrow, so it sounds like it won't be vacant too long.

                                          1. re: foodiechick

                                            Wonder who's going in...

                                            The location is great, but it's cursed, no one survives very long there

                                            1. re: foodiechick

                                              Damn got my aunt and uncle a gift certificate there for Christmas. Doubt they used it by now....

                                              1. re: keena

                                                Maybe one of the other "fabric" restaurants will honor it...give them a call.

                                                1. re: foodiechick

                                                  I wonder if they've opened Muslin Terrace yet...

                                              2. re: foodiechick

                                                U/T article with comments from the locals about Gingham

                                                http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/m...

                                                As a resident of the dreaded East County I understand their points and don't disagree

                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                  "all those San Diego foodies hungering for Brian Malarkey’s eats. “ Really.... highly exagerated but, hey it's the local rag, what do you expect. As for East County, ease up a bit, be kind and gentle. Not like it's Death Valley!

                                                  1. re: cstr

                                                    That might have been a typo. Likely they were "hungering for Brian Malarkey's hats."

                                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                                      Clearly, they were hungering for something other than what he was serving ;-)

                                                  2. re: DiningDiva

                                                    That headline was so spot on, I didn't even bother reading the article.

                                                    1. re: phee

                                                      David Cohn is right about one thing...La Mesa and the East County in general *is* an underserved market for creative food, nicely done. While I'm not necessarily a huge fan of the Cohn Group, I think they've got the wherewithall to come in and make that venue work and make it work for the community. I think menus similar to Bo Beau and 1000 Vines will work.

                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                        The Cohn Group is a bit of an 800 pound gorilla, but David and Lesley are some of the hardest working people in the industry, and restaurants are their business. They aren't lawyers or rock stars, and they know a restaurant needs more than flashy reality tv cred to succeed.

                                                            1. re: Dagney

                                                              Oh no....I was being sincere, actually. Thought you came up with really good points. Sorry my intention was ambiguous!

                                                              1. re: globocity

                                                                Oh! Shoot okay, sorry bout that....:))) I worked for the Cohns many many many years ago and I was always impresed by their work ethic. They were all business and hard work, no glamour and definitely no hundreds of dollars of comped meals every night.

                                                  3. La Playita in Clairmont appears to be closed. Went by Saturday at noon and they shut up tight.

                                                    1. 25Forty Bistro on Congress in Old Town closed Sunday. This little place was really wonderful, especially for Cygnet theatre nights, and we'll miss it.

                                                      1. Underbelly in Little Italy has closed.

                                                        What is it that people say about a tree in the forest falling ...?

                                                        13 Replies
                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                          Was that the place with no sign? Just asking ?
                                                          and no spoons?

                                                          1. re: chris2269

                                                            There was a sign. It just wasn't very conspicuous, nor legible. Maybe that was it's downfall ..

                                                            1. re: chris2269

                                                              Yes. Tiny sign. This wasn't really a very memorable place, but I hate the constant turnover of restuarants.

                                                            2. re: ipsedixit

                                                              Damn. That's odd. Whenever I've been it has at least been somewhat busy.

                                                              1. re: DougOLis

                                                                I was there a couple of times and it wasn't exatcly empty, but not really busy. Must have been the time of day and day of week that I went. Anyway, I think it croaked out partly because it was in the wrong area, maybe??? Not totally terrific food, anyway.

                                                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                I thought they are closing for some remodeling. They are opening also a second location

                                                                1. re: honkman

                                                                  You know more about it than I do. I think they'll do better somewhere else than their spot in LI. It's ok there, but doesn't quite fit in.

                                                                2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  Actually, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, the sound still exists. Fact of science. There's a difference between the existence of "sound" and the "hearing" or perception of sound. Same for some restaurants...

                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                    It looks closed with the brown paper on the windows. But there are/were small hints that they'd reopen on June 10th.

                                                                    The most subtle of those hints is/was a printed sign in every window explaining that they were closed for remodeling and would open on the 10th of June.

                                                                    On this basis, I assumed they were closed for remodeling and would reopen on June 10th.

                                                                    I like the place, and go for lunch 1-2x monthly. It is often crowded with a line out the door.

                                                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                                                      Well, that makes sense I guess.

                                                                      The Japanese whiskey program sounds promising.

                                                                      1. re: Fake Name

                                                                        Pretty good detective work! Yes, it does seem to be a pretty popular place, all right.

                                                                    2. why do restaurants close? overwhelming reason is lack of customers, followed by generally poor management. Yes there is anecdotal evidence of greedy landlords but in most cases it's the fault of management/ownership. There was a place in Carlsbad called Dooley McCuskeys. Very popular for a while. The vacant spot remained closed 6 years, still with the signs in place. I saw a couple looking in the windows once. I told them Dooleys had closed. They said "oh no, this is our favorite restaurant. we go there all the time". "all the time" meaning once in 6 or 7 years. just seems funny to me. s.r.w.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: robwalton

                                                                        With a name like Dooley McCuskeys, it had to have been good.

                                                                        1. re: Encinitan

                                                                          That sounds like a place Homer Simpson would patronize.

                                                                      2. Linkery and Hubcap closing.

                                                                        From Jay Porter:

                                                                        "Simply put, it's time for us to move on, and let new operators bring their unique gifts to the community. We will be closing the Linkery after service July 15th, and Hubcap at the end of July. Each place will be taken over by a different, independent, locally-based owner, and they will each bring exciting changes to 30th Street."

                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                                                            This makes me sad, but I wish Jay and company all the best of luck in their ventures north.

                                                                              1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                Just read the email. Wow. But I imagine it was pretty difficult to launch a new concept and keep the team motivated from SF.

                                                                                1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                  I think the hand writing was pretty much on the wall when J announced he was going to SF. I wish them luck in SF, I'll miss The Linkery.

                                                                                  1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                    Huge loss for the San Diego food scene. Jay did a lot of great work and if (when?) I make it back home to SD it's going to be weird not having The Linkery around anymore.

                                                                                      1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                        Wishing Jay all the best. .

                                                                                        Loved to see one of Javier's resto's in one or both spaces..

                                                                                        www.grupoplascencia.com

                                                                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                          Sad but not unexpected. Thanks Jay for spearheading the localvore movement in SD, the city and especially North park, are a better place because of it!

                                                                                        2. Really sad to see this, but when El Take it EZ morphed into Hubcap because of his move to SF, I wondered how long he could juggle the 2-city lifestyle and when we'd see this day :-(.

                                                                                          Sooner than I thought, but like others have said, I really wish him the best with the new endeavors. In spite of the grey hairs, he's still young enough to be able to try pursue new ideas and concepts with some vision and energy.

                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                            Does the Linkery survive if Hubcap wasn't attempted? Probably not, but I'm just throwing that out there. Maybe the person that *knows* that answer would care to offer up an opinion. Either way, happy trails, Jay.

