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More NOLA Coming To North Park

Peter Cich, the name behind concepts such as Louisiana Purchase & Coco Maya, and will open his newest concept with Chef Quinnton Austin this fall
Food from New Orlean's cuisine restaurant Louisiana Purchase in San Diego. Austin Nola will be the next restaurant from chef Quinnton Austin
Courtesy of Louisiana Purchase

Pete Cich wants you to know his new restaurant, Austin Nola. It’s named for chef Quinnton Austin from New Orleans, not the former Padres catcher.

“My nine-year-old son was like, ‘Hey Dad, that’s the catcher who used to be on the Padres,’ and I was like ‘Oh no.’ I didn’t even realize it,” he laughed. “I wanted to just really make it about chef Q and a chef-driven location with his culinary background. Austin is his last name, and he’s from New Orleans… I guess we’ll just roll with it.”

Cich owns Grind & Prosper Hospitality, and is behind concepts like Louisiana Purchase, Miss B’s Coconut Club, Park 101, Coco Maya, and Q and A Restaurant & Oyster Bar. As culinary director, Austin, or “Chef Q,” as he’s better known, infuses all of his menus with a signature flair influenced by his tenure at Louisiana institutions like Cinclare and Antoine’s, latter of which is best known for inventing oysters Rockefeller.

Chef Quinnton Austin behind the new San Diego restaurant Austin Nola opening in North Park
Courtesy of the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

Given his culinary history, many items on Chef Q’s menus center his Louisiana background with ingredients like alligator, andouille sausage, oysters, and crawfish featured prominently. But for Austin Nola, Cich says he wanted to use NOLA as a jumping off point rather than the destination. 

“It’s not going to be New Orleans cuisine per se,” he explains. “There will be some comfort food aspects. We’re going to have artisan pizzas, sandwiches, and a burger. But it’s definitely more broad, more of a worldly approach, but will have Chef Q in all of it.” 

Sharables will be a big focus as well, with more small plates than main entrees, including items like oxtail dumplings, Cajun oysters, crispy pork belly with strawberry glaze, Wagyu meatballs with goat cheese grits, and lobster grilled cheese. Grind & Prosper beverage director Rob McShae will craft the cocktail menu, bringing his twists to classic cocktails as well as a curated wine list.

Austin Nola’s 2,800-square-foot space will be the anchor for Niima Outpost, a mixed-use development at 2519 El Cajon Blvd. in North Park with a yet-to-be explained Star Wars reference. GTC Design (Rare Society, Coco Maya, Cardellino) will handle the design of the restaurant, which will have around 120 seats with two patios, one private and one shared with the building. Cich says he hopes to open in September or October of this year. 

But Cich is most excited about one specific addition—a 500-square-foot private dining space connected to the kitchen with its own entrance, where they’ll be able to offer a more intimate experience for small groups.

“It’s really going to be designed to give that chef experience and do chef’s tables,” he says. The space was originally intended as part of the residential aspect of the building, which will contain 55 apartments with a few short-term rental spaces

Food from San Diego restaurant Louisiana Purchase
Courtesy of Louisiana Purchase

The private dining room wasn’t the only surprise, Cich explains. The entire restaurant was unexpected. He and his team had been actively scouting for a second location for a new Louisiana Purchase, and were close to committing to a development near SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. It didn’t pan out, but he had other markets on his mind before Hub & Spoke Communities approached him about joining Niima Outpost. He took the meeting without much expectation, but it struck a chord. 

“With everything going on in North Park, it just seems like there’s a resurgence,” he says, pointing to projects like The LaFayette Hotel and Trust Restaurant Group’s future French brasserie. “It seemed like a fun time to get involved on another spot in North Park.”

WILDCOAST's 2024 fundraiser dinner Brunch Bash flyer
Courtesy of WILDCOAST

San Diego Restaurant News & Food Events

Leu Leu Coming To Leucadia

Something is coming to 466 North Highway 101, but I’m not exactly sure what. Leu Leu calls itself a “soul jungle bungalow for lovers of the food, the wine & the wonders of space and time, with an Instagram feed that’s psychedelic space trip meets archival prints from vintage magazines, none of which gives any indication of what said lovers of the food and the wine may be in store for. I managed to make contact in their DMs, but, as they said, it simply led me “down the magik [sic] rabbit hole” and left me with more questions than answers. They told me I must have answered “some cosmic call” to even find them and allowed me to share this “mystery vignette.” I’m interested, confused, and intrigued. Down the rabbit hole, indeed.

WILDCOAST’s Baja Bash To Raise Funds For Ocean Conservation

In more tangible news, on Saturday, June 8, Wildcoast will host their Baja Bash fundraiser from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Montbleau Estate in Solana Beach. Tickets are $225 and get you access to food from San Diego and Baja chefs like Roberto Alcocer (Valle, Malva), William Eick (Matsu), Drew Deckman (Deckman’s, 31ThirtyOne) and many more, plus that priceless feeling of helping to protect 38 million acres of coastline, ocean habitat, and our earth at large. 

Food and wine from Postino WineCafe opening a new location in San Diego at One Paseo in Del Mar
Courtesy of Postino WineCafe

Beth’s Bites

Sounds like family-owned Scripps Ranch pizzeria Pazzo’s Pizza is opening a new location in Ocean Beach at 2163 Abbott Street, which formerly housed Surf Rider Pizza, Wild Things Pizza & Beer and SugaLab. Here’s to wishing them prosperity, if not at least longevity, in the space. 

Postino WineCafé’s newest location at One Paseo will open on Saturday, May 11 and join their other newly opened spot in Little Italy. Fun fact: If you join their email list, you get a free bruschetta board. (I’ve done more for less, so color-me intrigued.)

Tea is in, and The Westgate Hotel is upping their service. Between May 13 and June 30, guests and Bridgerton fans can get a “Whistledown” package that includes Champagne, tea sandwiches, and a jar of Whistledown White Ambrosia Tea, as well as a serenade by a live string quartet. Regency-era attire is encouraged, so dust off your corsets and press your white gloves. 

Have breaking news, exciting scoops, or great stories about new San Diego restaurants or the city’s food scene? Send your pitches to [email protected].

By Beth Demmon

Beth Demmon is an award-winning writer and podcaster whose work regularly appears in national outlets and San Diego Magazine. Her first book, The Beer Lover's Guide to Cider, is now available. Find out more on

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