Stella Public House and Halcyon Open in San Diego’s East Village

Photo by Sam Wells
December 17, 2014

San Diego's East Village has welcomed two tested and celebrated culinary concepts to the neighborhood. The modern coffeehouse and cocktail lounge, Halcyon, and its sister restaurant, the local ingredient driven, wood-fired pizza eatery and craft beer tap room, Stella Public House, have opened their doors to the public just in time for the holidays. Located at 1429 Island Avenue, the unique food and drink establishments share a gorgeous 3,000 square foot indoor/outdoor space and a 1,500 square foot patio overlooking downtown’s newest, as-yet-unnamed public park. Stella Public House and Halcyon, which debuted in tandem to rave reviews in San Antonio, Texas last year, now arrive in San Diego under the guidance of the Austin-based investment group Zebo.

First opened in downtown Austin, Texas over a decade ago, Halcyon cleverly combines the comfort and convenience of a chic coffeehouse by day with a laid back bar and lounge atmosphere by night. Stella Public House (or 'Stella’), which first opened its doors to San Antonio’s hip Southtown neighborhood in the spring of 2013 - beside an Alamo City Halcyon location - is known for its artisan wood-fired pizzas featuring seasonal ingredients and a rotating selection of craft beer and wine. Italian for 'star', Stella was named both “Best New Restaurant” and "Best Bar" by San Antonio Magazine.

The San Diego Stella Public House and Halcyon locations feature airy, modern interiors highlighted by a sleek, light industrial aesthetic incorporating salvaged materials, distressed brick, simple metal fittings and natural lighting. The shared, yet separate space, showcases giant roll up garage doors that allow patrons to enjoy the beautiful Southern California weather while enjoying Halcyon’s signature espresso-based concoctions such as the Chocolate Espresso Martini ($11) or Long Island Iced Coffee ($9) and Stella’s award-winning signature small plates like Wild Mushroom Mac & Cheese ($10) and Lamb Meatballs ($10).

Sporting a beautiful wood wraparound bar and retro furniture, Halcyon provides comfortable furniture arrangements and a wealth of outlets, making it the perfect place to get work done away from the office. Serving a mix of hot coffee drinks, teas, shakes, smoothies, artisan sodas and cocktails, this bright, sunny space opens early and closes late.

Breakfast is served each morning beginning at 6:30am with espresso drinks pulled by baristas using Halcyon’s state of the art La Marzocco Stradaespresso machines, and comfort food favorites such as its house-made Fritatta ($8), a warming blend of egg, flash fried zucchini and parmesan cheese served with fresh greens; Steel-cut Oatmeal ($6) served with honey, raisins, brown sugar & toasted walnuts and Avocado Smooshed Toast ($7) with avocado on house-made bread topped with chili flakes, onion and tomato. Early morning items are available all day, joining a wide variety of lunch and dinner sandwiches, salads and snack selections, served until 1:30am alongside desserts including tableside-roasted S’Mores (for two or four; $6 / $9). Happy Hour at Halcyon runs daily from 3-7pm and features discounted small plates, $4 featured beers, $5 well drinks and $6 Halcyon Cosmos (Stoli Citros vodka, cranberry, fresh lime juice and champagne) and Hot Apple Toddies. View Halcyon’s full menus for both food and drink.

Stella Public House delivers the combination of rustic charm and urban sensibility. The restaurant’s oak and pecan wood-fired Forno Bravo oven heats up each evening at 5pm as doors open and breezes catch the scent of artisan, farm-to-table pizza. Featuring a Neapolitan-inspired crust, firm blistered edge and chewy interior, Stella’s pizzas are formed from a hand-tossed, 100-year-old starter dough that originated from Naples, Italy. The seasonal pizzas showcase produce from local farms and organic San Marzano tomatoes grown in California by Chris Bianco - owner of Phoenix’s Pizzeria Bianco, widely hailed as the country’s best.

Highlights of Stella’s pizza menu include the Margherita ($13), a savory combination of house-made mozzarella, organic tomatoes and fresh picked basil; Quattro ($16), featuring gorgonzola dolce, Parmigiano Reggiano, ricotta and house-made mozzarella with a fig-balsamic reduction and local watercress; Spicy Italian Fennel Sausage ($15), made with house-made sausage and mozzarella, and Calabrian chilies; Meatball ($16), topped with house-made lamb meatballs and mozzarella, caramelized onions and fresh basil and Wild Mushroom ($16), generously covered in local mushrooms, wood oven-roasted onions, Parmesan, smoked Gouda and mozzarella. Stella Public House’s seasonal menu also includes a variety of starters and salads featuring local produce and dessert options include an award-winning Panna Cotta ($9), with seasonal berries marinated in champagne and a “must have” Tiramisu ($9). Stella is open nightly until 12am. Check out the restaurant's full menu online.

In addition to an impressive array of 30 rotating craft beer taps from both California and national craft brewers and an internationally-curated wine list, Stella Public House’s specialty drink selections include unique, seasonal beer cocktails. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 5 to 7pm, featuring $4 featured bottles and drafts and discounted appetizer plates, wines and wells.

“We are very excited and proud to add San Diego to the list of outstanding cities that Halcyon and Stella Public House call home,” said Zebo partner and San Diego resident, John Long. “We are now more convinced than ever that San Diego is ready for the kind of unique food, beverage and community-driven experiences that Stella and Halcyon bring.”

Visit and to learn more, and be sure to stop by and see for yourself.