As we delight in the last day of 2015, it’s time to start looking forward to a new year. With additional locations of classic favorites and some sure-to-be praised newcomers joining the San Diego gastronomy scene, 2016 is going to be a delicious year for San Diegans! Be sure to keep these culinary destinations on your radar as they make their grand entrances in the upcoming year.
BIGA - An affordable artisan eatery has joined the Gaslamp, just in time for 2016! Biga opened its doors at the end of December 2015 with a limited menu and coffee service, but get ready for the full menu coming in January. Situated at the corner of 6th and Broadway, Biga serves Italian-influenced breakfast, coffee, gelato, sandwiches, salads, pizzas and wood-fired dishes. From in-house created mozzarella to locally-sourced produce and 200-year-old Biga “mother dough,” the restaurant is dedicated to inspired food at an affordable price. Stop by Biga for breakfast, lunch or dinner and glance into the demonstration kitchen as your authentic meal is brought to life. With one taste of the rustic Italian fare, you’ll understand that this eatery is going to be a Biga deal in 2016!
1919 - There’s a brand new scandal brewing in the Gaslamp, and its namesake is 1919. Due to open in February 2016, 1919 will be a different kind of neighborhood sports bar, offering a down-home vibe with local comforts, nostalgic surroundings, live music and creative cocktails. This neighborhood joint will pay tribute to sports history at 560 5th Avenue. The spot will offer a unique way to hear games directly from viewers’ smartphones to ensure that each play is audible, as well as visible from one of the 25 HDTVs.
Miss B’s Coconut Club - Mission Beach will have a Cuban-inspired destination to toast to in 2016! Miss B’s Coconut Club will make its home at 3704 Mission Boulevard at the former The Boardwalk space in the spring. With similar ownership as Pacific Beach favorites The Duck Dive and PB Shore Club, Miss B’s is destined to be a new favorite of beachside diners. Just steps from Mission Beach, it will celebrate the area’s nautical and maritime history through colorful décor, island-inspired eats and tiki cocktails.
Breakfast Republic - Liberty Station is opening its arms to Breakfast Republic's second location. The morning-centric eatery, known for its unique spins on American breakfast classics, will open its doors in Spring 2016 with exciting additions such as a full liquor bar, extended hours and a large patio. With these new treats, locals can still indulge in the same out-of-the-box Breakfast Republic menu that they know and love!
Verant Group Locations - Although many of the official plans are still under wraps, the masterminds behind Verant Group will stir up the San Diego dining and drinking scene yet again with the unveiling of two new locations in 2016! Verant Group’s first project of 2016, Westroot Tavern, will make its mark at Pacific Highlands Ranch in Carmel Valley this spring. At the end of 2016, the restaurant group will open an additional spot for eating, drinking and nightlife in Pacific Beach. Stay tuned for a name and more details as the concept comes to life!
The Taco Stand - With solid family recipes and a fridge stocked with Mexican Coca-Cola, The Taco Stand is ringing in the New Year with an announcement that deserves a fiesta! Inspired by the food stands of Tijuana, La Jolla’s favorite taquería is about to open a second location that’s guaranteed to spice up downtown dining. Located on 645 B Street in the heart of downtown San Diego, The Taco Stand is expected to open its doors during the first week of January. This 1,500 square-foot Mexican eatery is not your average one-stop-taco-shop. The fresh location aims to create a bright spot that will allow patrons to escape the chaotic downtown atmosphere and be transported to a uniquely festive, south-of-the-border world. The Taco Stand will also open an Encinitas location in Spring 2016 that will feature a large outdoor patio.
Fig Tree Café - San Diego’s favorite breakfast empire just got a whole lot bigger! Johan Engman is expanding his Rise & Shine Restaurant Group with a fourth Fig Tree Café that is planned to open in the Little Italy area in August 2016. This new restaurant, located on 1495 Pacific Highway, will have the same beloved Fig Tree eats in addition to a full liquor menu with a focus on craft cocktails.
Tajima Ramen - Tajima, San Diego's cult favorite ramen concept, has expanded into East Village with its fourth location opening just days before the New Year. Located at the corner of E St. and 9th Ave in the space formerly occupied by Acme Southern Kitchen, the new 1200-sq. ft. restaurant will offer chef/partner, Sam Morikizono’s, signature Tajima menu of specialty ramen and modern Japanese cuisine. The bar will feature 10 taps of local San Diego craft brews and specialty Japanese beer, sake, wine, bottled beer and a variety of Batch Craft soda. Paul Basile of BASILE Studio (Polite Provisions, Ironside Fish & Oyster and Quartyard), the restaurant’s partner and designer, has created a modern industrial look with exposed rafters and concrete floors, peppered with traditional Japanese elements. The space includes a black and gold matte wallpaper with a subtle floral pattern, a bar that features hand-sawn interlocking wood and marble and windows that open onto the patio, framed with reused wood from the restaurant's ceiling. Tajima East Village joins Tajima Hillcrest, Tajima Izakaya in Kearny Mesa, and the group's original Tajima location on Kearny Mesa's infamous Convoy Street.
