Ono Grinds Hawaiian says aloha to LPM, along with Liberty Chik, Latin Chef and more
Change is once again coming to Liberty Public Market. If it feels like you can’t tell the LPM players without a scorecard (we’ll miss you Fishbone Kitchen!), here’s an update on the market’s line-up.
Liberty Chik, August 2019: There’s nothing hipper in the food world these days than Nashville hot chicken and the market has landed its own concept called Liberty Chik. Debuting as a soft launch on Aug. 24, it will hold its grand opening Saturday, Aug. 31 in the space that once held Roma Express (next to RakiRaki). Liberty Chik will sell fried and spicy Nashville hot chicken by the piece, in a sandwich and with waffles. It’ll come in heat levels of mild, medium, hot and Smokin Hot. Sides include mac ‘n’ cheese, cheese fries, Tennessee mustard slaw and — hot dang! — bonuts, or biscuit doughnuts. The stand is owned by Alfredo DiNunzio Jr., who also owned Roma Express and the market’s Liberty Meat Shop, which is now called Roma Express Italian Deli. The deli sells cold sandwiches and hot sandwiches, like the meat shop did, but now also folds in Roma Express’ offering of Italian cookies, cannoli, arancini and Italian sodas.
Ono Grinds Hawaiian, October 2019: Move over Scooped by MooTime and Crafted, it’s island time. The market’s expansive, open bakery and ice cream stand has been shrunk down to just retail space to make room for a new neighbor. Taking over the bakery’s kitchen/prep area will be the second location of North Park’s Chris’ Ono Grinds Island Grill. The popular Hawaiian eatery will serve traditional island fare including ahi poke, grilled, marinated huli huli chicken, Chinese barbecue char sui pork, slow-cooked kalua pork and, of course, macaroni salad. Dessert will feature haupia, a thick coconut pudding round atop a macadamia cookie crust that’s drizzled with a syrup made from mango and guava. Ono Grinds is expected to open in October. A market spokeswoman said demand for Crafted’s pastries had outgrown the existing Liberty Public Market space, so pastry production was moved to an off-site kitchen. The re-constructed Crafted and Scooped by MooTime now only offers ice cream and cookies, versus the cakes, pies, tarts and more, that it used to sell. The sweet shop is owned by Blue Bridge Hospitality, which runs the market, as well as such Coronado restaurants as Little Frenchie, Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge and Stake Chophouse & Bar.
Latin Chef, offering Peruvian-Brazilian cuisine, in the tucked-away space once occupied by Mezé Greek Fusion. The alfajores (dulce de leche sandwich cookies) are enticingly rustic and homemade, but the stand could use better signage to entice more people in.
Landini’s Pizzeria, in the Mess Hall, across from the bar, for fresh New York-style pizza by the slice. It’s an offshoot of the Little Italy pizzeria in business since 2009.
BOPJO Seoul In A Bowl ... Or Tortilla!, on the other side of Landini’s, has the most interesting name of any market tenant, and maybe the most compelling origin story. The Korean barbecue meets Mexico mash-up is the product of two Korean-American former military medics — James Kim (Army) and Alex Lee (Navy) — turned head chefs. The duo combines their mothers’ traditional Korean recipes — bopjo translates to feed me — and their love of Mexican food. That means bulgogi beef tacos and kimchi quesadillas and kimchi fried rice burritos.
Bao Bar, a boba drink and bao bun concept from the owner of the market’s rightly popular stand Mama Made Thai. Next to Howalistic in the pint-sized area that housed the San Diego-centric food products shop retail Pacific Provisions. The $4 pork buns, with crispy garlic, pack a lot of flavor and texture into a little bao.