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Nov 17, 2013 09:12 AM

The Headquarters at Seaport Village. .

Formerly, the Old Police Station in San Diego.

Opens this week and super excited to have the likes of Pizzeria Mozza, Eddie V's, Venissimo Cheese, Seasons 52 and even The Cheesecake Factory..(putting on my flame retardant gear)

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  1. I am right there with you. It'll be a zoo.

    Re: Cheesecake Factory.
    Big fan of their Classic Burger. Pair that with one of their Oreo Milkshakes, and I could think very few things I'd rather be eating when donning flame retardant gear.

    1. Dad is retired SDPD and he used to work out of that building. I remember going there as a child for a photo op, for an award he received.

      Too bad about CF being there, but Venissimo is a good addition. Anyway food and cops kind of go together by default, so I suppose this a full circle.

      43 Replies
      1. re: Dagney

        There are two ways to look at CF being there. If you consider it a siphon that will make it easier to get into the places you like in the Gaslamp (which may be a short list), it is a good thing.

        On the other hand, you may get a lot of people that see a long line at CF and go to Venissimo, so that might make it more difficult to get in there. We'll see.

        1. re: Dagney

          Have to be fair, why is CF a lesser place? Both have their nitches and different crowd pleasers, let's all re-distribute the wealth!

          1. re: cstr

            Because CF is the type of restaurant which has large distribution centers/kitchen which prepare all the food which is then filled in portion sizes and shipped to the CF "restaurants" which don't have real kitchen but just reheating "units". I think that makes CF clearly a lesser place

            1. re: honkman


              That makes it a more efficient place.

              1. re: honkman

                I couldn't disagree more, where food is prepped has no bearing on whether a place is good or not. Some examples are food trucks that prep at a commissary, franchises that get supplied raw materials like spice mixtures, flour mixes and other secret ingridients.

                1. re: cstr

                  We are not talking about prepping but actually cooking which is happening outside of the restaurant. The CF "restaurants" are mainly just reheating precooked food. If this falls within your definition of a good restaurant we indeed have to disagree

                  1. re: honkman

                    This is quite untrue. While plenty of prepping and organizing takes place offsite, most everything (aside from foods that store well in a cooked state) is prepared to order: proteins, salads and the like. In this way, CF is no different from the majority of restaurants that use excellent and misunderstood services such as Sysco. I might add that CF brings a level of science and efficiency to the process of feeding the crowds that is staggering. The New Yorker did a major piece on the company not that long ago. I recommend you read it.

                    Objecting to the CF on personal or even straight up irrational dislike would be totally understandable to me. Objecting to CF for the reasons you do smacks of hubris.

                    edit: I might add that this website is devoted to good chow and where to get it. It is not exactly a restaurant review forum.

                    1. re: SaltyRaisins

                      What about Sysco would you say is misunderstood?

                      1. re: Josh

                        Sysco carries many different levels of product quality.

                        1. re: Josh

                          The old saw about the Sysco truck being parked out back, so the food at that place must suck...

                          DiningDiva sorta brought me up to speed on this.

                            1. re: Stiflers_Mom

                              You'd be surprised at the places it pulls up to, including many of the ones doing the local/sustainable, farm-to-table, etc concepts.

                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                @DD, I've heard you say this before. I wish there was a website where people could tag Sysco trucks at restaurants they are at. I am not vehemently opposed to the Sysco concept (even though I would prefer to avoid it) but if I am paying a premium for restaurants advertising local/fresh ingredients I want to know I am not being scammed.

                                I would think restaurants that use local/etc ingredients still need to source oil, flour, and other ingredients impossible to get locally. Would they get that from Sysco?

                                1. re: MrKrispy

                                  Exactly. There are some ingredients that we just don't produce locally. Can't think of any place locally that produces oil for deep fat fryers...although I can think of 2 or 3 vendors that will pick up the used oil and convert it to bio fuel. We don't make flour (in all the iterations), sugar (in all the iterations), there isn't a functioning dairy in San Diego...

                                  There are also paper products, smallwares (i.e. tongs, spatulas, saute pans, hotel pans, etc), large equipment equipment and janitorial supplies.

                                  There are any number of reasons to use a broadline distributor, whether it's Sysco or US Foods. They're both a little like Alice's can get anything you want AND at any quality level you want. Both distributors have up market, excellent quality items with pricing that reflects that. Both have their "value" (and I use that term loosely) lines that are substantially less expensive, and often (but not always) the price will reflect that as well.

