Popular restaurant brands expanding into a neighborhood near you in 2019


San Diego has attracted a number of nationally known chain restaurants in the past couple of years, but the centralized eateries were a long drive from the northern, eastern and southern parts of the county. This year, popular brands like Donut Bar, Shake Shack, Salt & Straw and Mendocino Farms will expand into new locations countywide. Here’s a look at what’s coming to a neighborhood near you in 2019.

Blue Bottle Coffee, Carmel Valley and Downtown

The popular Bay Area coffee roaster opens its first two San Diego County cafes this year, beginning with a spring opening at the One Paseo project in Carmel Valley and a second spot in downtown San Diego in late 2019. Blue Bottle will serve the company’s sustainably sourced and house-roasted coffees as well as gourmet pastries. It also offers continuous coffee education classes. 12265 El Camino Real, Carmel Valley. Tower 180, 124 W. Broadway, San Diego.

Bobboi Natural Gelato co-owner Marco Saba in the company's first store in La Jolla. A second store will open this winter in Little Italy.
(Alejandro Tamayo / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Bobboi Natural Gelato, Little Italy

Most San Diego gelato fans call La Jolla’s 5-year-old Bobboi the best gelateria in San Diego County. Owner Andrea Racca and his wife, gelato chef Monica Maccioni, base their daily flavors on whatever’s in season. The La Jolla-based business will open its second shop in February or March in the AV8 mixed-use development in Little Italy. 2155 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy.

Breakfast Republic, Mission Valley

In May, San Diego’s Rise & Shine Restaurant Group will open the eighth location of its 4-year-old innovative breakfast eatery chain. Replacing the current Panda Express location in Mission Valley, the 2,436-square-foot restaurant will serve morning dishes like Oreo cookie pancakes and breakfast hot dogs. 1570 Camino de la Reina, Mission Valley.

The Butchery, Carmel Valley

Orange County’s high-end meat and cheese market will open its first San Diego County location in the spring at the One Paseo project in Carmel Valley. The shop will sell dry-aged and Wagyu beef, all-natural pork, cheeses and charcuterie, house sausage, house-marinated meats and exotic proteins like venison and bison, as well as beer and wine. 12265 El Camino Real, Carmel Valley.

Carmelita’s Kitchen, East Village

The first San Diego location of this ultra-popular Orange County Mexican restaurant will open in March in the new Park 12 mixed-use community near Petco Park. The top-rated restaurant, with locations in Rancho Santa Margarita and Laguna Beach, serves seasonal authentic Mexican food and is known for its combination plates. 100 Park Plaza, East Village.

Cava, Carmel Valley

Based in Washington, D.C., this 8-year-old fast-casual Greek-Mediterranean restaurant company opened its first San Diego County location in Encinitas in October. A second location will open this spring in Carmel Valley’s One Paseo project. At Cava, diners can build their own salads, bowls and wraps in Chipotle style, layering on their choice of more than 50 items, including flavored hummus spreads and dips, roasted vegetables, proteins and dressings on a bed of grains or rice, salad or pita. 3722 Paseo Place, Suite 1440, Carmel Valley.

Donut Bar, Pacific Beach, Oceanside and Eastlake

Founded in downtown San Diego five years ago by chef Santiago Campa and partner Wendy Bartels, this ultra-popular doughnut company is in fast expansion mode with 12 new stores planned in 2019, including three local shops opening this year. 1380 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach; 2221 S. El Camino Real, Oceanside; and 872 Eastlake Parkway, #412, Chula Vista.

Farmer’s Table, Little Italy

Farmer’s Table, the rustic Italian restaurant company founded in La Mesa in 2017 by Alberto Morreale and Vincenzo Lo Verso, will open its third location this month in Little Italy’s Piazza della Famiglia. The restaurants serve updated versions of Sicilian-style housemade pastas and Neopolitan-style pizzas baked in a Stefano Ferrara oven imported from Italy. 550 W. Date St., Suite A, Little Italy.

Holy Matcha, East Village

Geraldine Ridaura opened the first location of this Asian-inspired healthy café and matcha green tea room in North Park in 2017. She will open her second location early this year in an as-yet-undisclosed East Village location.

