Whisknladle Hospitality plans the space as both a quick-service dining hub for tech workers and a private events space
Over the past three years, food halls have opened all over San Diego County, serving both tourist areas and suburban neighborhoods. This week, another food hall opened in Sorrento Valley to serve a different market, the 130,000 weekday employees at 50 or so tech and startup companies in the area.
Park Commons, located in The Park development on Scranton Road, is a 10,000-square-foot food hall and special events center with five different quick-service restaurant concepts under one roof.
Park Commons was developed by Whisknladle Hospitality, which is led by managing partner Arturo Kassel. The San Diego-based restaurant company also owns the Whisknladle and Catania restaurants in La Jolla and Gravity Heights brewery/restaurant in Sorrento Mesa. Last year, Whisknladle sold off its trio of Prepkitchen restaurants in La Jolla, Del Mar and Little Italy to IAM Hospitality in Las Vegas.
At Park Commons, diners can order their meals onsite from cashless kiosks or order in advance through the hall’s website for either take-out or dine-in service. There is also a full-service late afternoon dining option in the main dining room, a full bar for afternoon happy hours, and a breakfast bar serving Dark Horse coffee and fresh pastries from Bread and Cie. The eatery seats up to 100, which will expand in January or February when a semi-covered patio opens on the hall’s north end.
Rather than leasing out the individual restaurant booths at Park Commons, Whisknladle is operating all five, maintaining the company’s ethos of making almost everything in-house, including the buttermilk-brined fried chicken, hummus and baked pita bread. There are Mexican, American and Middle Eastern options. All of the menu was developed by Whisknladle’s culinary director/partner Ryan Johnston.
El Parque Cocina Mexicana serves a variety of tacos priced from $4 to $4.50 with sides that start at $1.50. Fricken Burgers serves burgers and fried chicken sandwiches priced from $8 to $10.50 with sides starting at $2.50. Allspice Middle Eastern Cuisine serves falafel, kofta and souvlaki wraps and salads for $9 to $10. Best Dressed serves soups and entree salads priced from $6 to $12. And Dr. J’s Sandwiches & Stuff serves deli sandwiches priced from $7 to $10 with sides priced from $1.50 to $3.
The hall had a soft opening during the first week of November and business was brisk, according to Connor Walsh, event coordinator for Park Commons. So far, the top-selling items are the Korean-style spicy fried chicken sandwich at Fricken Chicken and the beef kofta wrap from Allspice. The official grand opening was on Monday.
Walsh said the goal with Park Commons is to offer a range of services to the companies in the area, serving breakfast and lunch, doing in-office catering and hosting private events in its 55-seat special event room. Once Park Commons gets its liquor license later this month, the hall will begin offering afternoon happy hours from 3 to 7 p.m. with wines by the glass from $7 to $8, Gravity Heights beers for $5 to $5.50 and cocktails priced at $9.
Walsh said the hope is that workers seeking to avoid rush-hour traffic will hang out at Park Commons in the late afternoons where they can get bar drinks as well as sit-down full-service food items, including loaded tater tots, nachos, burgers, wraps and tacos.
Park Commons is at 9645 Scranton Road, San Diego. Breakfast hours are 8-10 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. Visit: parkcommonssd.com/ .