Welcome back to the Happy Half Hour! When we taped this episode, the state of California had just announced the re-suspension of indoor dining at restaurants. Over the past few weeks, local restaurants have had to weather reopening, closing, and converting their dining spaces outdoors. We checked in with Tommy Nguyen, who owns Cross Street Chicken and Beer, the Korean fried chicken emporium with locations on Convoy Street and at Windmill Food Hall in Carlsbad.
Tommy shared with us how he’s adapted his restaurants to this new environment, and that other small restaurants in the Convoy area—many of which reside in strip malls—have followed suit, turning the neighborhood into what looks like a night market. We then dived into how he started the business, and what inspired him to focus on Korean fried chicken, which isn’t as prominent in San Diego. He and his wife, Grace Chi, spent a couple of years traveling throughout Asia, and Tommy says he fell in love with Korean fried chicken during an extended stay in Seoul. Grace’s family also owns several restaurants on Convoy, including Grandma Tofu and Korean BBQ, DduriBa, and Bing Haus ice cream.
In Hot Plates, we shared the news that Hanna’s Gourmet is back and offering family meals to go. Gelati & Peccati opened last week in North Park, with a walk-up window serving Roman-style pizza and gelato. Con Pane, a bakery that had been in Point Loma for 20 years and abruptly closed earlier this year after an audit by federal immigration authorities, was purchased by Cohn Restaurant Group and will reopen in Liberty Station.
For Two People for Takeout, Tommy’s picks are Hinotez (which specializes in yakitori) and the pho at Phó Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest. Troy’s favorite this week is another Convoy institution, Wa Dining Okan. David recommended the ice cream at Stella Jean’s, and my pick is the Hawaiian-style ahi poke at Hawaiian Fresh Seafood.
Thank you so much for listening and for staying with us. We want to hear from you. Is there a guest you want us to book on the show? A topic that should be explored? Need a recommendation for takeout? Do you have a question for Troy? Let us know. You can call us at 619-744-0535 and leave a voicemail, or if you’re shy, you can email us at [email protected].