If you like being the first to try what no one knew, check out these new restaurants opening around the county in the coming weeks and months.
A branch of this North Park mainstay will be sweet news for North County when it opens in Poway in March. The pure-butter bakery specializes in swoonable sweets so good they're also served at Neiman Marcus.
A confection from the beach-savvy owners of The Duck Dive and PB Shore Club, this coming-soon Mission Beach party house will pour tiki cocktails to accompany an islands-inspired menu.
ONE DOOR NORTH (opening in March/April)
3422 30th St., North Park
One eatery's closure is another's opportunity, in this case for The Smoking Goat, which has opened a spacious restaurant next door, in what used to be Mosaic. Approachable, locally sourced fare is the focus.
MOTO DELI (opening in April)
810 N. Coast Hwy. 101, Encinitas
Hell on wheels for the sandwich set, this motorcycle-themed shop in Leucadia also serves elaborate salads and sides (and pickled eggs) in a racy environment. Dine in, take out or order for delivery... by motorcycle.
Okie-dokie, try the poke at this new sibling of downtown Carlsbad's ever- sizzling Blue Ocean Robata & Grill. Think crudo, think ceviche - poke is highly seasoned raw fish with a clean finish on the palate.
SALLY'S SEAFOOD BY THE WATER (reopening in April)
1 Market Pl., Downtown
One of the few truly gourmet restaurants on the waterfront, this long-running seafooder near Seaport Village reopens in March after a lavish renovation that adds floor-to-ceiling windows and an expanded deck with fire pits.
CARNITA'S SNACK SHACK - EMBARCADERO (opening in early 2016)
1004 North Harbor Dr., Downtown
This little piggy really gets around, with location number three opening on the downtown waterfront this spring (existing locations are open in North Park and Del Mar). It's where slow-food-inspired, "pork-centric" fare meets fine wines and craft beers.
Little Italy braces for the spring reopening of the renovated Craft & Commerce, which, true to Consortium Holdings' gift for the arcane, will include a new "hidden" tiki bar. (Pssst: "Rum" may be the password.) craftcommerce.com
CUCINA SORELLA (opening in early 2016)
4055 Adams Ave., Kensington
Tracy Borkum reopens Kensington's former Fish Public this spring with a "neighborhood-focused" menu of handcrafted pastas et al designed by chef Joe Magnanelli of Borkum's growing chain of Cucina restos.
POP PIE CO. (opening in early 2016)
4404 Park Blvd., University Heights
"Eat Pie & Be Happy" will be words to live by starting this spring, when Steven Torres (co-owner) and Gan Suebsarakham's (co-owner and baker) creatively delicious and individual-sized "hand pies" launch a trend-perfect eatery in University Heights.
ET VOILA! (opening in early 2016)
3015 Adams Ave., North Park
Terrific news for North Parkers and everybody else who loves classic French fare, this beguiling charmer on Adams Avenue is headed by Tapenade graduates Ludo Misfud and Vincent Viale, superb talents who do everything right.
TASTING ROOM DEL MAR (opening in early 2016)
1435 Camino del Mar, Del Mar
With sustainable boutique wines and craft beers, artisan chow and a bull's-eye location in downtown Del Mar, this specialist in frequently changing, enjoy-on-site and retail-to-go good stuff pretty much has it all.
THE HAKE KITCHEN & BAR (opening in early 2016)
1250 Prospect St., Ste. B10, La Jolla
As part of the mammoth overhaul of La Jolla's landmark complex (which houses George's at the Cove and Donovan's), this Latin-inspired seafood spot will expand, and add a raw bar and outdoor seating. thehake.com
VIGILANTE BREWING CO. (opening in early 2016)
2201 San Dieguito Dr., Del Mar
Finally, Del Mar gets its very own brewery, in a former pottery store near the Fairgrounds. Owner/head brewer Charles Koll adds fizz to the biz with an indoor/outdoor bar, communal dining and a patio overlooking San Dieguito River Park.
CAMPFIRE (opening in mid-2016)
2725 State St., Carlsbad
The well-experienced John Resnick gifts downtown Carlsbad an inspired eatery and craft-cocktail destination. Located inside a handsomely transformed former auto repair shop, the custom-built wood-fired grills are dedicated to South American-style barbecue cuisine.