Moonshine Beach & Cerveza Jack’s - Ty Hauter/Good Time Design will be moving outside of East Village with their next project, Moonshine Beach and Cerveza Jacks, opening in February 2016 in the former Typhoon Saloon/Fred’s Mexican Cafe space on Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach. Whereas East Village’s Moonshine Flats has a southern-influenced Texas roadhouse vibe, its sister concept, Moonshine Beach, will feature a southern Gulf Coast hospitality feel. And just how Moonshine Flats and The Deck is two concepts in one, Moonshine Beach will be a 2-in-1 with Cerveza Jack’s as the restaurant portion, featuring woodfired Mexican fare. The $4 million renovation will create a 20,000 square foot venue accommodating 1,500 people, with a larger stage than Moonshine Flats has, making it the only major entertainment venue in Pacific Beach. It will feature live music 4-nights per week during winter months and 4+ nights per week during summer months. Weekend entertainment will include today’s best, young and high-energy country acts (both regional and national touring), special concert events, and additional national and regional touring acts. Weeknight’s Moonshine Beach will present reggae and indie rock acts. Cerveza Jack’s will open in April 2016, but until then a pop-up version of Cerveza Jack’s will serve a limited menu.
Herb & Wood - Opening in March 2016 at 2210 Kettner Boulevard, Herb & Wood is the fresh new project from celebrated celebrity chef, Brian Malarkey, with business partner Christopher Puffer, the Little Italy restaurant will be known for wood fire cookery. Focusing on basic rustic preparations that rely on the quality of the ingredients, menu items will include: Local Tuna & Uni Crudo with apple, shallot, herb relish and cucumber citrus broth; Wood Fire King Trumpet Mushrooms with lemon verbena and house churned butter; pastas made in-house like Triagoli with smoked rabbit sausage, burrata, meyer lemon and pistachios; and Roasted “Bone In” Swordfish with yogurt, faro, pea sprouts and charred carrots in a curry vinaigrette. Vegetables will be a focus on this menu, with a variety of sides for creating your own menu by choosing several smaller dishes to satisfy whatever diners are craving each night. The wood fire oven will also churn out pizzas, charred to perfection and host and array of delectable toppings, from seasonal veggies, to house-made sausage and salumi. The pizza dough will be made in-house and be aged for 48 hours, prior to use. Fresh ingredients and simple preparations will be the focus, bread will be baked daily and simple desserts will compliment the cuisine. A "High Spirited” cocktail program will fuel the fire, leaning towards old-school throwbacks, the use of herbs and other savory ingredients. With house made vodka infusions for those who seek a lighter fruit forward blend. Herb & Wood will be open for dinner nightly and then add brunch on the weekends. The restaurant will be open first followed by the more casual eatery with it’s grab-and-go area, called Herb and Eatery.
Heaven Sent Desserts - A dessert shop and bakery specializing in European-style desserts with an American twist, Heaven Sent recently moved their North Park location and brought on a new pastry chef, Jean Marie Verhoeven, bringing over 40 years of experience to the Heaven Sent Desserts team. They also added an off-site kitchen in Poway, allowing the bakery to take more custom, special occasion and sculpted cake and catering orders. Desserts range from signature cakes, cupcakes and pastries, to decadent desserts like pure vanilla bean crème brulée and a signature New Orleans croissant cake in a bread pudding style. Adding to the off-site kitchen, the retail side will open in Poway in the beginning of March 2016. The new location will be 12655 Danielson Ct. ste. 312, Poway 92064.
Pokewan - Pokewan is an upcoming poke concept by Love Boat Group, Inc., the same restaurant group that owns Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi Bar (Carlsbad), Blue Smoke Sushi Lounge (Fashion Valley), Big Bang! Sushi (Rancho Bernardo) and Love Boat Sushi (San Marcos & Oceanside). The new concept will open in Carlsbad right next to Blue Ocean in the former Chin’s Szechwan Cuisine space at 2958 Madison St, Set 104. Pokewan's concept will be "Chipotle-style" where customers can choose the base, type of fish, sides, sauce and toppings. There will be individually packaged nigiri and sushi and fun, popular Asian treats such as corn stick ice cream. Pokewan's goal is to serve fresh poke, sushi and seafood on the go. The interior design and branding will be by Hollis Brand Culture, the creative agency responsible for brand identity of JRDN Restaurant. Pokewan's design will compliment the popular Blue Ocean and echo its geometric designs and mid-century modern feel.
We wish you all a beautiful and prosperous 2016 and hope you eat well, love often, and devote time to bettering this world that we all call home! Happy New Year, San Diego!!!