Rustic Root Set To Open On May 8 | Gaslamp Quarter’s Only Dedicated Rooftop Restaurant To Premier In Former Marble Room Location

Photo by Bradley Schweit
May 7, 2015

RMD Group, the development and management team behind recognized venues including FLUXX, along with Ken Lovi, founder and CEO of Knotty Barrel Gastropub, and Executive Chef/Partner Antonio Friscia have announced that Rustic Root will open in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter at the former Marble Room location on Friday, May 8. Following the successful opening of their first venture, Don Chido, which opened in June 2014, Rustic Root is set to become the Gaslamp Quarter’s only dedicated rooftop restaurant.

“Rustic Root marks our second restaurant venture in Downtown San Diego, and it is important to us that we continue to showcase both our culinary creativity and conceptual range,” said Michael Georgopoulos, RMD Group partner. “Rustic Root combines our reputation for service with Ken Lovi’s expertise and Chef Antonio Friscia’s culinary talent, and we’re confident it will elevate Downtown San Diego’s dining scene with a unique menu and unparalleled guest experience.”

Chef Antonio Friscia
True to its name, Rustic Root will showcase a menu of rustic American cuisine with a spotlight on locally sourced meats, produce and seafood and house-made ingredients, from Executive Chef Antonio Friscia and his culinary team. The Rustic Root menu will be anchored by signature staples including the double cut, bone-in pork chop with apple rhubarb chutney and parsnip puree. Other highlights from the menu will include the seared Hamachi, elk chops and a unique twist on the classic surf & turf dish, featuring steak tartar and Hamachi crudo. With over 25 years of culinary industry experience, Executive Chef Friscia’s dedication to using local and regional purveyors, as well as organic and sustainable suppliers can be seen throughout his careful selection of ingredients.

“The Rustic Root menu features high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients that will transform simple, rustic American favorites into flavorful, unexpected and seasonally-infused dishes,” said Executive Chef and Partner Antonio Friscia. “This is my food. It will draw from the coastal influences I grew up with in San Francisco, and combine them with the techniques and flavors that I have come to appreciate throughout my career.”

Photo by Bradley Schweit
Signature dishes will complement a unique menu of craft cocktails thoughtfully created by consulting mixologist Garth Flood. A member of the U.S. Bartenders Guild and most notably known for his current role as beverage director at San Diego hotspot, Cowboy Star, Flood has created a unique cocktail menu that will include playful spins on timeless, iconic and classic cocktails. Paying tribute to the year the cocktail was created, Rustic Root’s cocktail program will include timeless cocktails such as the “1980” cosmopolitan, the “1941” mule, the “1902” daiquiri and the “1830” sazarac, also known as America’s original cocktail, to name a few. Another standout element of the new cocktail program will be signature craft cocktail shots - sip size versions of cocktail classics, including the Manhattan, Negroni, Gimlet and Old Fashioned, finished with a variety of curated garnishes.

Photo by Bradley Schweit
Designed by the visionary and nationally acclaimed interior design team at Davis Ink Ltd., the multi-level Rustic Root will include a 500 square-feet downstairs patio that opens to the main dining room on the lower floor as well as a rooftop space that will also serve food and be home to its own dedicated bar. The 2,500 square-feet main dining area will feature a life-sized Sudoku wall, lighting features that include overhead colander lamps and street-style lamps that pay homage to the Gaslamp’s signature street lamps. The equally sized 2,500 square-feet rooftop space will be dotted with life-size animal topiary bushes, all set under glowing market lights.

Rustic Root will serve dinner daily starting at 4pm in the restaurant and rooftop, and a late-night menu on the rooftop. Rustic Root is located at 535 5th Avenue in the heart of the Gaslamp. For more information on Rustic Root, visit