Little Italy's Incoming Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen Releases First Menu

The site of Pacific Standard
July 5, 2016

Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen is set to open in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood on July 11. With a kitchen helmed by San Diego native and former Top Chef alum Giselle Wellman, the restaurant is excited to release its initial launch menu. See it here first!

Anchoring the northern end of San Diego’s flourishing Little Italy neighborhood, Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen is downtown’s newest harbor side eatery perched at the corner of Pacific Highway and Hawthorn Street. The restaurant comes to fruition though a collaboration between Southern California-based hotelier T2 and veteran restaurant developers, New School—who draw on Executive Chef Giselle Wellman’s expertise to curate a menu influenced by the surrounding Little Italy community. Located at 2137 Pacific Highway, the concept breathes new life into the site of one of the neighborhood’s most distinctive landmarks, an iconic art-deco restaurant complex that formerly housed ‘Fat City’ and ‘China Camp’ restaurants, and offers picturesque bay views from its expansive 4,100 square-foot indoor/outdoor property.

The launch of Pacific Standard ushers in a welcomed homecoming for San Diego native, Executive Chef Giselle Wellman, who has spent the past eight years honing her skills alongside internationally renowned chefs, including Thomas Keller (Bar Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery, Los Angeles), Jean George (Nougatine at Jean Georges, NYC) and Mario Batali (Del Posto, NYC), before becoming the youngest female Executive Chef in Los Angeles at the age of 26 at the upscale French-influenced Petrossian restaurant in 2010. Now in 2016, following her rise on Bravo TV’s Top Chef (season 13), Giselle is thrilled to be back in San Diego, introducing diners to her coastal-inspired rustic-refined cuisine at Pacific Standard.

“Over the past few years I’ve seen incredible growth and a re-energized passion throughout the local culinary community,” says Wellman. “I’m thrilled to be back home, and to be in the kitchen with an amazing team.”

Chef Ami Cisneros
Rounding out Pacific Standard’s all-star female culinary team alongside Chef Wellman, sous chef Ami Cisneros (JRDN at Tower 23, Blush Ice Bar) and Pastry Chef Kaitlyn Dashnaw (Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne, Miami; STK, Miami; The Continental, Miami) have developed a culinary program which celebrates the bounty produced by local farmers and artisans, and pays homage to Little Italy’s storied past as a local fishing community in the early 1900s. Menu items such as smoked trout rillettes, steak frites, cassoulet, and shrimp toast reveal Chef Wellman’s appreciation for classic techniques while showcasing her commitment to quality local ingredients—as Pacific Standard sources as much as possible from nearby purveyors including Suzie’s Farm, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, Malahat Spirits, Prager Brothers Bakery, Gelato Vero and more. Rooted in tradition, Chef Wellman’s culinary program at Pacific Standard aims to maximize the flavor of each ingredient to bring simple, nostalgic, crave-worthy dishes to the table.

Highlights of the newly released dinner menu at Pacific Standard include Shrimp Toast with grilled Old Bay jumbo shrimp, sofrito, lemon confit, pea tendrils and Fresno chili; The PS Salad with red endive, Upland watercress, roquefort, dried cherries and hazelnut dressing; Fish & Chips with San Diego Bay lager battered rockfish, house-cut fries, fresh herb tartar sauce and malt vinegar; and Risotto with roasted wild mushrooms, whipped mascarpone, and tableside parmesan-reggiano (see full dinner menu below).

Tapping LA-based spirits industry veteran Dino Balocchi (Longman & Eagle, Chicago; Dirty Laundry, Los Angeles), Pacific Standard offers a unique lineup of seasonal cocktails that range from classic variations, such as the Maritime Mule, West Coast Cosmo, and Oaxacan Old Fashioned, to a playful selection of housemade creations served in unique glassware. The Dock & Tai, a Mai Tai riff made with Smith & Cross Rum, housemade pistachio orgeat, curacao and mint, is served playfully in a mini milk jar. Whereas the Best Coast Sour combines mezcal vida, green chartreuse, pineapple, lime and egg white is served in a vintage gold-rimmed coupe, and topped with fresh grated nutmeg. For those serious drinkers with a playful side, the House Boulevardier is a must, as its old granddad bourbon, punt e mas, and Campari are served in a mini mason jar, perfect for a toast.

Placing heavy emphasis on West Coast varietals and producers, expert Sommelier Hayden Felice (Tom Colicchio’s Craft, New York; Ludo Lefebvre’s Trois Mec, Los Angeles) pours a predominantly local wine and beer list, sourced from craft, boutique and classic producers - offering nearly 30 by the bottle offerings along with 20 varietals available by the glass and over a dozen craft beers.

Pacific Standard’s 4,100 square-foot restaurant property repurposes one of Little Italy’s most distinctive landmarks: the iconic art-deco complex that was long emblazoned by the glowing neon lights of the city’s former ‘Fat City’ and ‘China Camp’ restaurants. Upholding the building’s exterior art-deco architecture, guests are greeted by Pacific Standard’s bold geometric fa├žade, complete with a 60-foot tall tower topped by a blue and white stripped ornament as an ode to the property’s former ‘Top’s Nightclub.’

Pacific Standard introduces modern, coastal chic design influences into the interior space through the use of materials including hand-blown glass light fixtures, white marble countertops, chevron-print leather bar stools, coastal-inspired artwork and two 16-foot long natural walnut live edge communal tables. Two expansive outdoor patios with views of the harbor and bayside, plus an adjoining courtyard featuring a 20-foot linear fire pit and lounge seating, bring the outdoors in to create an open, airy environment throughout the space.

New School has also brought their spirits industry veteran, Dino Balocchi (Longman & Eagle, Chicago; Dirty Laundry, Los Angeles), and Sommelier Hayden Felice (Craft, New York; Trois Mec, Los Angeles), to curate a playful selection of craft cocktails ranging from pre-dinner aperitifs to boozy brunch sippers, to punchbowls, alongside Pacific Standards’ lineup of local beers and an all West Coast wine list.

Pacific Standard is located at 2137 Pacific Coast Highway in San Diego’s downtown Little Italy neighborhood. For more information, visit