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Incoming: Camino Farms

An indie-like Whole Foods is coming to Mission Valley mixing gourmet grocery shopping and on-site dining
Courtesy of Camino Farms
Camino Farms Rendering Market

A 3D rendering of Camino Farm’s market interior

Courtesy of Camino Farms

The line between restaurant and general store is one of the most rapidly shrinking distinctions in San Diego’s food scene. It seems every restaurant has a little tucked-away area where you can buy small-batch granola, local hot honey, and quirky greeting cards. An all-in-one, do-it-all solution for the modern food person.

Take the newest gourmet market-slash-eatery rising quickly in San Diego: Camino Farms. Brother-in-laws Auday Salem and Renoir Benyamen have three decades of experience scaling grocery markets. Their minds are behind projects like Mar Vista Liquor, Carnival Supermarket, and Keg n Bottle. Their latest venture, Camino Farms, is the most ambitious project yet. It’s a chain of organic grocery retailers with attached eat-and-drink spaces, the first of which opens in Mission Valley late this fall.

Camino Farms Rending Deli

Camino Farm’s sushi bar offering made-to-order rolls and fresh fish

Courtesy of Camino Farms

The inaugural Camino Farms will debut on the ground floor of the Alexan Gallerie Apartment Complex. The property will house the traditional stylings of a high-end food market, like organic produce and household essentials. Their Miles to Market program will label items with the distance they traveled from source to store.

The rest of the culinary playground features an east coast–style deli slinging sandwiches on rosemary bread, a sushi bar offering pre-rolled and made-to-order bites, a fresh-pressed juicery, a coffee bar with breakfast pastries, and Pichudo, the brand’s Mexican grill concept.

Pichudo will operate in a separate but attached space, where you can enjoy housemade marinades and salsas atop surf-and-turf fries, sea bass tacos, and al pastor cilantro rice bowls. You can pair your selections with craft cocktails from Pichudo’s full bar and sip them on a 1,000-square-foot patio adjacent to fire pits, TVs, and umbrellas.

Pichudo Restaurant Rendering Camino Farms

Camino Farm’s Pichudo Mexican grill concept featuring entrees like surf-and-turf fries along with a craft cocktail bar and an outdoor patio area

Courtesy of Camino Farms

“We’re creating a mini urban market,” Benyamen says. “You can think of it as a small Whole Foods with additional offerings.”

Salem and Benyamen have signed the lease on their sophomore location, which opens the first week of May 2024 inside the Design & Innovation building at UCSD. Recognizing the campus’ impressive student-to-coffee shop ratio, Camino Farms UCSD will offer gelato (sourced from Chocolat) in place of an espresso bar.

“There are a lot of students on the run, so we decided to do more of a grab-and-go concept,” Benyamen says. “It will all be very affordable for the students.”

Menus across all Camino properties will be spearheaded by staff already in Salem and Benyamen’s network.

Camino Farms Mission Valley will be located at 375 Camino De La Reina, San Diego 92108Have breaking-news, exciting scoops, or great stories about San Diego’s food scene? Send your pitches to [email protected].

By Jared Cross

Jared Cross is a writer who grew up near the US-Mexico border in San Diego. He credits this experience with refining his appetite for food and culture.

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