COIN HAUS (opening in mid-2016)
8361 Allison Ave., La Mesa
Adjacent to its popular BO-beau kitchen + garden, Cohn Restaurant Group's newest La Mesa venture will offer 50 self-serve taps pouring local brews and rare barrels in a "retro-game" arcade setting. The grub's next door at BO-beau.
WESTROOT TAVERN (opening in early 2016)
5965 Village Way., Ste. 106, Carmel Valley
Hyper-talented in the tavern trade, the Verant Group creates a casual, neighborhood-style joint in the upscale Village at Pacific Highlands. Details include 30 HDTVs, local craft beers, a chef-driven menu and music that promises to amplify life in Carmel Valley.
BARBUSA (opening in mid-2016)
1917 India St., Little Italy
Combine "bar" and "Busalacchi" to get Barbusa, second- generation restaurateurs Joey and PJ Busalacchi's reimagining of Little Italy's Po Pazzo as a hipster haunt with family-rooted "Modern Sicilian" cuisine.
THE GRILL AT TORREY PINES (reopening in June 2016)
11480 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla
Slated to reopen this summer after a complete remodel, the luxury hotel's casual dining room returns with chef Jeff Jackson's five-star Drugstore Hamburger, other excellent eats, fine service and amazing golf course views.
PLANT POWER FAST FOOD (opening in mid-to-late 2016)
411 Santa Fe Dr., Encinitas
New in OB and opening mid-to-late 2016 in Encinitas, this ambitious vegetarian spot specializes in speedy but custom fare like raw tortillas stuffed with walnut-pecan "taco meat," tasty wraps and homemade ice cream.
COLD BEERS & CHEESEBURGERS (opening in mid-2016)
322 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp
With more than 100 brewskis and mucho cheeseburger variations, this prime Gaslamp venue will answer many dudes' daily prayers when it opens late spring as the first of several San Diego County locations.
FIG TREE CAFE (opening in mid-2016)
1495 Pacific Hwy., Little Italy
Restaurant impresarios Johan Engman and Alberto Morreale will have nearly a grove of Fig Trees when they open No. 4 in Little Italy this summer. Expect unfussy, flavorful fare from breakfast through the day.
THE GRASS SKIRT (opening late 2016)
910 Grand Ave., Ste. 101, Pacific Beach
A new Tiki Bar concept by SDCM (Firehouse, Kettner Exchange, Vin de Syrah, Analog), will open on the former site of Good Time Charlie's in Pacific Beach. Expect high design, secret entrances and an adjoining fresh-fish joint called Good Time Poke. SDCM's corporate chef, Brian Redzikowski, will run the kitchen; Kettner Exhange's beverage director, Steven Tuttle, will oversee the cocktail menu.
LIBERTY PUBLIC MARKET
With ambitions to rival Pike Place Market in Seattle and the fabled food halls at Harrod's in London, this expansive, multi- vendor food emporium in the original building of Point Loma's former Naval Training Center is the brainchild of David Spatafore of Blue Bridge Hospitality and expected to open in March. Pack an appetite when heading over.
BUONA FORCHETTA (opening in March)
Will the lines follow Matteo Cattaneo from his South Park original to his new, much larger location? Probably, and not the least because BICE chef Mario Cassineri is contributing formal entrées to Cattaneo's irresistible pizzas.
MESS HALL (opening in March)
Blue Bridge chef Tim Kolanko envisions the restaurant centerpiece of Liberty Station as a "genuine market- to-table concept," since most menu ingredients will be sourced from the market's impressively varied vendors.
THE LOT (opening in mid-2016)
Liberty Station's original theater will be repurposed in June as a twin to La Jolla's The Lot, a nearly life-changing experience that shelters luxurious cinemas, fine dining and deluxe cocktails under one sophisticated roof.
FIRESIDE BY THE PATIO (opening in March)
Chef Antonio Friscia plans family-style and wood-grilled fare for this soon-to-open, neighborhood-centric eatery in Liberty Station's original firehouse. Gather around the fire pits to chow down and toast s'mores.
BREAKFAST REPUBLIC (opening in early 2016)
Another Johan Engman contribution to keep San Diego witty and wise, this lively, motto-driven place will pour cocktails all-day long to accompany all-American pancakes and a raft of clever, satisfying breakfast creations.
For more San Diego restaurant openings, click here.