                                                                                            1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                              Good question, RBH, but I suspect we'll never know. The offical story and the real one are often different in these situations. Reading between the lines, it sounds like he was just burned out...by something. The Linkery was an anchor on 30th, so yes it's a big loss, but the community that brought it there is still there, looking for eclectic digs and great food. Something will come in to fill the vacuum.

                                                                                              1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                I don't see many reason to believe why somebody will fill out the vacuum. There are a number of big losses which weren't also filled on a similar quality level. I can't really remember when we had a restaurant opening recently which gave hope for an interesting restaurant.

                                                                                                1. re: honkman

                                                                                                  I hear you, honkman. I'm trying to be optimistic. The exodus has been unnerving.

                                                                                                  1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                    Interesting also that on Twitter Troy Johnson writes that another well known chef in SD will leave soon ( and he is normally very well informed)

                                                                                                      1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                        He is the food editor of the San Diego Magazine

                                                                                                        1. re: honkman

                                                                                                          No, what chef?

                                                                                                          Edit: Ah! Nevermind. Just Googled Troy Johnson and found his Twitter feed. Looks like he did not mention the name. hmm....

                                                                                                          Also, just looked at your blog. Good writing!

                                                                                          2. Vagabond has been sold or transferred (don't know any details) and will become Braban Belgian Beer and Cafe.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                              I think that the area around 30th/Fern & Juniper in South Park has as much potential, foodwise, as it's counterpart further north on the same street. A lot of really cool people seem to live there. Pure San Diego. It's not quite there yet, though. (I don't know why I read Braban as "Barbarian" when I first glanced at your post...) Wish the reincaration well, as I do with all new starts.

                                                                                              1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                Another beer place, you must be thrilled ;-)

                                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                  You can never have too many (hic) beer places! Stone's in Lib. Stn. is (hic) a new beer place and I think it's a really GRATE (hic) place. Oh, I meant to add, to have a localbrau. Not so sure about there chow (hic)

                                                                                                  Actually, a place like Alchemy would be better for the area, but restaurant clusters evolve (preaching to the choir here) in response to the immediate clientele base, as you know much better than I.

                                                                                                1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                  I ate at Jai a couple of times before events at the La Jolla Playhouse. While I enjoyed the food, I really wondered how that place could make a go of it. It is pretty hidden on the UC campus and you would never go there unless you were going to a play.or concert. The only way I think it could work would be a restaurant group that has a large presence in SD (yes the Cohns) and they could pull in staff from their other restaurants to run that venue. Good luck in finding somebody to run that restaurant.

                                                                                                  1. re: littlestevie

                                                                                                    "Good luck in finding somebody to run that restaurant."

                                                                                                    LOL

                                                                                                    1. re: littlestevie

                                                                                                      I agree completely, and although I am not generally a fan of the Cohn chain, I think you make a well thought out point about the ability of that kind of operation to run that venue.

                                                                                                  2. Kecho's in OB (part of the Olive Market Market building) closed, and an Indian food restaurant promptly replaced it. Bummer about Kecho's, I liked eating there after shopping at OTM or enoying some tasters. Most of the seats were in the back patio area and there was no heat so it was difficult to eat there in the winter/spring time.

                                                                                                    The new Indian place is called Sundara.

                                                                                                    1. Looks like Vagabond Kitchen (in South Park) shuts its doors Aug 31.

                                                                                                      http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                          Please inform SD Reader about these matters, it appears they need a good point man on this subject.

                                                                                                      1. Madras Cafe in Little India is now closed.

                                                                                                        1. Just read this on Facebook:

                                                                                                          Rumor has it that Gaijin Noodle + Sake House is no longer in business. Owner and Chef Antonio Friscia made the announcement on his Facebook and the restaurant's website is down.

                                                                                                          http://www.sandiegoville.com/2012/08/...

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: foodiechick

                                                                                                            Oh heck! I just rode by there last weekend and spoke to some of the waitstaff before bar break. Sorry to read they have shut down. Their menu looked good and this was on my to-go-to list.

                                                                                                          2. Meatball Cuccina (sp?) is closed. Finally. Loved the concept, but not the execution.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: SanDiego

                                                                                                              and that could very well be the surprise of all time.

                                                                                                              1. re: SanDiego

                                                                                                                It's like a triple curse of inadequate execution, somewhat difficult space and (from what I heard) high rent.

                                                                                                                Not sure exactly what would work best there. They have three office buildings and two condo tower/complexes nearby (not to mention train and trolley stations), but not as much flowing foot traffic in front unless a cruise ship is dropping off tourists.

                                                                                                                Efficient distribution of alcohol (local beers+); ability to entice a solid lunch crowd and also evening customers ... perhaps a grass-fed burger-serving "Waterfront" clone? With a high-quality soup/stew/udon of the day? Maybe two (one vegetarian)...

                                                                                                              2. Punjabi Kitchen off Miramar (sister restaurant to Delhi Kitchen in Carmel Mountain) abruptly closed sometime last month. All that remains is a "pho coming soon" sign.

                                                                                                                1. The Fish Bucket in the Keil's shopping center is done. Owner died, kids don't want it.

                                                                                                                  Not a huge loss...w-a-y over priced for w-a-y lousy food.

                                                                                                                  22 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                    Did the Fish Bucket in Tierrasanta also close?

                                                                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                        Well, as you said, no big loss. I was to the one on Santo exactly once a couple of years ago and thought it was "ok" but pretty mediocre. I had a coupon that took the sting off the price.

                                                                                                                        I guess the flash-in-the-pan Moby Dick's on Convoy is also closed. Talk about lousy overpriced seafood.

                                                                                                                        1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                          I think the hard part about The Fish Bucket in San Carlos is that it's a drastically under served neighborhood. The community watched for weeks as the two storefronts were opened up and renovated. I think there were pretty high hopes that we'd finally get a good go-to neighborhood restaurant.

                                                                                                                          What we got was anything but. So while this is but a small eatery in a sleepy, small untrendy suburban community, it's a loss none the less. We're left with The Trails (okay for breakfast but uneven for everything else), Nicolosi's, The Vine Cottage and little else <sigh>.

                                                                                                                          If I wasn't so tired and beat up (professionally), I'd consider opening a "real" Mexican restaurant in the recently departed Fish Bucket space...

                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                            I was by the post office in Tierrasanta today and it appeared the Fish Bucket was open. New owner as of a year or so ago.. Haven't been in though, and I live local!

                                                                                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                If you did that, your place would most definitely get the aiccirA treatment here.

                                                                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                  I agree that it's a loss. Moby Dick's too. We really need more places like this, good places like this, in that area. In fact, we need more moderate-price seafood places in general. So yes, it's a loss in that sense.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                    I'm uncertain that's possible. Good, fresh seafood is not cheap. I think it's like a moderately-priced steakhouse.

