Tracy Borkum's Cucina Sorella To Open On May 24 | Reservations Now Available

May 18, 2016

Tracy Borkum's Urban Kitchen Group has found great success with its burgeoning Cucina restaurant concepts, with locations that include Cucina Urbana in Bankers Hill, Cucina Enoteca outposts in Del Mar, Irvine & Newport Beach, and on May 24, Cucina Sorella will debut at the former Kensington Grill space (and Fish Public after that) on Adams Avenue in Kensington.

With over 2 decades of experience, highly successful Southern California restaurateur Tracy Borkum has transformed the former Fish Public/Kensington Grill space at 4055 Adams Avenue to Cucina Sorella - the newest addition to the Urban Kitchen Group collection of restaurants - incorporating her signature ‘Bohemian-chic’ design esthetic with pops of bright colors and floral prints, plush pillows, ornate fixtures, and foliage throughout.

Located in the heart of the city’s beloved Kensington neighborhood and set to open for dinner service on Tuesday, May 24, with reservations beginning on May 26, Cucina Sorella will offer a new spin on the signature CUCINA concept. Re-conceptualizing the 3,500 square-foot space that housed Kensington Grill for nearly 20 years, and most recently, Fish Public, Cucina Sorella will offer guests a more pasta-forward approach to CUCINA’s popular California-inspired Italian cuisine.

Tracy Borkum
“As we developed this concept, we went straight to the Kensington community to seek out their opinion and to gather feedback on what they would like to see go into this space,” says Borkum. “We’re excited to present guests with some very familiar elements from our original Banker’s Hill location, but reimagined to suit a more neighborhood-focused experience.”

Newly appointed Chef de Cuisine Daniel Wolinsky is overseeing Cucina Sorella s kitchen under the direction of Urban Kitchen Group Executive Chef Joe Magnanelli. Chef Wolinsky brings nearly a decade of experience from multiple New York City staples such as Frankies Spuntino and Prime Meats, as well as kitchens across the globe including Massimo Bottura’s three-star Michelin restaurant Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy). The culinary program at Cucina Sorella offers a new spin on CUCINA’s signature Cal-Italian cuisine, and the menu places a heavy emphasis on authentic handcrafted pastas, seasonal antipasti and plates both small and large, sweet and savory.

Mirroring the restaurant collective’s passion for wine, Cucina Sorella s regional wine director Augusto Ferrarese pours a curated list of Italian varietals and regional producers from the West Coast. Rounding out the beverage program, the bar offers nearly a dozen seasonal cocktails, a selection of local craft beer on draught, and a 0-proof menu of non-alcoholic libations.

In the months to come, pasta lovers can look forward to Cucina Sorella s interactive hands-on pasta making classes where attendees will have an opportunity to learn from the pro as Chef Wolinsky educates guests on the art of pasta and traditional Italian cooking techniques.

Borkum’s signature spin on ‘Restaurant to Retail’ carries over at cucina SORELLA, where she offers diners nearly everything for sale within her vibrant venue. From chairs and tables to hand screened aprons and glassware, items can be ordered from the group’s online marketplace, Urban Kitchen Shop. The restaurant also features an in-store boutique retail section that sells homemade candles, soaps, garden necessities, party accessories, and unique wares sourced exclusively from an impressive roster of creatives.

A native of London, England and previous resident of New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, Tracy Borkum has been nationally recognized for her CUCINA collection of restaurants, which showcase freshly inspired cuisine and imaginatively designed interiors. 

In 1995 Borkum opened her first venture, the iconic Kensington Grill, to rave reviews and soon followed with her second restaurant, Chive, which she opened in 1999 in downtown San Diego. In 2004 she launched her own catering company, Urban Kitchen Catering, which today partners with some of the highest profile corporations and most elite venues in the area. In 2005, Borkum raised the local culinary bar with Laurel, her wildly successful fine dining venue that earned a Mobil Four-Star rating under her reign - the only restaurant at the time to be honored with this award in the city of San Diego.

In 2009, with multiple venues already under her belt, Borkum made waves when she reacted to the slowing economy and shuttered Laurel, quickly turning the location around with a four-week remodel. The visionary reopened the space as CUCINA urbana, a California-inspired Italian restaurant and wine shop. This new value-driven concept offered guests an approachable menu with locally sourced ingredients and fine-dining service in a strikingly visual environment without breaking the bank. The restaurant was an instant success and is still booked to capacity every night of the week.

Borkum soon made her Orange County debut with the opening of CUCINA enoteca Irvine, which launched in December 2011 at the Irvine Spectrum Center. CUCINA enoteca Del Mar then opened in late 2013 at the Flower Hill Promenade in northern San Diego. With more west coast locations slated for the coming years, her latest addition to the collection before Sorella, CUCINA enotecca Newport Beach, opened at Fashion Island in August 2014.

For more information and to make reservations for Cucina Sorella, visit and check out the dinner menu below.