Javier’s Cantina, Westfield UTC

Founded in Laguna Beach in 1995, Javier’s serves elevated Mexican cuisine and a vast selection of tequilas in luxurious surroundings. Traditional and contemporary Mexican dishes are prepared with prime Nebraskan Angus beef, Mexican prawns, Maine lobster, Dungeness crab and natural chicken. The location is slated to open this month. 4545 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla.

Liberty Call Distilling Kitchen, Barrio Logan

The Spring Valley-based maker of small-batch whisky, bourbon and gin will open its second location this spring in Barrio Logan. The 4,300-square-foot venue will include a working distillery separated by glass partition from the quick-service indoor/outdoor restaurant where former Red Door chef Miguel Valdez will turn out California tapas dishes like rum-pickled strawberry salad, smoked glazed lamb and a whisky burger. 1985 National Ave., Barrio Logan.

Mendocino Farms, Carlsbad

Owned by the L.A. husband-and-wife duo of Mario Del Pero and Ellen Chen, this gourmet sandwich shop will open its third San Diego location this spring in the new the Square at Bressi Ranch shopping center. The restaurants are known for their farm-to-table artisan cheeses, breads, meats and other ingredients. 2674 Gateway Road, Suite 185, Carlsbad.

North Italia, Carmel Valley

This spring at One Paseo, Phoenix-based Fox Restaurant Concepts opens its second San Diego County branch of this modern Italian restaurant chain, which has 15 locations nationwide. The menu features antipasti, pizzas, entrée salads, seafood, steaks and grilled breads. 12265 El Camino Real, Carmel Valley.

Parakeet Café, Little Italy and Carmel Valley

The La Jolla-based healthy foods café will open two new locations in the spring. Parakeet’s menu includes quinoa mezze bowls, mushroom matcha and organic green scrambled eggs. 1680 India St., Little Italy; and 3387 Del Mar Heights Road, Carmel Valley.

Richard Walker’s Pancake House, Carlsbad

For 70 years, the Walker family has been serving gourmet breakfast, brunch and lunch at a handful of locations nationwide, including San Diego since 2006 and La Jolla since 2014. Its first North County location will open in February in Bressi Ranch. Everything on the 100-item menu is made from scratch daily. 2656 Gateway Road, Carlsbad.

Salt & Straw, Carmel Valley

Portland’s ultra-popular, ultra-premium ice cream chain will open its second San Diego County location in the spring at the One Paseo project in Carmel Valley. Founded in 2011 by cousins Kim and Tyler Malek, it’s known for its unusual and often locally inspired ice cream flavors, which change monthly. 12265 El Camino Real, Carmel Valley.

Shake Shack, Little Italy and Carmel Valley

New York’s beloved quick-service burger chain opens its third and fourth San Diego County location this year. The Shack is best known for its melt-in-your-mouth burgers (served on butter-crisped potato buns), crinkle-cut fries and hand-spun milkshakes. First up this spring is a location at the One Paseo project at 12265 El Camino Real, Carmel Valley. Another location is planned at 2008 India St., Little Italy.

Texas De Brazil, Carlsbad

This Dallas-based Brazilian-style churrascaria will open its first San Diego County location early this year in The Shoppes at Carlsbad mall. The 20-year-old hain’s restaurants serve all-you-can-eat grilled and roasted meats served tableside. The Shoppes at Carlsbad, 2525 El Camino Real, Carlsbad.

Tocaya Organica, UTC and Carmel Valley

This 2-year-old L.A.-based organic Mexican restaurant chain opened its first San Diego location last summer in the Gaslamp Quarter. A second will open early this year at Westfield UTC and a third at the One Paseo project in Carmel Valley later in the year. The menu is a vegan-forward creative twist on Mexican, uses all organic, locally sourced ingredients for its salads, tacos, bowls and burritos. Non-vegans can dress up their dishes with grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and fresh fish. Tocaya serves house-made aguas frescas, as well as margaritas, beer and wine. 4545 La Jolla Village Drive, Ste. 2003, La Jolla; and 12265 El Camino Real, Carmel Valley.

Wokcano, Carlsbad

The L.A.-based chain will open its first San Diego location early this year in The Shoppes at Carlsbad mall. The Asian fusion restaurant offers a contemporary take on Japanese and Chinese cuisine, including sushi, sashimi, noodle dishes and Asian-inspired cocktails. The Shoppes at Carlsbad, 2525 El Camino Real, Carlsbad. Twitter: @pamkragen