                                  As the saying goes with regard to computers...garbage in/garbage out. The same can be said of broadline distribution. What the Sysco (or US Foods) truck delivers is what the restaurant ordered. If the buyer, chef, executive chef or owner is ordering the low end products, that's what will be delivered. If they're ordering - and paying for - the higher end products, that's what will be delivered. Entree prices are hovering around $20 and whether San Diegans will pay more than that for an entree remains to be seen. We tend to be a rather cheap lot when it comes to entree pricing. Whoever is ordering for a restaurant is most likely having to order so that costs are covered by that $20 entree + booze. You order what you can afford to sell.

                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                    You go, DD!

                                    And don't forget salt. Are there locally - what's the right word here? - harvested, grown, produced ... sourced (?) salt in San Diego?

                                    "Come to Tender Greens. We use only Point Loma's finest salt!"

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Actually, there is a salt works down in the south bay (CV, IIRC) that is harvesting sea salt and selling it. If I think real hard, aside from the fact that might hurt, I may be able to remember the name of the company.

                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                        South Bay Salt Works:


                                        If I remember correctly Linkery and Sea Rocket Bistro used them and Urban solace might still use them

                                        1. re: honkman

                                          Slapping forehead...that's it

                                          Thank you

                                          1. re: honkman

                                            Hi Honkman! We (The Linkery & El Take It Easy) did try out South Bay Salt Works salt, and several others, but we eventually settled on San Felipe Salt ( as our finishing salt.

                                      2. re: DiningDiva


                                        Wait justa goldarnedminnit.

                                        I know chefs gather fresh produce in their gathered-up white toques in the produce garden of any restaurant that mentions farm-to-table.

                                        Wanna know howiknowit?

                                        Because I SEEN PICTURES OF IT.

                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                          DD, did you prep him for what he says around 3:30 into the video? ;)


                                          1. re: Stiflers_Mom

                                  , but I sure could have couldn't I!

                                            But they both make very real and valid points about the water situation and status of the farm bill. Water is a scarce resource and becoming increasingly expensive. Essentially, we live in a desert, but because we have water on demand, and seemingly as much as we need in our homes, we lose track of the fact we live in a desert environment.

                                            I've also written here on CH (on boards other than this one) about farm subsidy programs, the food chain itself (and it's safety) and the fact that the vast majority of Americans have no clue where their food comes from, how it is process, and most especially they true cost of producing the food we eat.

                                            I thought this was a very good interveiw :-). Thanks for posting it

                                        2. re: MrKrispy

                                          Mr. K: If a restaurant menu says, "We use local and organic products whenever possible," and they serve you a Sysco burger patty atop a Sadie Rose bun with Suzie's greens, would you feel scammed?

                                        1. re: SaltyRaisins

                                          Thanks for the link -- it made for interesting reading.

                                          1. re: SaltyRaisins

                                            I don't know who Chadzilla is, but he wrote one heck of an essay and raised many fine points.

                                            Excellent link SR.

                                    2. re: SaltyRaisins

                                      A restaurant which prepares and cooked the majority of its meats, sauces, starches, salad sauces, vegetables not onsite but just in distribution centers might be a good example for efficiency but not for quality and good food. You might want to talk to people who have worked there. I don't see much difference between their approach to food and going to the supermarket and getting some of the processed microwave food in the freezer.
                                      re CH - that's your definition of what should be discussed on this site but obviously a large majority if people on all boards seems to think differently

                                      1. re: SaltyRaisins

                                        Interesting article, both on the CF and its applications to medicine. I had seen a program on CF a few years ago and this article basicaly reinforced what I got from the TV program. I don't go because I don't care to wait and the places are just so d*** big, but I agree with you they are not the devil

                                        1. re: littlestevie

                                          We removed a few posts here debating whether it was even okay to have this conversation here, since we try to keep the conversation focused on discussing chow and away from discussing the discussion.

                                          Broad discussion of chains is best on the chains board, but with big chain openings there's always some local discussion of the news and that's fine, too. We have no plans to remove or move the CF discussion to Chains.

                                  2. re: honkman

                                    It definitely makes it a more consistent place (perhaps consistently bad but that's the besides the point), and that's probably the most important aspect of a chain like CF.

                                  3. re: cstr

                                    I have never understood the draw....I have eaten there on two occasions in the last 5 years, both were group work related meals in which the restaurant choice was made based on reasons other than quality. During both dinners, I distinctly remember marveling at the blandness of the food.

