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The Digest: March 17, 2015

Cafe Chloe's new concept; Water Grill opens; new butcher in town

By Bridget Vuona

Café Chloe’s new project has finally been announced. Owners Jon and Alison McGrath (whose daughter is Chloe) are opening a 1,500 square-foot European creperie at 721 8th Ave. in the East Village. It’ll have a “wee bit” of patio seating, a walk-up window, a small dining room and a “tiny bar where we will do tiny crepe happy hours,” says Alison. They’ll use the space to throw Boulettes Larder-style parties for groups up to 30. ETA: Summer-ish… The new multi-million-dollar seafood restaurant Water Grill opened last week at the corner of Sixth and J Streets in the two-story Downtown space formerly home to The Palm. The L.A.-based concept will have an oyster bar with live sea urchins, live seafood tanks, etc. Executive chef for WG San Diego is Fabrice Poigin. Parent company King’s Seafood (who also owns Lou & Mickey’s) plans to open 15 Water Grills across the country… The ELE Collective (Waypoint Public, Hotel Vyvant) has taken over the former Bourbon Street in University Heights (4612 Park Blvd.), with plans to open Park & Rec—a three-cocktail-concepts-in-one drinking establishment. Creative forces are two of the city’s top bartenders, Anthony Schmidt (Fairweather, Noble Experiment) and Trevor Easter (Noble Experiment, ex-Rickhouse), who’ve formed their own cocktail consulting project called Revelry Cocktail Co. Park & Rec is aiming for May 2015 open… Locals James Holtslag and Trey Nichols have opened The Heart & Trotter Butchery in North Park (2855 El Cajon Blvd.). H&T’s business is a noble one—to give San Diego its first butcher shop that embodies the slow food movement (local, sustainable, hormone- and antibiotic-free, using the whole animal and not just the sexy cuts). Head butcher Holtslag plans to use the scraps from lamb, beef, chicken and pork to make and sell other products, from pate to dog food. They’re also planning butchering classes The self-pour beer concept Barrel Republic (started in Pacific Beach) is opening two more spots this summer. One in Oceanside and one in Carlsbad…. The oft-changing concept at Hazard Center (most recently Randy Jones All-American Sports Grille) will now become Wood Ranch BBQ & Grille, an L.A.-based concept with 16 locations. This’ll be their first in San Diego… On March 23, local favorites “Kizzy” and her husband will open their first full restaurant in North Park, called Panchita’s Kitchen Bakery. The date marks 32 years to the day since they opened their first Panchita’s in San Diego (they have three locations around central city), which serves savory empañadas, baked goods and traditional Mexican dishes. This location will expand the menu to include tacos de birria (tacos dipped in beef drippings) and a variety of traditional soups… The food fest “North Eats” is ramping up again. Set for April 26 at Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort, it showcases over 20 restaurants from North County San Diego, including Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria, Solterra, Chandler’s, Fish 101, Wrench & Rodent, etc. Chefs are paired with pro athletes for a cook-off called “Cook or Kook”…  Twenty of Point Loma’s most popular restaurants, cafes and bakeries (The Brig, Umi Sushi, Wine Pub, etc.) will show up for the 26th Annual Taste of Point Loma on April 22… Two native French siblings will open a new French coffee shop in La Jolla (6830 La Jolla Blvd.) called La Clochette Du Coin. They’ll focus on coffee, teas, fresh pastries, sandwiches, panninis, etc…. Local restaurateur Salvatore Ercolano (Villa Capri, Come On In! Cafe) just opened Seasalt Del Mar in the former spot of Eda-Mami (2282 Carmel Valley Rd.). To honor his predecessors, he gives diners the choice of free bread or edamame with sea salt… How was there not a single conveyor-belt sushi restaurant in San Diego county? L.A.-based chain Kula Revolving Sushi Bar picked up on this tragedy, and will remedy it come April on Convoy (4609 Convoy St.)…. As Little Italy’s food scene booms, there sits a few old, quaint structures amid the new developments. One is the A.W. Pray house, a historical Victorian Gothic gem (one of only three in San Diego county) next to Influx Cafe. It’s survived gentrification so far, and now the itsy, bitsy, cozy spot has changed from a boutique clothing retailer to M Winehouse, a new global wine bar from owner Ruth Melero.

The Digest: March 17, 2015

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