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Chad White Closes Común, Brigantine to Replace Anthony’s

This week's local real estate news
Común was known for its tostadas and self-serve craft beer station. | Photo by Sam Wells

By Marie Tutko

Word on the Street

Top Chef contestant says adiós to San Diego

Chad White, a contender in the upcoming season of Top Chef and owner of Común Kitchen & Tavern, is leaving San Diego and has closed his East Village taqueria.

White made the announcement last weekend that he is leaving in December to open a restaurant in his hometown of Spokane, Washington. A chef who was busy on both sides of the border, White is known for Baja-Med cuisine and has a long culinary résumé in San Diego, cooking at the former Roseville, Sea Rocket Bistro, and Gabardine. He opened Craft Pizza Company in UTC and La Justina in Tijuana—both of which he will still operate—and Común last summer.

White told the Union-Tribune that the restaurant on Tenth Avenue and J Street has been struggling and he feels its location played a role. It’s worth noting that Toast Enoteca & Cucina was right next door to Común, and it closed in September. Down the street was Table No. 10, an acclaimed restaurant that folded in August.

That’s three restaurants—led by chefs who are well liked—closing in three months, all on the same block.

“Don’t underestimate how powerful the wrong location can be for a restaurant,” says Mike Spilky, president of Location Matters, a real estate firm that specializes in restaurant leasing.

Spilky says that although these restaurants elevated San Diego’s food scene, this area of the East Village is just not ready for upscale dining: “Had these restaurants been located in Little Italy today, they would have thrived,” he said.

White plans on selling Común. Spilky says the space is unfortunately not worth that much, because there is so much vacancy right next door.

Before he leaves, you can sample White’s cooking at his going away party at Carnitas Snack Shack on Thursday, December 3, from 7 to 10 p.m.

Tracking Turnover

Brigantine wins takeover of Anthony’s harbor space

Chad White Closes Común, Brigantine to Replace Anthony's

Chad White Closes Común, Brigantine to Replace Anthony’s

The Brigantine’s new Portside Pier complex on 1360 North Harbor Drive will have two full-service restaurants, a gelateria and craft beer pub, along with public viewing decks and more dock space. | TUCKER SADLER ARCHITECTS/COURTESY OF BRIGANTINE RESTAURANTS

The Port decided Tuesday that Brigantine Restaurants will replace Anthony’s Fish Grotto on Harbor Drive, which has been on the waterfront since the end of World War II, with the two-story Portside Pier.

Portside Pier will house four different restaurants under one roof: Brigantine on the Bay (steak and seafood) and Miguel’s Cocina (Mexican) with sit-down service; Ketch Grill & Taps, a casual craft beer pub; and a coffee and gelato bar. The second floor will have a public viewing deck.

Mike Morton Jr., president and CEO of Brigantine Restaurants, says they hope to start construction on February 1, 2017—immediately after Anthony’s lease expires in January.

Brigantine beat out competing proposals from The Fish Market, Anthony’s, and Sunroad Enterprises to revitalize the prominent waterfront space.

“On the quantitative side, we offered the highest rent to the Port District and the highest minimum guaranteed investment,” Morton says. “On the qualitative side, our design was first class and we offered the most public access from both land and water by proposing a public viewing deck and expanded dock space. Our goal was to activate the waterfront from both land and water, and I think our design does just that.”


Ice skating rink opens in Liberty Station

Chad White Closes Común, Brigantine to Replace Anthony's

Chad White Closes Común, Brigantine to Replace Anthony’s

The annual Fantasy on Ice skating rink has returned to kick off the holiday season and is now open at its new home inside Liberty Station.

The rink relocated from Horton Plaza, where it had been for the past 18 years, to the plaza inside the NTC Command Center at 2640 Historic Decatur Road. The new locale is surrounded by more open space and has plenty of free parking. Fantasy on Ice is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Sunday, January 3, 2016.

News Bites

Developer finally gets green light after 29 years of litigation

Over in Otay Mesa, 300 acres of land can now be developed into a business park after the City of San Diego settled its longest-running lawsuit earlier this week.


Affordable housing opens in East Village

The city celebrated the opening of Alpha Square Apartments, a 201-unit affordable housing complex on 14th and Market streets.

Chad White Closes Común, Brigantine to Replace Anthony’s

Común was known for its tostadas and self-serve craft beer station. | Photo by Sam Wells

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