By Frank Sabatini Jr.
The build-out is underway in a historic, 4,200-square-foot structure in Liberty Station for Moniker General, which will open in February as a modular retail store complete with a coffee bar spotlighting small-batch roasters, a taproom specializing in brews from North Brewing Company in Miramar and an outdoor patio. The project was launched by The Moniker Group, which introduced the multipurpose arts and business center, Moniker Warehouse, to the East Village 10 years ago. 2680 Sims Road, monikergroup.com.
Look for burrito-size sushi rolls fusing Asian and Mexican ingredients together by the middle of January, as former Project Pie exec James Markham opens Rolled Up in the heart of Hillcrest, in a space that has housed a number of fleeting, casual eateries over the past decade. The concept will reportedly serve as a pilot for other locations, judging on how well consumers respond to rolls containing everything from crispy beef and pulled pork to five-spice chicken and seasonal vegetables. 3884 Fourth Ave.
Replacing the former House of Khan in Hillcrest is Veganic Thai Café, which opened recently with standard Thai dishes, half of which are vegan and the other half vegetarian. The remodel stands out with colorful murals depicting Thai citizens dressed in ancient garb. 1417A University Ave. 619-230-5540.
Get your “third-wave” coffee drink at the new Hawthorn Coffee, which debuted Dec. 20 in North Park, operated by Kevin Redmond and son, Dylan. The aforementioned term translates to medium-roast coffees. “We’re lightening things up a bit and extracting as many flavors as possible,” Redmond said. “Some of the baristas we hired are familiar with the concept.” The shop, which features communal seating, sources from Flying Goat Coffee in North California and Foxy Coffee Co. in San Diego. 3019 Adams Ave. 619-501-4882.
Top of the Market revealed its first major facelift in the restaurant’s 26-year history upon reopening Dec. 17 after a fire in May closed it down. (The Fish Market downstairs had also shut down, but reopened in August.) The result was $2 million in damage repairs, which included everything from new furniture and wall coverings to fresh lighting and ceiling treatments. In addition, about 75 percent of the menu has been revised with the assistance of new sous chef Stafford Mather, who previously worked in kitchens owned by restaurateur Brian Malarkey.
Through Jan. 17, the restaurant will donate a portion of its proceeds to the San Diego Fire Rescue Foundation, which augments city funds for equipment.
“Given what we experienced, we are excited to support a cause for our first responders,” said Jim Wendler, president of Fish Market Restaurants. 750 N. Harbor Drive, 619-232-8862.
Come spring, look for a secluded tiki bar within Little Italy’s Craft & Commerce, which has been undergoing renovation and will reopen around the same time. Its upcoming Polynesian-inspired addition, named False Idol, brings in creative director Martin Cate, a rum aficionado who owns the lauded Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco. The hidden space will feature elements by tiki artist Bosko Hrnjak and designer Paul Basile. A menu to match the theme is in the works by newly appointed chef JoJo Ruiz. 675 W. Beech St., 619-269-2202.
Replacing Nicky Rotten’s in the Gaslamp Quarter is 1919, which its promoters are touting as “a different kind of neighborhood sports bar.” Due to open in February, it’s named after the year of the infamous “Black Sox Scandal,” when eight Chicago White Sox players who were up against the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series were caught intentionally losing games in exchange for money from gamblers. The concept will encompass classic American comfort dishes, creative cocktails, nostalgic design elements, and 25 high-definition flat screens. 560 Fifth Ave.
Saturday-night “fiestas” are being held weekly from 9 p.m. to midnight at Puesto in The Headquarters at Seaport. The new, ongoing promotion provides guests with one free taco with the purchase of a “Puesto perfect margarita.” It’s an unlimited deal that includes such tacos as chicken al pastor, zucchini and cactus, carnitas, and more. 789 W. Harbor Drive, 619-233-8880.
Through experimenting with fermentation, the new lead mixologist at The Westgate Hotel, Irving Gonzalez, has added novel twists to traditional Mexican drinks such as the tepache and pulque. Hailing from the avant-garde Hacienda Guadalupe in Ensenada, Mexico, he brings to the bar some of his native staples: tamarind, horchata water, and agave. Or if you want to talk beer with Gonzalez, you’re in good hands because he’s also a homebrewer. 1055 Second Ave., 619-238-1818.
A unique vegan restaurant flaunting a horned four-eyed wolf as its mascot has soft-opened in the space formerly occupied by Alchemy in South Park. Named Kindred, the venture was spearheaded by Kory Stetina, a self-described “metal-head and punk-rock dude of the ’90s” who got his feet wet running pop-up vegan beer dinners for a few years. The restaurant’s two other partners are acclaimed designer Paul Basile, and Arsalun Tafazoli, who separately operates a cache of local hotspots such as Soda & Swine, Polite Provisions and Noble Experiment under Consortium Holdings.
Basile helmed Kindred’s eclectic design, which meshes together Gothic and French-Victorian elements.
The concept features an ambitious cocktail program as well. Stetina sums up the food as “rich and creative.” The meals were created by head chef Jeremy Scullin, a native New Zealander who worked for acclaimed vegan restaurants in London, New York and Philadelphia. But the word “vegan” doesn’t appear anywhere on the menu.
“It’s because we want to destroy the stereotype that plant-based food is somehow less or different than non-vegan food,” said Stetina, referring in part to the chef’s “big, crushing sandwiches, baked pistachio-crusted tofu, and miso-cashew cheese balls that appear on a charcuterie board.
Kindred is open daily from 4 p.m. to midnight. Weekend brunch will be introduced in early January. 1503 30th St. 619-546-9653.
Adam Parker of Brabant Bar & Café in South Park closed his Belgian-inspired eatery on Dec. 30. Parker opened the business two years ago with a few partners, some of whom are pursuing other business interests. He said the address will be taken over by K&L Neighborhood Eateries, which hasn’t yet announced its plans for the space. 2310 30th St., 619-516-5100.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.