                                                                                                                                    The food cost is not moderate.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                                      I guess I should have defined what I mean by "moderate". I think the snapper and yellowtail salads at Blue Water, for example, are moderate -- and also a good price/quality value. I know the prices of these salads are lower partly because you get a little less fish and no rice (compared to their plates), but that's fine with me.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                        Yeah, I get that.

                                                                                                                                        But a seafood place cannot get by on a salad alone- salad is the cheapest, made of scraps from cutting filets, etc. Doubtless (because you said so) a good lunch or light dinner.

                                                                                                                                        But offering a solid seafood-based dish with a good quality cut of fish is yet another thing. The cheap road can be traveled here- Restaurant Depo IQF fish portions from Vietnam, Tilapia, catfish, canned tuna, canned crab (or krab) etc. and while that may make prices moderate, it's a poor meal.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                                          Good post - too often people want a restaurant to have good quality ingredients, a variety of dishes at low prices which are often very unrealistic expectations. The profit margins of restaurants are very slim and people have to decide if they want cheap food but low quality or good quality at higher prices.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                            I'm happy to settle for a smaller portion of good quality food when the cost to the restaurant is relatively high, as with fish. I don't seek out cheap food, but do seek out good value.

                                                                                                                                            What do I think constitutes value? Well, there's a minimum threshold on food quality, which is a personal judgement. After that the location and ambience of the restaurant plays in, and finally the price.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                      DC, unfortunately, The Fish Bucket wasn't moderate in price and their fish just wasn't that good. Ever had Fish & Chips made with Swai, a muddy, bottom feeding fish related to catfish that tends to get mushy when cooked. Dirt cheap. But sold at $12.99+ it returns a whale of a margin when the only other things on the plate are a mountain of cheap shoestring fries and a big ol' hunk o' cold sourdough. There was probably $2 or less in food cost on that Fish & Chips plate and it showed because it was dreadful.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                        Arrgh, my post where I said we needed "good places like this" was mis-written or mis-read. As I said originally, my impression of the Fish Bucket, which I went to just once, was that it was mediocre. What I was trying to say was that we need more places of the type that Fish Bucket was but that serve good food. And if the price is good, all the better.

                                                                                                                                        I think that Blue Water exemplifies the kind of simple place with good food that I wish there were more of. Fish Bucket was a simple place that had overpriced mediocre food. Ditto with Moby Dick's, except the food quality was below mediocre.

                                                                                                                                        For those who don't like the food and value at Blue Water, I guess we'll just have to disagree.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                          DC, I think it was probably more a function of how/where your post appeared on this thread more than a misunderstanding of your intent.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                            But I know a lot of people that complain Blue Water is too expensive for the portion. You might settle (and recognize) for smaller portion of higher quality the large majority of customers not and that ultimately is one of the main reasons good restaurants (in SD) don't survive. And that's also the reason (from another thread) that Cheesecake Factory will easily succeed but Pizzeria Mozza mainly based on the "celebrity chef" even though he isn't much involved in the Mozza franchise. If the Batali name wouldn't be involved I doubt that Pizzeria Mozza would survive based on their prices and quality.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                        DD, Vine Cottage closed about a month ago. Antica is by far the best restaurant in the neighborhood.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: 4wino

                                                                                                                                          Vine Cottage closed, drat. Forgot about Antica, you're right, it's our best area resto.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: 4wino

                                                                                                                                            I had heard the Vine Cottage was closing temporarily, and would reopen this month.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: phee

                                                                                                                                              I drove by yesterday and saw a "now open" banner which makes more sense since I hadn't realized it closed.

                                                                                                                                2. I believe that one day, I will open this thread and read that Cheezcake Fac has closed. One day. It could happen.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                    I believe that one day, obesity rates in adult Americans will drop below 33%. One day. It could happen.

                                                                                                                                  2. Not that it's a huge loss, but Rock Bottom Brewery at 4th Avenue and G Street has closed up shop.

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                      The bigger loss was the advertising agency that was the occupant before RB. Ultra modern architectural design of the interior space and one of the first few "businesses" in the early '80's, deep in the Gaslamp District. The few other early pioneers at the time were Croce's, The Cheese Shop, the original Pannikin Coffee, a fantastic, modern art gallery and a cool, professional photography studio (run by someone we all know and love). ;D

                                                                                                                                      1. re: foodiechick

                                                                                                                                        Sigh...I remember seeing people dining inside of Fio's, early in the 90's...It looked so chic! I was just out of college and downtown was almost, I guess, pretty, back in those days. Things were truly on the upswing and the Gaslamp had a small town feel. Ah well.

                                                                                                                                    2. Has anybody recently visit a small place in La Jolla known for its porchetta sandwich. It looked closed today

                                                                                                                                      23 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                        Was just talking about that place, have not been for awhile. Did it look shuttered for good or just for the day (any notes on the door or windows)? There is a huge disabled triathlon in town today, they could be cheering on or partcipating.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodiechick

                                                                                                                                          According to my wife it looks dark and like they might tearing it apart but she wasn't sure if it is shuttered

                                                                                                                                          1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                            Drove by a little while ago and it appears it was just closed today. Looks like the "tearing apart" look is just the outdoor umbrellas piled up on the tables that are lined up just inside the front windows.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: foodiechick

                                                                                                                                              My wife looked inside and saw many boxes like they were moving stuff. Hopefully they are just replacing stuff

                                                                                                                                        2. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                          Bought a bunch of stuff there last week -- was up and running and fully stocked. Great food, by the way -- especially the cool little pretzel rolls stuffed with mortadella and asiago that I brought home and grilled in my panini press. I'll swing by today and have a look.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: shouzen

                                                                                                                                              Yes -- just swung by an hour ago on the way to Pannikin. The shop has been gutted -- all stock now gone, cash register gone, nothing in the coolers.

                                                                                                                                              The plug has been pulled.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: bizzwriter

                                                                                                                                                Somebody on the "Y" site said that a local passed on a rumor that they might be in the process of moving to Little Italy.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                  I hope so, that would generate much more traffic for him. That part of Girard is pretty much a no man's land (with the exception of Pannikin).

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foodiechick

                                                                                                                                                    It's the gateway to the La Jolla Farmer's Market - he probably got a lot of business on Saturday, I bet.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                      FYI RB, the farmers market in LJ is on Sunday afternoon.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cstr

                                                                                                                                                        Indeed it is, CSTR - I could have sworn it was Saturday. It shows how often I go. My aversion to driving in to La Jolla is probably greater than Fakey's version to going north of the eight.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                          Yes, LJ is most definitely outside the 'flat disk of safety' for Fakey and now you. Please be careful or you'll fall off the edge and probably land on the 8 where Berlin and Montabello are.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cstr

                                                                                                                                                            "Flat disk (disc?) of safety"

                                                                                                                                                            Like that.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                                                              Actually I like that Berlin and Montebello apparently intersect somewhere around the 8. So handy...

