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Gaslamp’s Whimsical Rustic Root Heads to the Beach

Comfort food and cocktails head to Solana Beach—plus Bafang Dumpling lands in Mira Mesa and a Lunar New Year celebration on Convoy
Rustic Root, Gaslamp
Courtesy of Rustic Root

From the hubbub of Gaslamp to beachside serenity—Rustic Root is growing up and out of its original downtown location. Coming this July, Rustic Root will open their second restaurant at 343 S. Highway 101, Suite 100 in Solana Beach as part of the new mixed-use Sand Box development that will include retail, restaurants, and apartments. The new eatery will span 3,273 square feet of indoor space, plus a 923-square-foot patio instead of a have a rooftop patio. The design team Davis Ink and architect Arch5 Design Studio worked together to create the signature Rustic Root vibe with a Solana Beach spin—think more crashing waves than honking cars. 

The original location opened in the Gaslamp in 2015, featuring elevated comfort food fare like their Texas-style smoked ribeye, firecracker shrimp, and homestyle butter biscuits with maple pecan and charred jalapeño butter. The downtown culinary team will help bring the same regional and local cuisine to the new location, as well as an elevated cocktail program with classics like margaritas as well as signature cocktails like A Lover’s Flannel with cucumber and mint-infused Absolut, strawberry syrup, lemon, and egg white. 

Finding a new location took a while, says RMD Group partner Mike Georgopoulos. “We’ve been looking in this area for some time, hoping the perfect place would open up, so once we found an opportunity, we jumped on it,” says Georgopoulos. “The small-town feel and tight-knit community make it the perfect spot for our restaurant… We know Solana Beach locals will love the casual yet energetic feel of the atmosphere, as well as the classic yet creative take on comfort food and cocktails.”

He adds they hope to offer live music at the Solana Beach location if permits allow, and promises to bring the same Rustic Root experience to a brand new neighborhood. “I know this town well after living in North County and spending time in the area with my family,” he says. “Solana Beach is the perfect spot.”

Once open this summer, the Solana Beach location will be open for dinner seven days a week from 4 p.m. to close, and open for brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.

San Diego Restaurant News & Food Events

I’m nothing if not a total dumpling fiend, so news of a new dumpling restaurant always piques my interest. The Orange County favorite Bafang Dumpling opened this weekend at 9690 Reagan Road in Mira Mesa, bringing Taiwanese favorites like potstickers, spicy noodles, Taiwanese soup, and much more to San Diego for the first time. You can even pick up frozen dumplings to make at home (with or without meat). Bafang is in the midst of an aggressive expansion across Southern California, so are more locations on the horizon? My stomach prays it is so.

I may or may not have hungrily DM’ed the Shawarma Guys Instagram account in November 2022 for an update on their first brick-and-mortar location that they announced in May of that year. Finally, that update and that restaurant are finally here at 5525 Jackson Drive, Suite B in La Mesa. Long operating out of a truck in a parking lot in South Park, Shawarma Guys earned national recognition on Guy Fieri’s show Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives after being named #1 on Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. in 2020. Their menu of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired dishes includes favorites like their Wagyu beef shawarma, lemon cream chop fries, California shawarma wrap (yes, it’s like a California burrito, but better), fattoush salad, and even vegan shawarma and falafel. Run, don’t walk, and get a side of garlic paste. 

Beth’s Bites

Better late than never—I finally got to check out the crab corn doughnut at Quixote, the Oaxacan-inspired mezcalería inside the old Red Fox Room location attached to the LaFayette Hotel. What can I say? It was worth the wait and $21.

Lion dancing, duck fat fries, and perhaps a visit to the apothecary—everything I love is happening at Common Theory this Friday starting at 8:30 pm. Won’t you come feed the lions with me to celebrate Lunar New Year?

I have it on good authority that the fish tacos at Mariscos Mar Y Tierra in Chula Vista are massive, both in size and deliciousness. Can someone please confirm/deny?

Have you planned your Super Bowl menu yet? There’s still time to order what I consider to be some of the best party wings in town—Wei Wei Asian Express’ salt and pepper wings. $66 gets you 50 pieces of the savory, garlicky, lip-smackingly crispy wings that will definitely make you the hero of the party. Honestly, they didn’t pay me for this. The wings are just that legit. 

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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