Patio restaurants expanding their brand to North County

San Diego’s popular Patio restaurant group is branching out into North County with a planned opening in Encinitas next month.

The Patio on 101, as it is being called, will take the place of the recently closed Open House Food + Drink, which debuted just a year ago.

The Open House location, on South Coast Highway 101, had 2,800 square feet of outdoor space, an ideal fit for the Patio Group, known for its ample patio dining at its Pacific Beach, Mission Hills and Liberty Station locations.

Paul Ahern, the broker handling the sale of Open House, reached out to Patio Group CEO Gina Champion-Cain knowing of the restaurant’s signature outdoor dining, said Hilary Rossi, senior vice president of food and beverage.

“We came down on a Monday and Gina had been wanting to move one of the Patio brands into North County,” recalled Rossi. “The space seemed perfect for the Patio brand. We’ll do little tweaks to make it look like our other restaurants, and I’m going to add some elements of the ocean with more blues, and the decor will reflect the charm of Encinitas.”

Other features of the restaurant include an outdoor lounge and kids play area. One of the two bars inside will be named in honor of the late Joey Himmelberg, who was a very close friend of Champion-Cain.

The Patio Group acquired the Open House business and liquor license for an undisclosed price but will be spending about $200,000 on decor changes, new furnishings and a security system, Rossi said.

The menu will be similar to the other Patio restaurants, although there may be some seafood dishes unique to the Encinitas venue.

Wade Hageman, who owned Open House with his wife Kristi, said they spent about $1 million to open the ambitious eatery. It was an amalgam of multiple concepts, including an Asian restaurant, two bars and an all-day brunch venue that also featured burgers.

“I think that anytime you try a new concept you’re taking a chance no matter where you are,” said Hageman, who currently operates Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria and The Craftsman New American Tavern, both in Encinitas. The Hagemans also opened a pasta-centric restaurant in 2013 that closed after a little more than a year.

“My entire career has been doing my best to push the boundaries of food and what our idea of a restaurant can be,” he said. We have amazing customers and we are thankful for each and every one of them. It is a sad day for us as Open House just didn’t work out the way we had hoped.”

Ahern of Next Wave Commercial said Open House did fairly good business when it first opened but with the challenge of operating multiple concepts within the one restaurant it became difficult to build the momentum needed to sustain the operation.

The Patio Group is also in expansion mode with its Surfrider Pizza concept, which Rossi originated in 2010 in Ocean Beach before joining the Patio Group a few years ago. Opening this summer will be new locations in Mission Beach and Crown Point and in the fall, a third will open in La Mesa.

Other Patio Group venues include Saska’s Steakhouse and Harvest by the Patio.


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Twitter: @loriweisberg