What’s New: Great Maple


“Like a Bergdorf Goodman lunch, a Parisian Champagne sunset...not a dump Denny’s,” that’s Johnny Rivera discussing the soon-to-open Great Maple.

His new restaurant’s soft opening is this Wednesday evening-the Great Maple dinner has elaborate-sounding $14 sandwiches like German-style bratwurst with sauerkraut and smashed potatoes on a pretzel bun.

There are salads (lardon and frisee; Fuyu persimmons), moule-frites, flatbreads with fennel sausage, Moroccan-spiced lamb burgers, truffle fries and more.

You’ll find Great Maple on a concrete island at Washington St. and Cleveland Ave. - look for palm trees and lanky signage with Rat Pack-reminiscent gold baubles.

And what’s under its A-frame ceiling, and on its patio, looks warmly desert-city retro (Eames-inspired chairs; a cyan blue that time traveled to the restaurant’s walls; vintage Marshall amp covers; gold booths inside; banquettes with Redwood benches on a patio that says “1970s Palm Springs”).

Rivera’s calling his restaurant a “European dinette.”

“It’s more feminine than a diner.”

What comes from Great Maple’s kitchen rides the wave of in-season ingredients, baked in-house goods and free-range proteins that status restaurants flaunt. “Libations, seasonal plates, pie” is the restaurant’s tagline.

Yes, there’ll be morning pancakes (salted caramel; buttermilk; bacon chocolate; pork sausage wrapped in a flapjack). And the breakfast menu is touting unique ways to get your carbs: melted brie pots with cinnamon candied apples and grilled baguettes; maple-bacon doughnuts; English popovers with poached eggs, smoked brisket, asparagus and hollandaise; egg scrambles with oysters and bacon.

So you don’t freak out there are waffles...with whipped cream, “farm butter” and maple syrup.

Lunch, which picks up this Thursday, looks like a bridge between the other two menus.

Great Maple sprang from the mind of San Diego’s Rivera, co-owner of the famed big-plate Americana Hash House A Go Go franchise, and Hillcrest’s home of game meat grub, the Tractor Room.

Rivera delivered his first Great Maple to Newport Beach, and says this new incarnation in Hillcrest is “like version 10” of that concept--improved upon, tweaked, expanded from lunch and dinner to include breakfast, and built on the ashes of two historic diners (Brians’ American Eatery; Topsy’s).

Read Keli Dailey’s full story and more on

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Source: DiscoverSD