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Croce's to close

Just caught this on television: Ingrid Croce is saying she's closing her flagship downtown location. Didn't she just also announce that she's taking over Ave 5?

I heard this on a 30 second promo; apparently there will be more information at the 10:00 newscast.

Can't help but wonder why she's leaving the Gaslamp...

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  1. Went to their site, and there was a farewell message from Ingrid Croce:

    http://www.croces.com/croces-restaura...

    So what do y'all think: are we losing something important, or does it rate a shrug?

    7 Replies
      1. re: DiningDiva

        Come on guys- it may be culinarily insignificant, but this was a pioneering business. She took a failing New Orleans themed spot when there was nothing and struggled for years and eventually earned success.

        My studio was blocks away for 8 years and I watched Croces become an anchor for the improvement of a blighted, nasty part of town.

        I admire that spirit, and she deserves recognition for that. As has been well-established here, I believe restaurants play more than the role of simply feeding us. They become focal points for business and social functions, and serve our community in many other ways.

        Croces was that place.

        I may not bemoan its loss, but I won't casually overlook it's significance.

        1. re: Fake Name

          Concur..
          Ingrid is a lovely women who worked that door like nobody's business.
          Wishing her all the best.

          1. re: Fake Name

            Agree, it's never a good thing to see a business close for whatever reason.

            1. re: cstr

              I could name several counter examples. :-)

        2. UT has an article on it.

          Apparently it's a lease dispute. No idea who is right, nor do I really care.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Yet another lease dispute caused by the greedy Gaslamp landlords. Frankly, I'd love to see more restaurants pack it up in the Gaslamp and move elsewhere but i suppose there will be others waiting to step in only to take it out on the consumer by offering mediocre, at best, product at inflated prices....I do wish Ingrid farewell and continued success with her new venture.

            1. re: El Chevere

              The real issue here sounds like their coexistence (or lack thereof) with the Pussycat Dolls Dollhouse. I can't really blame them at all, at least from the description of the situation in the articles I've read (which probably are one sided and biased, but even so...).

              I think Fakey's response is dead on.

          2. I agree with Fake, she was definitely a pioneer for business in the area, as were the owners of the (sadly) now defunct Fio's. Though, lord have the mercy, the food at Croce's is soooo bad.

            The Gaslamp Quarter is nothing more than a cheap, loud, classless, low-end, drunk fest these days. Guaranteed, there will be a hookah lounge, club, or a sports bar in the Croce's space within the year.

            17 Replies
            1. re: Dagney

              Remember when Fio's opened. The only other places down there was Croce's and a great little place called Morgan that had an excellent Caesar Salad.

              BTW- the Fio's owners? They own Brooklyn Girl.

              1. re: Fake Name

                I know....:/ I think they lost their touch, from what I have heard about Brooklyn Girl.

                1. re: Fake Name

                  I hear one of the Fio's principals is in PR. ;D

                    1. re: Fake Name

                      Hadn't thought about Morgan for years. We dined there with another couple soon after they opened in what seems like around 1978-ish. It was pretty far down 5th Ave I think, next to the Rescue Mission. Chef-Proprietor had a similar place in Lemon Grove of all places called The Blue Man.

                      It was quite an adventure going to Morgan at the time--upscale dining in the middle of skid row. It seems like Spaghetti Factory was already there. I don't think we'd ever heard the term Gaslamp then.

                      1. re: mcgrath

                        The Blue Man was an important place in San Diego's culinary history- I had forgotten Morgan was related. A number of chefs had come through there, including Ed (who's last name eludes me know) who went on to open The Brookside Farm B&B in Dulzura.

                        1978 might have been a little early for Morgan- I first went in the 80's and Horton had just opened. Gaslamp had launched, but was in its infancy.

                        Yes, Spaghetti Factory had opened- I remember they served me booze- I was there with two older women, I think they might have been 25 at the time.

                        1. re: Fake Name

                          I remember the Spag Factory, booze was about all that was good there!

                          1. re: cstr

                            Loved that Mizthrah pasta with Brown butter and cheese...still crave that bad boy..spumoni was always good.
                            I can see you all lighting those flame throwers..

                            Sledge..prayers to your beloved BOS.

                            1. re: Beach Chick

                              LOVED the mizithra pasta. I now buy the cheese from Tip Top in Carlsbad (it's hard to find) and sorta make my own. Had never heard of it before Spaghetti Factory.

                              1. re: pine time

                                One may easily substitute Ricotta Salata- some say it's the same thing. Queso Fresco will also work.

                                And now I'm hungry for some.

                                1. re: pine time

                                  I have actually seen it recently at Vons. That was a good dish...I think the only one.

                              2. re: mcgrath

                                When I lived in Golden Hill in late 70's, early 80's, my sweetie and I dined at Morgan often. They served a luscious mushroom souffle as an amuse bouche. They could do things with chicken breasts that I still haven't figured out. Seems the owner was in jail for something, and his wife carried on the business for quite a while--and yes, the Blue Man was part of the family. Some wonderful memories from Morgan...

                          2. This makes me sad to read this. I grew up in San Diego and although I haven't been back in years, my fond memories always included Croce's.

                            I wanted to bring my fiance down to San Diego in June and suggested we stay in the Gaslamp - is it really the dive I am reading about now?

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: CarrieWas218

                              It's a bit crazy. There are a ton sports bars and clubs, and the theme or "brand" of the Gaslamp is "party district."

                              1. re: Dagney

                                I agree with Dagney. I think "dive" is a bit misleading - dives typically have character associated with them.

                              2. re: CarrieWas218

                                It's no dive. It's very busy and has lots of great restaurants and attractions. There are many, many condos and apartment buildings that have been built since the 1990s and the average age is on the younger side, so the street scene on the weekends can be a little rowdy. Little Italy is great too.

                                1. re: CarrieWas218

                                  It depends on your tastes. If you like hanging out with drunkards in striped shirts and Affliction tees then the Gaslamp is awesome.

                                2. I think Ingrid should get together with the owners of Downtown Johnny Brown's and rechristen it Downtown Leroy Brown's.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: RB Hound

                                    Ha ha ha...baddest man in the whole damn town.