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: cstr

                                                                                                                                                              I live in north UC area (not too far from the LDS Disney Palace), which as the crow flies is not that far at all from the Village. However, given a choice between sitting on Torrey Pines Road (both in and out of there) and waterboarding, I'd often choose the latter.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                Fakey, please get the water hose ready!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                  Heck, if you're that far north of San Diego, LA has some great restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                    Did you know that Latin America is free of rendition and black sites?
                                                                                                                                                                    Things you should know if you get into a sticky situation in regards to 'waterboarding'.

                                                                                                                                                                    I like the Roberto's on Miramar road..

                                                                                                                                                            3. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                              Gateway. .pretty big word there RB.
                                                                                                                                                              ; )

                                                                                                                                                              Good thoughts to porchetta guy and wishing him only the best!

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: shouzen

                                                                                                                                                        Eater San Diego website has a more definitive update today.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodiechick

                                                                                                                                                          Crib Notes: the place is closed down, they are hoping to reopen as a restaurant somewhere

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodiechick

                                                                                                                                                            ooooooooooo I just saw on Eater SD that the Mandarin House in Hillcrest is closing. Not great Chinese food, but a good chunk of my 20s were marinated in their tiki drinks.

                                                                                                                                                    2. The frequency of the reappearance of this thread is unnerving.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bizzwriter

                                                                                                                                                          I really liked Narraya. Great atmosphere and food. It was Amarins sister restaurant. Every time I went there were plenty of people there.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Looks like Tiki Takka Grille in Hillcrest (next to Uncle Biff's) has closed.

                                                                                                                                                          Pretty good food, I know it was Middle Eastern, but as a culinary luddite I couldn't tell you which tribe.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                                                            We were very sad to see it go. It was Israeli food and had the best hummus I had ever eaten. I loved the meditteranean kebob.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Forever Fondue on Prospect in La Jolla: NOT forever.

                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bizzwriter

                                                                                                                                                              I'm not sure what is more surprising - that Forever Fondue closed, or that Forever Fondue stayed open as long as it did.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                I was surprised it even opened.

                                                                                                                                                                So there.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                                                                  Fondue now, fondue tomorrow, fondue forever!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                                                                    The Melting Pot sure as hell doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

                                                                                                                                                            2. Just received an email from The Palm downtown stating that they will close as of the end of this year.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foodiechick

                                                                                                                                                                  "The menu will also get more playful and drink-friendly..." - Why can't they keep a good restaurant like it is now. The last few Chef's Mercy Menus were excellent and it would be sad to loose it to the "gastropub/burger" mind set which is the current trend in SD

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                    I too wonder about the menu. What is a drink-friendly menu? I assume he means cocktails. Now I enjoy a glass of wine with my meal on a dinner out (of course while wearing shorts), and I can almost always find a wine and meal combination that will work any menu. So when I order my Pink Squirrel is it different than pairing with wine? What are cocktail friendly foods? Please don't say margaritas and Mexican food.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littlestevie

                                                                                                                                                                      I like my menus like I like my kitty cats - playful (throws up a little in mouth).

                                                                                                                                                                      "More playful and drink-friendly" followed by the words, "Graves own take on a TJ dog" means they have finally realized that food is really just something a business owner must sell in order to meet the requirements of their liquor license.

                                                                                                                                                                      Gastropub/burger mindset is not a trend in San Diego, it's the future.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                      Since it wasn't clear if the Chef's Mercy Menu will still exist after the remodel we wanted to have it one more time yesterday and it was the best version we had so far covering a number of great dishes:

                                                                                                                                                                      - warm burrata with pepper caponata over grilled bread
                                                                                                                                                                      - tuna crudo
                                                                                                                                                                      - fried smelt
                                                                                                                                                                      - braised octopus with peppers, chorizo, butter beans
                                                                                                                                                                      - goat ragu over house made rigatoni
                                                                                                                                                                      - pumpkin agnolotti with pomegranate, hazelnut, sage, squash
                                                                                                                                                                      - whole roasted stripped bass with chimichurri and black eyed peas

                                                                                                                                                                      JSix really excels at creating simple, yet complex tasting dishes which have still a "clean" flavor profile showcasing the natural flavors of all ingredients. It's surprising how much this restaurant still flies under the radar in SD as it is one of the best in the city (but perhaps for some not "fancy" enough for the fine dining crowd and not casual enough for the "gastropub" followers) (it was also good to hear from sous chef Becker that the kitchen still wants to continue with this cooking style after the remodel and that the Chefs Mercy Menu will still be their "playground for new and modified dishes")

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                        I always consider "under the radar" a good thing. Chefs I have never heard of or hear little about + a long tenure in a room + not a lot of marketing hype = excellent food and service, usually, in my experience anyway. In the last few years I have not seen Christian Graves splashed all over every local magazine, or featured in a silly "day in the life of" segment.

                                                                                                                                                                        Glad to read they are holding a high standard.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                          In general I agree that flying under the radar can be a good thing but especially in SD flying under the radar means going out of business soon even if you deliver top quality. We lost many good restaurants over the last 4-5 years because they were too long under the radar

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Sea Rocket Bistro, last day Sunday, December 8.

                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.searocketbistro.com/news/s...

                                                                                                                                                                    Via Eater San Diego, of course (Candice Woo seems to have all the scoops):

                                                                                                                                                                    http://sandiego.eater.com/archives/20...

                                                                                                                                                                    They report a rumor that its replacement (new owners) will be a mac-and-cheese centric place. I think this concept has the potential to become a new meme in the San Diego board. :)

                                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                        Gourmet Mac and Cheese Palace, Mac and Cheese World, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                        The next thing you know, somebody will make a mac-and-cheese shake.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                          Not a new concept. There used to be a place that served only mac & cheese up in your neck of the woods...Rancho Bernardo. Don't know if it's still there or not, this was about 4 or 5 years ago when mac & cheese started to get trendy and hot.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                            I moved from RB back to the UTC area in 2007, but the user name persists.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                        Yet another strike against locally-favored ingredients. Too bad IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                        Also IMO, I didn't have them on a regular rotation for quite some time because it was so inconsistent and they often were out of several dishes even early in the night.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                          Wow, that really is too bad about SRB. Although I wasn't a huge fan and found their food somewhat inconsistent, it was a nice local joint. My carnivore friend loved their burgers.
                                                                                                                                                                          North Park is seeing some interesting changes.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                            I'm not surprised at all. Their food was great the first year or two after they opened, but fell from grace about the time they started getting featured on "Groupon."

