George’s team opens Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill & Oysters in La Jolla Shores
Chef-owner Trey Foshee says new eatery is a better fit for the times than the previous concept, Galaxy Cantina
Seven months after closing their upscale taqueria Galaxy Cantina & Grill in La Jolla Shores, owners George Hauer and chef Trey Foshee have revamped the space into a new concept that they believe will be a better fit for today’s economy.
Sandpiper Wood Fired Grill & Oysters opened in early June in the former Galaxy space at 2259 Avenida De La Playa. Sandpiper is a full-service, moderately priced restaurant that specializes in grilled meats, fresh oysters and an international selection of wines and Champagnes.
Executive chef Foshee — who with Hauer also owns George’s at the Cove restaurants in downtown La Jolla — said that the high cost of labor and ingredients made it economically unviable for Galaxy, which opened in 2015 and closed last November.
Even though everything was made from scratch with high-end meats and seafood at Galaxy, the concept was a hard sell with San Diegans, who are accustomed to cheap and plentiful Mexican food. Galaxy was one of a handful of local upscale Mexican restaurants — including El Jardín and Bracero Cocina de Raíz — that have have closed in recent years.
“We were and are really proud of what Galaxy was able to accomplish,” Foshee said. “It outlived a lot of high-end Mexican restaurants that opened during that time, and we sold a lot of masa to some of those places. We had a good run, and we had a lot of supporters. But it’s just the economics of the restaurant industry have changed, and they continue to change to the point that the level of lower-priced, full-service restaurants are going to have a hard time.”
Foshee said the solution for revamping the La Jolla Shores spaces wasn’t to downscale to a quick-service model because there are plenty of those restaurants in the area, and they had the room to do full sit-down service in the Galaxy space. Instead, Foshee said he and chef Christine Rivera came up with a mid-priced menu built around the kitchen facilities they have there and the styles of cuisine that weren’t available in the La Jolla Shores area.
After surveying the culinary scene, Foshee found there weren’t any restaurants in the vicinity that specialized in fresh oyster service. The space also has a Santa Maria-style grill which could be used for grilling beef, pork, seafood, chicken and vegetables over fragrant red oak. There are also a couple of Galaxy dishes that were so popular with guests that they’ve joined the Sandpiper menu. And George’s at the Cove pastry chef Aly Lyng has created several homestyle desserts for Sandpiper that include banana pudding, seasonal pie and a brownie sundae.
“It’s like an amalgam of what I was feeling was needed in the neighborhood,” he said.
Hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays, with prime rib nights on Fridays and Saturdays. Weekend brunch service will be introduced on July 16. Some of the brunch specialties Foshee is considering are skillet corn cake, Taiwanese oyster omelets and prime rib California burrito.
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