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Actor Martin Short Becomes Mayor of a Food-Obsessed Town

We head to Funner, CA to try waffle sandwiches, Pride-a-Ritas, and beer made by the nation’s first tribal-owned brewery
2024 Mayor of Harrah's SoCal's Funner, Ca featuring Martin Short with a cocktail by the resort pool
Courtesy of Harrah's Resort Southern California

Picture, if you will, a hotel suite with a view. Below is a meandering, turquoise lazy river, and beyond are mountains flecked with desert scrub. On the table is a waffle egg sandwich, which is flanked by other savory treats and a bevy of drinks: a pink Cosmo-looking thing with Martin Short’s face sits next to a margarita with a rainbow straw and a row of multi-hued beers from Rincon Reservation Road Brewery (3R). 

If you’ve guessed the location to be Harrah’s SoCal on the grounds of the Rincon Reservation, you’d be right. (They’ve renamed the area within the wider rez Funner, CA, which is an actual location you can Google.) This week’s Happy Half Hour blasts to you live from one of the most lively casinos in town.

Various food and drink options from Martin Short's major-approved menu in Harrah's SoCal's Funner
Courtesy of Harrah’s Resort Southern California

Troy, in particular, is well acquainted with the digs. Last year, he got to yuk it up with Jane Lynch, who was Funner’s mayor at the time, and just a few weeks ago, he headed back up to town to talk shop with the current mayor, the esteemed Martin Short (previous mayors included Rob Riggle and David Hasselhoff). During this visit, Troy and Jackie sampled all the mayor-approved food and drinks, including the aforementioned Mayor’s Choice Cosmo and our favorite sandwich, The Mega Marty, which has tavern ham and gouda on a pretzel bun.

While we were stuffing our faces, we got to chat with two guests: Jill Barrett, Harrah’s senior vice president and general manager since 2008 (so she knows a thing or two about the place), and Zeth DeVore, contender for the coolest first name in history. Zeth is the head brewer at 3R Brewery, which, like Harrah’s, is owned by the Rincon tribe.

Harrah's Resort Southern California featuring beer cans from Rincon Reservation Road Brewery (3R), the nation's first tribal-owned brewery
Courtesy of Harrah’s Resort Southern California

Forgive the pun, but Barrett is truly a Jill of all trades. Since joining the team in the early aughts, she’s maintained oversight of a wide range of departments. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Jill stepped up and took on the interim general manager role from May through August. Barrett is also a volunteer for several local and national nonprofits, and she’s on the board of the San Diego North Economic Development Council.

Our second guest, DeVore, moved to SoCal in 2016 from Virginia, where he started homebrewing in 2013. He answered a job posting for 3R two years ago and joined the team. We talked about his history brewing beer; why he’s tiring of super hoppy, juicy beers though he knows they are popular; the purity of the Rincon’s aquifer (which is used to make the brewery’s beer); the significance of working for the first tribal-owned brewery in the United States; and the importance of a tribal brewery to breaking the stigmas between Native Americans and alcohol abuse. 

We also talked about the news: Indigo Cow uses Hokkaido milk for its soft serve and is coming to Convoy; Oi Shiba, a Japanese ramen spot, will open soon in PB from the owners of Bok Bok Dok, Viet-Nom, Flama Llama, Formosa, and Steamy Piggy; San Diego’s first alcohol-free bar, Good News, will launch in Hillcrest by the end of the year; Dija Mara has been sold to a Seattle restaurateur; and Izola has finally reopened its bread temple in East Village.

By Jackie Bryant

Jackie is San Diego Magazine's content strategist. Prior to that, she was its managing editor. Before her SDM career, she was a long-time freelance journalist covering cannabis, food/restaurants, travel, labor, wine, spirits, arts & culture, design, and other topics. Her work has been selected twice for Best American Travel Writing, and she has won a variety of national and local awards for her writing and reporting.

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