                                                                                                                                                                            The last time I visited, the menu had lost the local scallops my wife used to enjoy and nearly all of the higher quality seafood options. In their place: fish sandwiches. Needless to say, we were not amused, and a little mortified that we had brought guests with us.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                              I have mixed feelings about this one. I found the food usually flat and under seasoned, but SRB was one of the first restaurants in San Diego that got me really curious about food and restaurants some number of years ago. Sad to see it go, but unfortunately not surprised.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Sorrento European Bakery in Mira Mesa has closed. Their Banh Mi wasn't special but their Euopean style pastries were excellent and some of the best we had in SD. Vietnamese baker who trained in Sweden - really sad to see them gone

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Has anyone heard anything about El Charco in Chula Vista? Someone on the board mentioned they were "closed for renovations" or something similar - I hope that was not a portent

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I saw on EaterSD that Casa de Luz, the vegan restaurant in North Park on University, closed over the weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MrKrispy

                                                                                                                                                                                        Not a huge surprise - that place was always close to empty every time I walked by.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Rumor has it Hooter's is leaving the Gaslamp. TRAGIC.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Also, supposedly Lucky Bastard is not doing well and could be on the way out.

                                                                                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                            Not so Lucky after all. Should have been more Arrogant.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                              Ha! Yes. It's strange to be working in the Gaslamp right now...I am witnessing the kind of downturn that produced the downtown of the 70's, which was a seedy scene.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                Lucky Basartd is a nice blend of various forms of Arrogant Bastard. As for the saloon, they did have Arrogant Bastard on their bottle list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I've read that Hooters across the nation have not been doing well, that they've not kept up with the Tilted Kilts or even the Buffalo Wild Wings (who, by the way, will be moving into the old Seau's space - yay, Tilted Kilt and BW3 next to each other!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Hooters concept is worn and dated. I think that's why it's fading.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Do you remember the Playboy club in SD? That was already worn and dated when it came here in the early 80's and it didn't last long.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  They had good cabaret entertainment, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                    If the Hooters concept is worn and dated, why is the Tilted Kilt doing so well? I suspect it isn't the concept itself, but not keeping it fresh. Going into a Hooters today is exactly like going to a Hooters 10-15 years ago (from what I've heard - my sports bar days are long behind me).

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I suppose that's right. It's not the concept, really, just the execution that's dated. Anyway, like you, I'm not interested in any of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe the tightly clad Hooters outfits are getting a bit thread bare. Maybe the TK is going Comando!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Everytime I've been in the Tilted Kilt, I always say to the girls that I have the same outfit they have but a size smaller!

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Chupacabra's in PB -- adios!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. All Red Lobster restaurants will close (or spun off if they find a buyer). Olive Garden (from the same company - Darden) are also not doing well because they are all "too upscale" according to reports.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                        So...um.....Yay? I'm saying yay. Though that does not speak well for the economy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Maybe something worthwhile will take their space in Mira Mesa. Hey, I can dream, can't I?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Office Goat

                                                                                                                                                                                                            That location used to be a Black Agnus Steakhouse, which had to be the worst one I had ever been in. Yes even with the bar set really low . I am not holding out high hopes that there would be any improvement in any future endevor in that space.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, crossing MM Blvd. to go the pho place across the street, you would be taking your life in your hands.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: littlestevie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You simply cannot have too many pho places in Mira Mesa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh,lordy...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What does that say about American dining habits when bad Eyetalian food trumps mediocre seafood...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It just confirms that we have too many mediocre chain restaurants and a sorry economy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Tried to go to The Counter (burger place) in Del Mar Highlands Plaza for lunch today. There was a handwritten sign on the front door that said "Closed permanently."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: srk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A burger place closing in SD - the apocalype is nigh (or burgers are also now too high end in SD)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't hear too many positive comments about the Counter, and there are many other options there. The Burger Lounge is still expanding everywhere (Carlsbad opens tomorrow), so I doubt this is a trend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Besides, why get a burger at the Counter when you could get one at the Searsucker North?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: srk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The one up in the Forum closed as well. Not really suprised, it seemed a little pricey for what you got. I think the Habit burger in SB is just as good and it is cheaper. The place was noisy as well, with those stackable metal chairs. The Counter really wan't a huge upgrade from Islands or Chilis which are both basically next door

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littlestevie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know I will be ripped a new one for saying this, but I sort of like Islands.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't mind Islands. Lesser of the evils.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Let me ask you this, Honkman - just out of curiosity (and not to be argumentative). Is there any low to mid scale place that does burgers that you like? Burger Lounge, for example?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And do I want to know what the top smiley represents? Is it a scream, or does it involve what I suggested would happen (being ripped a new one)?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Burger Lounge and Alchemy have both very good burgers. Burgers for me is all about the meat (and to a certain degree the bun). I also want strong beef flavor in my burger and so for me only grass-fed burgers are worth eating and good tasting. (Actually one of the reasons I grew less fond of the Starlite burger over time)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  O.o = Confusion (and yes, I had to much time to look for the meaning of these different smileys)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've had the Alchemy burger within the last 2 weeks and will second it as being a very, very good burger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They will cook it medium rare if you ask for that way. They will leave the cheese off, or not, and will let you add or subtract any of the other toppings/fixings that go with it, i.e. lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion. The flavor of the burger is not masked with other extraneous add-ons. If I was Jonesying for a burger in SD, this on would be pretty high up on my list too :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sounds like I need to grab an Alchemy Burger to go the next time I'm indulging my Kraftbeerfetish at Hamilton's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Or you could pop over and eat it there - they have a passable beer selection, both bottles and draft. I had one the last time I was in San Diego and it's still one of the best burgers I've had anywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think I'd start out at Alchemy, or the quality of the burger would be lost on me. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: srk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Gaslamp Counter is closed too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds like it was not any particular location, and the franchise itself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was wondering that too, but as of about 2 hours ago their website is still up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: littlestevie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They aren't listing any of the closed locations, so they may have closed all their underperforming restaurants. Certainly, there was nothing that was really setting them apart in the San Diego area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Their salads were offensively terrible. And yeah, I know, who orders a salad in a burger place, but Smash and BL have good salads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the closing of The Counter in downtown is addition by subtraction....the morons that worked there (9th year juniors at SDSU??) couldn't tell the difference between rare and my baseball glove and NEVER came close to cooking my burger anywhere close to the way I liked it (medium rare)....unfortunate the one in Del Mar also closed because I actually enjoyed my food there and they always got my order right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Per their website, they are still scheduled to open an outlet at the airport.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: El Chevere

