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The New Owner of Mr. A’s on What Changes He Will (and Won’t) Be Making

Tune into episode 253 of the Happy Half Hour podcast
Lucianna McIntosh

The iconic Mister A’s is being sold (don’t worry, it’s not going anywhere, and this is a good story). Last week, we talked with Bertrand Hug—the restaurateur of restaurateurs, the don of dining and longtime steward of the rooftop restaurant—about why he chose to sell to his right-hand man. Today on the podcast, we have the man himself, Ryan Thorsen.

Ryan earned this (and paid for it). The SDSU grad got his first job at Buster’s Beach House in Seaport Village, then landed a low-level manager’s job at Mister A’s and just dedicated his life to it. Worked 100-hour weeks at times. He rose through the ranks over 11 years, becoming director of operations. He and Hug developed a father-son relationship, and, when Hug decided it was time to let go and focus on his original baby—the world-class French restaurant Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe—he turned down offers for more money and entrusted Mister A’s to his young partner and friend.

Ryan tells us the whole story—including how he originally got turned down for the job because Hug didn’t like his facial scruff—and what he plans to do with the San Diego classic when he takes over in March. He’s not going nuts with the design, but he’s enlisted top designer Mauricio Couturier, who designed this place.

In Hot Plates, things get a little wild. Takashi Endo is opening another Menya Ultra Ramen in UTC, and we all give our answer about which is the superior soup: ramen or pho. We talk about Shake Shack opening in Carlsbad, and I for sure am going to be driven out of Southern California in a hailstorm of fire because I admit I prefer it to our own better-burger legend (sacrilege). The Pink Lady (La Valencia Hotel) is renovating their famed Mediterranean Room and adding a new patio concept to celebrate its 95th birthday.Temaki Bar, a hand roll place from Clique Hospitality (LionfishSereaJoya Kitchen) and sustainable seafood chef JoJo Ruiz, is coming to Encinitas. And 3R Brewing, a Native American–owned craft brewery from the Rincon Reservation, just opened a tasting room in Ocean Beach.

In Two People, $50, Troy was reminded how much he loves the vegan food at Café Gratitude, especially that butternut squash dip with focaccia. Ryan wastes zero time declaring his love for everyone’s favorite tequila-and-mole hideaway, Cantina Mayahuel. And David checked out Kin Len, the brand-new Thai street food restaurant in North Park.

Hope you all enjoy. See ya next week.

Ryan Thorsen and Bertrand Hug

Lucianna McIntosh

By Troy Johnson

Troy Johnson is the magazine’s award-winning food writer and humorist, and a long-standing expert on Food Network. His work has been featured on NatGeo, Travel Channel, NPR, and in Food Matters, a textbook of the best American food writing.

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