                                    I'm glad to see the old PD building revitalized, and if we need CF to accomplish that, well, I guess they can come to the party. Anyway, Mozza is supposed to be pretty good.

                                    1. re: Dagney

                                      I don't understand the draw or wait times as well but, they're a player and will attract business which will act as a good anchor store. I hope Mozza is as good as the store in LA.

                                      1. re: Josh

                                        We'll excuse your discerning palate, actually their cheesecakes are not too bad. Have you ever tried them or eaten there?

                                        1. re: cstr

                                          I've been forced to eat there, yes. I found it execrable. Everything was sweet. Blech.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              Sweet salad. Sweet entree. Sweet sides. America's diabetes and obesity problem beautifully summarized in one restaurant, complete with advertising displayed in the menu, because you know it's a fine meal out when you can contemplate ads for more consumerist crap you don't need.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  And in this corner: Sweet!

                                                  And in that corner: Not sweet!

                                                  But wait! Who's that that just entered the ring??

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    In that case CF has an array of HFCS-laden treats for you, laboratory-designed for maximum stimulation.

                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                      Any specific ones you'd recommend?

                                                  2. re: Josh

                                                    Sure, blame CF for obesity and diabetes, forget about self discipline. I always see CF reps wrestling people to the ground, by their restaurant, and forcing them to go in and eat their HCFS laden chow and heaven forbid pay for it. What a terrible travesty and company CF is. CF is probably responsible for cancer as well.

                                                    1. re: cstr

                                                      Actually, that may well be true (that CF and its ilk are responsible for cancer). There's a growing amount of research indicating that cancer and other "western diseases" are precipitated by changes to body chemistry that result from the large amount of sugar, HFCS and processed flour we eat in our industrial diet.

                                                      It's easy to blame people's "self-discipline" for that diet, but the fact is that humans evolved in a context where sweet food wasn't abundant, and for health reasons was best consumed whenever it was encountered. The processed-food-industrial complex -- specifically companies like Sysco and their retail partners like CF -- do in fact exploit that evolutionary maladaptation for profit, at the expense of the health of their customers.

                                                      Sysco and other broadline distributors do, as you say in an earlier post, carry products at many levels of quality, but none of those quality levels are particularly good. As a result, CF, and any other restaurant that depends on the industrial food system for its ingredients, can't serve particularly good food. It may be better-prepared, or more palatable, than most other industrial restaurants -- but it can't be good in any meaningful way, nor can it be nutritious in any meaningful way.

                                                      That said, I can't imagine it won't be successful, given their proven ability to execute, their strong national brand, and a location that seems to be able to draw both toursits and locals.

                                      2. There is one dish at Cheesecake Factory that I really like--the Chicken lettuce cups. Better than any other variant of that dish that I have had. Utterly crisp lettuce, grilled chicken, still juicy, three different sauces and a mixture of different veggies and noodles--at a reasonable price. Problem--crowds, no reservations, no place to sit while waiting, usually. So, we never go anymore, not even for the chicken lettuce cups, alas.

                                        1. Heard Mozza is having their soft opening tonight with a guest appearance from Mario Batali...will try and get over there in the middle of this week as I live only a few minutes understanding is Eddie V's will not be open for a few more weeks and it will have a jazz lounge area.

                                          10 Replies
                                            1. re: Fake Name

                                              Show off. .
                                              Tell Mario I said Hi!

                                              I think the best news that CF will be opening is for the most part, the tourists will flock and wait, while us locals, skip on in to Mozza. .

                                              Jazz lounge at Eddie V's..solid.

                                              BTW, Steve looked great on KUSI.

                                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                                Just walked past the place.....invitation party only...there's quite a bit more besides the already mentioned's more of a mini-mall with clothing stores as well as a mandatory Starbucks (to compete v. the Dunkin Donuts that is coming to the Embassy Suites across the street).....there was a sign n front of Eddie V's stating it will open on February 6.

                                                1. re: El Chevere

                                                  Mostly for tourists, I think -- an extension of Seaport Village.

                                              2. re: Fake Name

                                                The scuttlebutt has it that CF is going to be sourcing all of the cheese for their OPH cheesecakes from Venissimo in an effort to make this more of a "local" play.

                                                Did you hear any other juicy gossip around the OPH last night, Mr. Name?