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Can I talk to you about a bridge I have for sale...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Counter is open at the airport in Terminal 1 in the Gates 3-10 pod. Been so for a few weeks now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The local rag said they expected the Phil's crowd to surge east to Santee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, I don't really see that happening, but what do I know?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: phee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      How many hundreds, if not thousands, of tourists will drive by and leave disappointed?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: phee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I wish they would surge more south, then east, to Coop's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If they want to surge, surely the Coops in Lemon Grove would be far more worth the trek than would Phil's in Santee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm confused why some of our more discerning Chowhounders think that people going to Phil's are truly seeking BBQ.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I know you think that, Honkman, but I respectfully disagree. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's the eternal optimist in me...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: phee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Santee location used to have a big ole sign "Closed Mondays" and the sign is gone and I saw Phil's was open on Monday. The parking lot was full, but it's next to Target...and it's Christmas and all...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cathy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ah, I didn't know that. I guess that's how they're "preparing" for any Phil's fans who might head east. The place already varies from fairly busy to very busy, so this should be interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have yet to venture there; in fact, I haven't been to Phil's since they were in Mission HIlls!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Genius promotion tho'...stop by the closed Phil's and pick up an entry form for a sweepstakes drawing for $2,500 or $2,500 gift card for Phil's when it reopens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The catch? The entry forms are date stamped and must be physically deposited into the sweepstakes entry box within 48 hours. And where might the sweepstakes entry boxes be? Why the Santee and San Marcos Phil's locations, of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            He knows he'll loose a good chunk of sales and revenue due to the closure. But by offering a couple of premiums that drive customers to his other 2 locations he will, no doubt, cut those losses. What remains to be seen is how much of an incentive $2,500 cash or a $2,500 Phil's gift card will actually be. I'm guessing it'll be enough. Get ready Phee..the thundering hoards are headed your way ;-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Clever marketing tactic, but I can't believe that this will really draw that many people to their other locations. Really can't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Why not? For customers from say, Mira Mesa, Clairemont, UTC, etc that usually go to the Midway location , the Santee location is not much further. Obviously, an OBetian is unlikely to make the drive, but I'll bet many people will try the other locations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  $2,500 may not be a huge sum of money, but I'm betting it's enough to get people to invest a few dollars in gas for the chance to win. How many people send in the Publisher's Clearing House entries every year even tho' they know they have no chance at winning. At least with Phil's they can get something to eat at the same time ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Santee is not the end of the world. Unless, of course, one is stuck on the very poorly conceived SR52, then it is the end of the world that you can never reach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. To recap:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In downtown in the last year;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Jared's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Red Pearl
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Gaijin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cremalose
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Katsuya
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That place at 4th and G
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                CROCE'S (wtf???)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Voyeur
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dollhouse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Frauds and Swindlers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Donovan's- on the way out
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Palm- on the way out
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                J Six- getting a boob job
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Counter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                On Broadway

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Did I miss any? And, what heck? When I was a kid, downtown was a pit full of hoodlums, massage parlors, and crime. Working there every weekend, I have a front row seat to the DE-vitalization of downtown. sad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Most of these are too high end for SD or not inside a hotel which might cover the losses

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Is this more than the number of downtown restaurants that closed during 2012?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm asking because I wonder if the pace of downtown closings has been accelerating, year-over-year. That would be very sad indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I hear that Croce's left because the landlord wasn't treating them well, and that the neighboring place was making too much noise. Ironically, said neighboring place is closing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jmtreg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That was the Dollhouse, and they did close.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          New Croce's having their second soft opening right now, correct?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mmmm. Don't know, but that would make sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I read an article that said Jan 6-18, then a full opening for restaurant week (Jan 19).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            @Dagney: I say good riddance. The last thing that was needed just off 5th was something like the Dollhouse. Not sure that's really the reason Croce's moved out of the Gaslamp, but Dollhouse wasn't exactly synergistic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ha! You are being polite. Yeah it was a seedy joint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I just hope no one else gets the idea to open a similar place downtown. Good grief, Gaslamp is regressing rapidly enough on its own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Took them long enough. I fully expect them to launch a new craft beer bar + burgers & pizza chain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Uh....no. I read an interview with this powerhouse of a chef concerning the opening of his L.A. restaurant. He said he could do so much more up in L.A. because San Diego is a "steak and lobster" town. Ergo.....your fault that you could not appreciate what he was doing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: eatemup

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, an unadventurous "filet-and-lobster" town are we?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, B.M. is entitled to his opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Toronado currently has some wonderful beers on tap, but I suspect that their burgers would not be to your liking,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fitting initials for the man, n'est-çe pas?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Excellent deployment of initials Doc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hilarious, considering one of the dishes everyone races about from Searsucker is the shrimp grits. Grits? Like this is the progressive palate pleaser of the century?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Never had the shrimp grits at Searsucker. Way too adventurous-sounding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          [Please pass the lobster.]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nope, no surprise. I'm waiting for Herringbone in my hood to call it quits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Just heard that Fred's and Marble Room have been sold and will be closing. Not a culinary loss, but a sign of the downward spiral in downtown.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The whole retrogression thing downtown is very sad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Blame the greedy f*kn landlords who charge unreasonably excessive rents in the Gaslamp...frankly, I would love for more restaurants to relocate and tell these landlords where to stick it and let them collect dust each month rather than rent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. And the news keeps coming

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Enlightened Restaurant Group is also closing their Seersucker unit in Scottsdale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Me thinks there is trouble in paradise...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, but it will all be solved with their move into L.A.! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: phee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'd like to talk to you about a bridge I have for sale...;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: phee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Let's be fair. These guys are in for The Big Game, and these restaurants are (my opinion) market tests. They know many will not work, but are trying out different formats to find one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's a LOT of money, but how the big game works.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed. They mentioned in interviews some time ago that they expect a significant number of their restaurants to fail and that most of them are test balloons to see if a concept works or not. One can like this approach or not but it takes the restaurant business as what it is - a business where hiring and firing (and opening and closing) of shops is nothing unusal until you find the right concept financially

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't know that they really needed a market test to know that Gingham was the wrong concept in the wrong location. And they did invest some serious money and serious time into a serious renovation of that location in La Mesa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think anyone in the East County, and certainly La Mesa, could have told them from the git-go that Gingham didn't have legs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      According to the Ut, they claim that they have lots of cash and that they get 10-15 inquires a week from around the country for new locations. Yeah, it's all part of their business plan. A bit brutal, but I guess that's the plan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        To steal a phrase from DD, if you believe that, I do have a very nice land development (Trump Towers Baja) in Mexico for sale at a very good price - we get inquiries every day. You must hurry to get in on the ground floor!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gypsy Jan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do have some slight reservations regarding the crediility of their official story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Now, as to that Trump Towers offer, where do I sign?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Contact Ivanka - she will show up at your doorstep with all the paperwork.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh yes, don't forget that you will need to have in hand a certified check of deposit - nonrefundable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, mentioning how many leasing agents chase you is not a sign of financial health. It was an odd thing to mention.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But they seem to have an abundance of cash. If they were stiffing suppliers and landlords, we'd have heard about it by now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hakkassan has bought a majority stake in the restaurant group. Might also explain their aggressive opening and closing of restaurants - and no I don't think money will be an issue in the near future
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwfood-...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No, with that infusion of cash, I'd say whatever cash flow problems they may have had are now greatly diminished.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think this is an interesting (curious?) acquisition for Hakkassan. It'll certainly be interesting to watch the trajectory on this one. While most of us have - to one extent or another - pretty much written the fabric empire off, this is a big time serious investor with a stake in making it succeed rather than fail. Wonder how we'll see Searsucker and Herringbone change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So are we now going to see a Chinese fabric empire? Silk Road perhaps....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: littlestevie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kimono Gardens anyone ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I do think it's an odd pairing. 'Twill be interesting to see what they choose to shear away and if the transition will be seamless or if there will be some puckers along the line.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think the PR power behind Hakkassan will help them with their opening(s) in LA. I also don't expect that the business model and culinary direction of Searsucker &Co will change a lot since it is so far quite complimentary and I expect some east coast Searsucker soon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You could very well be right, particularly about the East Coast expansion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Not that it was any huge shock by any stretch of the imagination, but Woody's in Solana Beach closed. At best, the food was ehh, but really it seemed more to be in the wrong location. To me, it was more a PB type of place. Not sure if it would have even made a go of it there, the concept of a 70's Newport Beach vibe is getting tired . The main reason that I am posting this, is that the space in the Beachwalk is becoming a kiss o' death space. Not sure the what the problem is, but that development has always struck me as strange, Would love to see what could make a go of it there, I bet the Cohns are even scared of it

