If the economy's hurting, local restaurateurs must not know about it. Collectively, they're expanding America's Finest restaurant repertoire, opening more new eateries, bars and lounges than at any time in the last half-decade. Soup's (and a whole lot more's) on.
barleymash & ginger's
Whiskey Girl sauntered a block north last month, making way for Verant Group (Brewley's Pint, Offshore Tavern, Sandbar Sports Grill, Tavern at the Beach, True North Tavern, West Coast Tavern) to install not one, but two new concepts at the intersection of Fifth and Market, Downtown. barleymash, a resto by day and entertainment venue (live music, DJs) by night, is devoted to all things barley: beer, bread and bourbon. Downstairs, a metro-sensual martini bar called ginger's promises to be a sophisticated escape from the frenetic Fifth Avenue bustle. The two- in-one venue is set to open in March.
1005 Rosecrans St., Point Loma
Chef-turned-restaurant mogul Brian Malarkey (Searsucker, Burlap, Gingham) is re-stitching the fabric of the San Diego dining scene, one 'hood at a time. Fresh off his conquest of La Mesa via his beefy, beery new restaurant, Gingham, he's set his sights on Point Loma for his next eatery, Gabardine. Former Sea Rocket Bistro chef Chad White will command a shipshape crew in rolling out a ?eet of seafood delicacies.
346 Sixth Ave., Gaslamp
The coal-?red pizza at BASIC in East Village and URBN in North Park earned restaurateur Jon Mangini a piece of the local restaurant pie. Now he's using his noodle to bring a totally new concept to life. Enter East Village's Far East-inspired Gang Kitchen (opening this summer), a steely, touched-up warehouse design akin to his initial venues. Artsy graf?ti-esque décor will set the tone for a panoply of traditional ?avors from various Asian cultures-including pho (soup), rangoons (dumplings) and Shanghai beef-plus a variety of sakes and themed specialty cocktails.
Lucky's Lunch Counter
The expansive Culy Warehouse by Petco Park is getting an extreme makeover. A project by Ty Hauter, and produced by his company, Good Time Design (co-owner and managing partner of 1st Street Bar, Bootlegger, Bub's at the Ballpark, Double Deuce, Knotty Barrel, RT's Longboard Grill and The Tipsy Crow), the new hospitality mega-plex will feature three venues under one roof.
Lucky's Lunch Counter will serve over-stuffed deli and giant pork tenderloin sandwiches, extreme salads, gourmet hotdogs and hearty soups. A larger chunk of the overall square-footage will become the new Culy Warehouse event space. And the big daddy of the trio is Block No. 16 Union & Spirits, a multi-level entertainment venue (with a 35-by-25' LED wall larger than the Jumbotron at Petco) intended to rival Southern California's premier nightclubs and concert halls. The entire project, set to open in May, will hold up to 2,100 people at a time.
Puesto Mexican Street Food
1026 Wall St., La Jolla
Tijuana meets La Jolla at Puesto Mexican Street Food, the Village's new fast-casual, slow-food eatery, offering a heightened and authentic south-of-the-border experience.
Beginning February 10, all-natural ingredients will be the foundation for tacos and other traditional indulgences, boosted by house-made salsas and modern design.
Raglan Public House
PJ Lamont and Matt Baker, co-owners of Bare Back Grill in Paci?c Beach and Downtown, are taking a variation of their successful, 100 percent organic beef burger-centric concept to Ocean Beach. Named after the New Zealand beach town of Raglan, Raglan Public House is slated to open early February, giving Obecians a casual gathering place for "bloody good" food and craft beers as they're served in the Kiwi motherland.