                                                1. re: Stiflers_Mom


                                                  I'm pretty far out of that loop. It would shock me, however, if that's true.

                                                  1. re: Stiflers_Mom

                                                    Can't wait for the Red Dragon cheesecake. That should be a real winner.

                                                    1. re: Josh

                                                      I am waiting for the Sriracha Cheesecake with Ghost Pepper Glaze on the topping.

                                                    2. re: Stiflers_Mom

                                                      That would be great for TCF, but there's too much potential to leave Venissimo with a bruised image. Doubt it.

                                                      Hope that parking around the "OPH" is possible. Otherwise, it'll be back to their Washington St. location.

                                                      1. re: DoctorChow

                                                        Oops. Didn't think anyone would really take my Venissimo comment seriously.

                                                        Parking - remember, Horton Plaza just went back to the old 3 hour, no-visit parking validation program. Horton is a scant .5 miles away from the OPH - the round trip walk could help CF diners burn 100 calories (12 french fries) or so if they take advantage of the free parking at Horton.

                                                2. Think I'll wait a bit for the dust and crowds to settle before checking out The Headquarters, but the first three places you mentioned -- Mozza, Eddie V's, and Venissimo -- are the main draws for me. I wonder who'll grab up the last unleased spot?

                                                  18 Replies
                                                  1. re: DoctorChow

                                                    "I wonder who'll grab up the last unleased spot?"


                                                      1. re: RB Hound

                                                        We probably need another burger joint, right?

                                                            1. re: foodiechick

                                                              Speaking of Phil's, there's a new place called LW's SD BBQ opening next to Keil's in Clairemont. If it's open I'll check it out and comment (on the new restaurants thread). With a name like that, it's either (a) really good, or (b) really pretentious. Hiring last week and they had hours posted on the door today, but closed on Mon.

                                                              I do love good bbq, so I'm hoping.

                                                              1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                Why does it sound pretentious? It sounds very generic to me.

                                                                Maybe they invented a new style of BBQ called San Diego Style? :)

                                                                1. re: RB Hound

                                                                  I hope you're right!

                                                                  It will be very interesting to see what their concept of "San Diego Style" BBQ is.

                                                                  Only pretentious if it turns out to be SOS, pardon my French.

                                                                  1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                    And speaking of Phil's... Did they ever rebuild that BBQ place downtown that Top Gun was filmed at? I know it burned down a few years ago, and when I went maybe 10+ years ago it was really bad. But looking on line at the space still up for lease I could see a Phil's going in there. They would sure cater to the tourists, however the ones from Texas that know real BBQ, not so much.

                                                                    1. re: littlestevie

                                                                      I believe the Top Gun "BBQ" place is that wretched Kansas City BBQ across from the Manchester Hyatt. Still going strong, as they have a steady supply of sucker tourists (the Lou and Mickey's business model). It's fine if you like to eat BBQ flavored shoe leather. The food there makes Phil's look good, and sorry, but Phil's isn't even real BBQ.

                                                                      1. re: littlestevie

                                                                        Rebuild? They had KC BBQ fixed up ASAP. The SD Reader just did a review this week, FWIW.

                                                                        1. re: RB Hound

                                                                          Is that funky 80s place still full of photos from the Top Gun filming?

                                                                          I went once a couple of decades ago, and the BBQ was -- well put Steve G -- "shoe leather". I've never been back.

                                                                    2. re: RB Hound

                                                                      Just back from LW's-- had their pulled pork sandwich. Moist and tasty meat; pronounced cumin flavor in the sauce. Not sure that exactly defines a new local style. Will withhold judgement until I've tried a few other things there, like their smoked hot link sandwich and bbq salad.

                                                                      1. re: RB Hound

                                                                        We already have a San Diego style of BBQ, called Phil's. They should just run with that instead of marketing it as Mephis-style.

                                                                        Given people's' propensity to complain (meaning the smoke bothering the neighbors) I don't see low-and-slow regional styles being able to exist here.

                                                                        1. re: MrKrispy

                                                                          "I don't see low-and-slow regional styles being able to exist here."

                                                                          I hear you, but low-and-slow is exactly the claim at LW's --printed in bold italics. Hickory hardwood smoke.

                                                                      2. re: DoctorChow

                                                                        Just checked out their website, I hope the BBQ is better than the website, because that is one of the screwiest websites I have seen in a while

                                                                        1. re: littlestevie

                                                                          My take was that their website is a temporary mock-up or template -- not yet fleshed out.