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: littlestevie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Just curious, because I don't know the answer - the now defunct Woody's in Solana Beach was related to the Woody's in Newport Beach?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I knew the original Woody - the pluperfect drunk at the bar who got regularly 86'd by his own employees.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was there for Sunday brunch one day when a VERY large sports fishing boat loaded with lovelies in bikinis rammed the dock - and hilarity ensued.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In the 90's Chuck Norris and his then wife bought Woody out and were running the place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gypsy Jan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes they were related. Not sure of the exact ownership relationship between the two.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Well the place IS tiny but I sure like the 'hood. I hope they do well in Carmel Valley.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The restaurant taking over the space sounds.....interesting.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Is there a market for Bee Gees vinyl and Sloppy Joes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And it's being replaced by a room that will serve "comfort food." slow clap.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    More burgers...more craft beer...augmented by the ever reliable mac & cheese, braised short ribs and seared diver scallops.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Last week when my sister and BIL were here and we ate out way too much, I spent a few hours on-line checking out menus and making reservations. Until you start looking at menus one after another, I don't think one realizes the mind numbing sameness of them...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Craft beer" is now the norm in San Diego, and stating that as part of a restaurant's ethos is pretty much saying that there is little else to say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't even understand the point of the term "craft beer" (which replaced "microbrewed beer" some time ago) anymore. Anyone who is writing or speaking about beer is almost without a doubt referring to that kind of beer rather than Anheuser-Busch swill. Haven't we finally reached the point where we can just call it "beer" in writing and speech unless we specifically mean something else?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LorenzoGA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Agree. Beer is beer. There is crappy beer, good beer, beer brewed with unique ingredients, beer brewed in certain style...at the end of the day it's beer. I think people become way to emotionally involved in the current marketing terms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agree with you and lorenzoGA. I've never liked the term "craft beer" either. Beer is beer regardless of the scale of the brewery or the style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm glad to see San Diego getting a reputation for having SOMETHING that distinguishes it, but agree that some restaurants seem to feel that if they build it (a restaurant with a bar that has lots of local taps), they will come; the heck with the food. So I also agree with RBH.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And FWIW, I'm probably the resident beer geek with Josh up in the Bay Area. It's just a dumb term. I'd rather have a restaurants with great food, a couple of well though selections on draft, and if they must a decent bottle selection. If I want 40 selections on tap, I go to O'Brien's or Toronado.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everything in its right place!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It wouldn't be the first time that people don't find the desired restaurant space - I hope they reopen but not overly optimistic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Exiting the county, depressing. Guess we'll get a taco shop or burger joint, oh yah, and craft beer coming out our ears. If it weren't for the weather......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cstr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    cstr, the last time I checked Carmel Valley was still in SD county.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Maybe cstr has been converted by Fakey's sense of San Diego. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      [Yes, I realize that cstr may have been thinking of the Carmel Valley near Monterey, but I'm not sure why a native San Diegan would think of that first.]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe they are faking everyone out and moving to Indiana

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was thinking of Porter's exit to SFO, Carmel is on the way..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: cstr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This apparent popularity of craft beer is probably the best news I've heard about San Diego dining in a long time, it's long overdue. It'd be like Napa restaurants not serving Napa wines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I will, with as much respect and admiration I can summon, gently disagree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Napa's wines are based on the growing region- the nature of the soil and climate and how it affects the grapes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          San Diego's "craft" beer culture is based on successful marketing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I admire both beer and marketing within rational limits, and I wish them well in their entrepreneurial activity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Man, there sure is a lot to unpack in such a small number of sentences.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Leaving aside the role of marketing in creating demand for products as varied as San Diego's craft beer *and* Napa Valley's wine, it's a matter of fact that San Diego's breweries produce some of the best beer in the world. This is demonstrated by the large number of medals won by San Diego's breweries in world-wide beer competitions. Marketing doesn't win competitions based on blind tasting panels.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            San Diego's restaurants' collective myopia in this regard is pretty weak, though some people did get it, like Nine-Ten. Serving beer made locally is no more ridiculous than serving bread made locally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here, Fakey, is where you are somewhat wrong, and I'm shocked Josh didn't call you out on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Do you know what "White Laboratories" is? Well, let me save you the Googling. They are located in the Miramar area (very close to Little India), and make yeast that is used in fermenting beer. OK, boring, right? Well, the last I heard, close to 85% of ALL the yeast used for brewing beer in the US.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Home grown enough for you? I know that isn't related to climate and all that, but still.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hi RBH. OK, but here are my thoughts on this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I used to use White Labs yeasts for some of my beers. In fact, one of my favorites was their "British Ale Yeast", also known as Whitbread and also sold as Wyeast 1098.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So what's my point?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                IMO, yeasts aren't really inherently connected to an area, even if they're "manufactured" there, unlike barley, hops, and water. Whitbread, for example, originally came from Great Britain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In other words, I don't think we should count the yeast in a beer as part of its local imprint. Same for wine yeasts. Just my opinion -- not trying to argue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                On the other hand, I'll bet a lot of people didn't realize that most of the beer yeast used throughout the US comes from here! So interesting info to share. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree, a totally different animal. Unless beer comes from the vines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: Josh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Craft beer is too often used as an excuse for a restaurant to serve mediocre food/bar food/comfort food because there are limited things to serve with beer for the majority of people.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In addition, I have to agree with FN that the range of complexity and taste difference with wines is much broader (and interesting) than with beer (that doesn't mean that there are no differences in each beer but for example the flavor range of an IPA from different breweries is much more limited than for example the flavor profile for pinot noirs from different wineries.) I would really hope that the craft beer hype would slow down a bit and an interesting food hype would finally start in SD (I can't remember the last new restaurant in SD which sounded interesting (might be Blanca under Neroni or Schmidt)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't disagree with the first half of your first sentence, but beer pairs well with pretty much any kind of cuisine you can think of (red-sauced pasta dishes might be an exception). I recommend a trip to a place like Gramercy Tavern in NYC which treats beer with as much respect as wine, and offers a large menu of cellared vintage beers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's amusing that you and FN believe wine has a greater range of flavors, especially since, if I'm not mistaken, I believe you work in the sciences. The larger number of ingredients available to the beer maker, not to mention the large numbers of yeasts, bacteria, and various kinds of wood used for aging, would seem to make such a notion obviously ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Even your comment about IPA just strikes me as really uninformed/inexperienced. I've had numerous IPAs and the flavor profiles are all over the map.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bear in mind, I like wine too and I'll often opt for that over beer depending on the choices available and the food being served - I'm not a partisan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Substituting a craft beer list for recipe quality isn't what I'm talking about - that speaks more to SD's chronic problems with supporting good restaurants than anything else. A lot of restaurants in NYC, LA, and SF manage to have both craft beer *and* good, interesting food. It's not an either/or.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Which restaurants in SF or LA are mainly focusing on craft beer and has good, interesting food ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I didn't say "mainly". I don't know any place that would match that description.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As for who has them, I'm hard-pressed to think of a single SF resto I've eaten at, outside of ethnic Asian places, that doesn't offer some kind of craft beer selection. Even our prix-fixe at Sons and Daughters included a course paired with Castelain's Biere de Garde.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Places like S&D or Gramercy Tavern show the problem of the craft beer hype in SD - these places are primarily restaurants which just happen to have a decent craft beer selection. In SD places are now conceptualized around selling craft beer and are just restaurants as an afterthought. There seems to be hardly any new restaurant which doesn't emphasize their strong focus on craft beer (and the "adequate" comfort food) which can be blamed on the marketing hype

