New Restaurant Don Chido Opens This May - Bringing Handcrafted Mexican Cuisine to Downtown San Diego

March 6, 2014

RMD Group, the development and management team behind recognized venues including FLUXX and Side Bar, along with Ken Lovi, founder and CEO of Knotty Barrel Gastropub, and Chef / Partner Antonio Friscia (of Stingaree and formerly Gaijin), announced the May opening of Don Chido, an authentic, stylish Mexican eatery taking over the former Fred's Mexican space in the heart of San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.  Together, RMD Group, Ken Lovi and renown San Diego chef, Antonio Friscia, create a powerhouse team that will surely elevate the social dining scene in downtown San Diego with their new venue.
“The launch of Don Chido will mark RMD’s formal expansion into the culinary scene,” said Michael Georgopoulos, RMD Group partner. “RMD’s trademark eye-catching designs, excellent service and experience in the entertainment industry, combined with Ken’s strong commitment to delivering excellent food, will create a unique and incomparable dining experience in San Diego.”

The Don Chido menu will showcase regionally influenced, handcrafted Mexican cooking that will feature locally sourced and quality fresh ingredients.  Behind the scenes, the centerpiece of the kitchen will be an authentic Santa Maria Argentine Grill—designed to cook mouth-watering, wood-fired meats with precise temperature control to achieve uniformly cooked ingredients.

Highlights from the menu include:

  •     Smoked Shrimp Cockteles, featuring smoked Mexican shrimp, cucumber, diced tomatillo, white onion, jugo de tomate, lime and cilantro
  •     Tacos Al Pastor with fire roasted pineapple and achiote marinated pork shoulder  
  •     Queso Fundido, made with oaxaca and jack cheese fundido, garlic bagna, roasted peppers and spicy chorizo, and served with tortilla chips
  •     Hongos al Horno, featuring smoked spicy mushrooms, salsa negra, epazote, local corn and añejo cheese
  •     Market Greens with rainbow chard, kale and mustard greens, crow’s pass potatoes, wood-fire onions, añejo cheese and a guajillo chile sauce
  •     Enchiladas de Mole, featuring house-made corn tortillas, chicken mole, soffritto rice, and garnished with cotija cheese, lime, shredded lettuce, radish and creme
  •     DON Chido Especiale—a wood fire-grilled ribeye steak with ancho chili garlic butter, chipotle lime wild Mexican shrimp, charred house-made chorizo, frijoles refrittos, avocado, chile rejeno, house-made corn tortillas, charred globe onions and garnished with red guajillo sauce
Further complementing the locally inspired dishes, Don Chido will feature a wine list tailored to showcase a rustic selection of local wines and unique varietals from Mexico and Spain. Cocktails will focus on showcasing a wide and progressive variety of infused tequilas, and regional mescals.

“Don Chido will combine classic, home-style Mexican cuisine with a stylishly diverse and electric atmosphere, to deliver a distinctive lunch, dinner and late-night dining experience,” said Don Chido partner and leading hospitality entrepreneur, Ken Lovi.  “We’re excited to bring this authentic experience to the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter and have no doubt that Don Chido will quickly become a must-visit spot for locals and visitors alike.”

The Don Chido space represents a complete transformation of the previous Fred’s Mexican Café. Designed by the visionary and nationally acclaimed interior design team at Davis Ink Ltd., the 4,000 square-feet space will feature found organic and raw materials including reclaimed wood, exposed steel and stone, combined with eye-catching features such as custom maraca wall sconces, star chandeliers and an art wall made entirely from Mexican blankets—creating a comfortable, casual and yet entirely unexpected experience for guests. The center bar will also showcase a Taquería stand where house-made tortillas will be freshly prepared. The Taquería will remain open for late-night tacos with the lounge serving a limited menu. OCIO Design Group has also been hired on as the architect alongside RMD Development—RMD Group’s construction division.

Next up for the RMD Group and Ken Lovi is the redesign of the former Marble Room space, with a new venue set to open later this summer. 

Don Chido will serve lunch and dinner daily from 11am to close in the restaurant and patio, and a late-night menu in the lounge. Don Chido is located at 527 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101. Connect with Don Chido on Facebook at, and follow Don Chido on Twiter @DonChidoSD and Instagram @DonChidoSD.