R Gang Eatery To Close Up Shop On May 10 | Chef Rich Sweeney's 'Baby' To Serve Its Last Brunch

May 1, 2015

Former Top Chef contestant, Rich Sweeney, opened R Gang Eatery at 3683 5th Avenue in Hillcrest in June 2010 and made a name for himself with daily brunch, reinvented comfort food and a unique lineup of house made tater tot concoctions. Sweeney took to Facebook today to make the announcement that R Gang would cease operations after Mother's Day brunch on May 10, continuing to serve dinner Tuesday through Saturday and brunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until then. Sweeney is also the executive chef and partner at Florent Restaurant & Lounge and previously consulted on the opening of the now-defunct Southpaw Social Club. By his own words, Sweeney has another project in line for his home neighborhood of Hillcrest.

"It's with a tater tot in one hand, and a tissue in the other, that I must make the announcement: my baby, R Gang Eatery will be having our last service for Mother's Day Brunch on May 10th (reservations still available!). Though not an easy choice to make, I will be focussing my time at my newest project, Florent, and also have been starting to work on something new to keep me in the Hillcrest 'hood. To all of you who have been in and been supportive honorary members of the Gang, I thank you. You have all gotten to be a part of my first project which has helped me to grow and do so much more already - with more to come. (If you haven't been in yet, tick tock people!!). I have to thank my staff - no, they are my family. You have all TRULY been the driving force behind RGE, and I have been blessed to have so many incredible people in my life that I get to work shoulder to shoulder with. Thank you more than I can ever express - anyone who has worked at RGE over the last (almost) 5 years has been a part of my life, my dream, and my baby that is R Gang Eatery. I look forward to sharing some tots with everyone over the next week and a half, and cheering some Tang mimosas as we close the book on RGE. 
With love & tater tots,
-Chef Rich Sweeney

Sweeney was raised in the restaurant business, having parents who owned bakeries and managed eateries in his native Long Island. After relocating to America's Finest City and graduating from the San Diego Culinary Institute, Sweeney accepted a position as line cook at Harrah’s Rincon Resort & Casino. After several months learning the ins and outs of the back-of-the-house line, he was offered the opportunity to apprentice under prominent local chef, Chris Walsh, one of the originators of the ‘small-plates’ dining movement in San Diego, at a then-downtown dining hot-spot, Confidential Restaurant + Loft. Starting at the bottom, Sweeney quickly worked his way up the chain, eventually becoming Walsh’s Executive Sous Chef. Sweeney went on to compete as a Season 5 contestant on Bravo TV's Emmy-winning hit reality show, Top Chef.

In 2009, Sweeney bid farewell to Confidential to embark on his dream to open his own restaurant. Born from an idea that great food can be gourmet without being pretentious, and eating it should always be fun, in June 2010 Sweeney opened R Gang Eatery which received local and global praise, from San Diego Magazine’s “Best Restaurants” to features on LOGO TV, Food Network, The Travel Channel and Zagat.com, to Sweeney himself winning the coveted “Chef of the Fest” title at the 10th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, a $50,000 grand prize package. Currently, Sweeney lives in San Diego’s vibrant Hillcrest neighborhood with his partner Steve and two chocolate labs.