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree that's no bueno. Maybe they could start incorporating more bacon?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Josh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bacon beer ? (I am sure somebody already made it )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "There seems to be hardly any new restaurant which doesn't emphasize their strong focus on craft beer (and the "adequate" comfort food) which can be blamed on the marketing hype"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ***************************

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bingo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: honkman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "In addition, I have to agree with FN that the range of complexity and taste difference with wines is much broader.."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      While my fan club is always welcoming new members, that not exactly what I said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I believe the nature of Napa wine is based (originally, at least) in the fruit of it's climate and land as expressed in the juice of the grapes grown there. I'll grant you that original point has become blended (see what I did there?) as time went on, but its genesis was the same. Their wine reflected those of the great French wines in history, and many believe to be even better (I don't but now we're really subjective, and I'm certainly no expert).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Beer, on the other hand, is not grown here. It's mixed and manufactured here, but is not tied to geography or geology as is (was) Napa's grapes. San Diego has no grain or barley fields, and no water like Olympia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sure, San Diego has become a hub(ba) for fetish beer, but mostly because of the successful marketing done by Stone and others, which attracted other brewers. The industry (and it is one!) grew here, and I understand many products have reached "award-winning" status, as has their marketing efforts. And that's great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But it's a BUSINESS phenom, not an organic one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You must know a *lot* of brewers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree with you and others who see that restaurants in our area are capitalizing on SD's growing reputation for being a beer mecca, perhaps to excess. But I'd like to briefly respond to your comments about the lack of local "terroir" in our local beers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Some background: I began homebrewing beer back in the days when Home Brew Mart was young (and bought some of my original hardware there). I read volumes about how to design and brew beers, and each year before brewing season bought a stock of pale and specialty malts (crystal, victory, bruhmalt, chocolate, black, etc). I designed each batch to create target flavor and color characteristics based on the types and amounts malts and hops, and the yeast strain. I propagated yeast from slants, milled my own malts, aerated the wort with pure oxygen, etc. I was as purist as possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          One of the things that makes brewing beer so interesting and rewarding is that there are so many types of malts, hops, and yeasts to choose from, and while that sounds like a short list of ingredients, the combinations among them that affect beer flavor, intensity, color, body, head, bitter/sweet balance, aroma, and carbonation are vast. And that’s just variations in ingredients, let alone the process, such as making malt from barley and growing hops. A revealing resource, if it’s still in print, is “Designing Great Beers” by Ray Daniels.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nope. We don’t grow barley or hops in our area, and the yeast we have is cultured, not some wild native strain. But the fourth ingredient in beer is the water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For the most part I bought purified water and treated it to get as close as possible to the mineral balance I wanted, but I used tap water for a couple of batches. I still treated it, but differently. I don’t know if SD brewers use tap water, but it turns out that at least the water that comes from the Miramar influent, which is what reached my home, is pretty good for beer, and, except for the high sulfate content, can be improved just by boiling. These days our tap water is fluorinated, so I don’t know, but previously that component was ok, and the chloride, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and zinc (and others) were all ok, good, or perfect for brewing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Local water is part the “terroir” of beer, along with the malted barleys and the hops that are used. It has a big impact on the flavor profile, in part because of its effect on yeast metabolism. If local water is used by our brewers in making our local beers, then that does tie them, at least in part, to the land. If not, then no, there’s nothing inherent in the makeup of our beer that connects it to the land in the same way that wine is connected to the land where the vines are grown.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That was the short version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here's a little more on that point (from an article I researched/wrote for Edible San Diego in 2008: http://www.ediblecommunities.com/sand...):

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chuck Silva, brewmaster at Green Flash, says that, for brewing purposes, San Diego water is actually rather good. “San Diego has hard water with some higher mineral content similar to the water in England, which favors ‘ale brewing.’” (Now I know why my English friends prefer beer to water.) Chuck believes that, in particular, “Hop character tends to be enhanced in ales brewed with hard water.” This combination of our water composition and the trend to heavily hopped styles may provide the foundation on which San Diego brewing has flourished.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jayporter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The link to the full article got smushed in that post, it should be: http://www.ediblecommunities.com/sand...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Note that it is a PDF link.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DC, if memory serves, I believe there is at least 1 farmer, maybe more, up in the Ramona area growing hops

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow, that's really neat, DD! I'm not brewing anymore so haven't kept up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Do you know if any of our local breweries use their hops?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sorry, I don't know. I also don't know if the hops crop would even be big enough to even interest a local brewery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, if not now maybe some day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll bet they get to the current generation of SD homebrewers, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Star B Ranch in Ramona is the place that grows hops. They are primarily a buffalo ranch growing hops on the side. Not sure if there's a connection between the two. Still not clear whether the hops have made it into beer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://ramona.patch.com/groups/busine...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: steveprez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We picked hops at Star B a few years ago and made a fresh hop IPA with them.