Handlery Hotel Exodus | The Mission Valley Bad Boys Leave the Place They Made Awesome

Gus Thompson and Chef Karl Prohaska
August 25, 2014

It may not be a well known establishment to many San Diegans, but to insiders of San Diego's food and craft beer world, the Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley was the venue that hosted some of the city's best culinary events. Four Mission Valley Craft Beer & Food Festivals, two New Kids on the Block Craft Beer events, the San Diego Salutes Tommy Gomes party, the 5 Chef Societe dinners...all successes resulting from the labor of love of both Chef Karl Prohaska and event coordinator Gus Thompson, who each effectively departed Handlery this week. At this point, no one knows what shall come next for this dynamic duo, but one thing is for sure, any San Diego business will be lucky to have them.

We had the opportunity to catch up with our friend and one of the funniest bastards around, Chef Karl Prohaska, who offered the following as his goodbye to Mission Valley:

So long and thanks for all the fish…

Forgive me for ripping off Douglas Adams but it seems apropos given the nature of this little missive.

I’m leaving my gig, you see. 

Normally, a no-name chef leaving a no-name joint in Mission Valley wouldn’t garner an inch of copy space. This isn’t false modesty on my part; lots of you have no clue who the hell I am. But I wanted to sit down and say a few things about San Diego, craft beer and all of you.  

This little hotel has been my culinary home for the past six years and through it I’ve come to know some outstanding people. I’ve learned that the folks in this town are willing to get behind people who work hard and try. When we started the Mission Valley Craft Beer and Food Festival, we didn’t know what the hell we were doing and it showed. We had a rocky beginning. We grew; we learned; and we put on a couple kick-ass versions of it the next few years. Through this I got to meet many of the talented brewers in this city. Guys and girls who eat, sleep and love beer and forgave the fact that I drink Jack at almost every event… okay every event. I may not agree with your desire to make the world “hoppy”, but I admire the way you do business and your commitment. Your friendship means a lot to me.

Our festivals and events were ALWAYS meant to be a double edge sword with beer and food. Through this avenue, I was fortunate enough to get to know a whole lot of chefs. Some guys with recognizable names; some without. San Diego is not really known as a “food city” but I assure you it is not from a lack of talent, audacity, or care.  These folks have become my culinary family and I’ve spent a lot of time cooking (and laughing) with them. Together we created special events and I can’t thank you all enough for getting on board on faith alone.

In closing, I just want to say thanks to all of you who have supported the MVCBF and all of it’s events. As the last remaining member of what was once a truly special group of people, it’s my job to lock up and turn off the lights for all things MVCBF with a hope that we will be able to capture the magic again down the road.

I don’t know what the future holds or where I’ll land, but it has been my pleasure to eat and drink with you at this little no name hotel in Mission Valley.

We certainly hope to see Chef Karl and Uncle Gus land somewhere that they can each flourish and plan many more great events. Until then, cheers for the amazing memories in Mission Valley!