Celebrity-led International Smoke restaurant closes doors in Carmel Valley

Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry snip the ribbon on the International Smoke Del Mar restaurant in 2019.
Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry snip the ribbon on their International Smoke Del Mar restaurant, which opened in July 2019 and closed on Feb. 17, 2022.

The Michael Mina-Ayesha Curry restaurant shuttered due to pandemic-related losses


Less than three years after it opened as a high-profile anchor restaurant in the One Paseo shopping center in Carmel Valley, International Smoke Del Mar permanently closed its doors on Thursday.

In a brief statement, the restaurant’s parent company, MINA Group, said that the pandemic was the cause for the closure of the 6,200-square-foot, 228-seat Carmel Valley restaurant. But the company hopes to return to San Diego with a different concept.

Founded by Michelin-starred San Francisco chef Michael Mina and celebrity cookbook author Ayesha Curry, International Smoke is a globally inspired, upscale woodfire barbecue restaurant chain. Its remaining locations are in San Francisco and Las Vegas. A Houston location closed in December 2019 after one year in business.

The Truffle Whipped Potatoes from International Smoke.
The Truffle Whipped Potatoes from International Smoke.
(Courtesy of The MINA Group)

“Since the outset of the pandemic, business has been down significantly, and it truly saddens the team to make the difficult decision to close doors. MINA Group does, however, remain involved in the market and will continue to seek out opportunities to find another home for a concept to return to San Diego in the future,” the company said in a statement.

MINA Group temporarily closed all of its locations in March 2020 when the pandemic arrived. It switched to takeout-only service, offering limited items from its regular menu along with two ghost kitchen concepts: Tokyo Hot Chicken and Bourbon Burger Bar. In February 2021, the local location reopened its patio for dining and began offering happy hour and other specials. But the restaurant was never able to regain the momentum it had built before the pandemic.

Mina and Curry, who is married to NBA superstar Steph Curry, told the Union-Tribune in a 2019 conference call that they met in 2015 through a mutual friend and determined they had a mutual love for barbecue and global cuisine. International Smoke started out as a pop-up concept and expanded into restaurants a few years later. The menu features a mix of American, Middle Eastern and Asian dishes.

International Smoke was located at 3387 Del Mar Heights Road, Building 1, San Diego.