Mission Hills' Sister Restaurants The Red Door & Bar By Red Door Change Ownership

December 4, 2017 

Longtime San Diego culinary pioneer Trish Watlington of Mission Hills' dual restaurant concepts The Red Door and Bar By Red Door has announced that she will transfer her farm-to-table concepts to new ownership in early 2018.

Trish Watlington, owner of The Red Door and BAR By Red Door (previously Wellington Steak House) today announced the sale of her adjoining Mission Hills eateries. The sale is expected to close in mid-to-late February. After eight years of building Mission Hills’ eatery The Red Door and, more recently, its newer sister, BAR By Red Door, Trish and Tom Watlington of Mt. Helix are selling the restaurants.

"The Red Door is more than just a restaurant - it’s a platform for the causes that are important to me," said Trish. "The restaurant allowed me to connect with the incredible San Diego sustainable food community. The sale allows me to focus on growing San Diego Farm to Fork Week and my mission of supporting local farmers and clean, fair food systems in a larger way."

The forthcoming owner is Chef Luciano Cibellia, originally from Milano, Italy, who’s cooked across Europe and in New York City. Cibellia fell in love with the food, staff and homey neighborhood feel and said he has an obsession for food and doesn’t use big distributors. He’ll continue to use only ingredients he can trace, including from a friend’s farm in Fallbrook. His desire is to incorporate the traditional, regional methods he grew up with to his new restaurant, even bringing a husband-wife pastry chef and pasta maker team on board so that everything is made in-house. There is no word yet on who will be the restaurant's Executive Chef, as longtime on-and-off Chef Miguel Valdez left the employ of the sister eateries last month.

To San Diego, Trish is more than a restaurant owner - she’s known as a major catalyst in the local food movement, commonly known as farm-to-table. An authority in responsible sourcing, she’s frequently called upon to speak on the importance and mechanics of supporting local, sustainable food systems.

"I’m so grateful to have found my place and my 'village' in the San Diego food industry," continued Trish. "I'm especially grateful for all of our incredible patrons, many who are also neighbors and our hard-working, full-of-personality team. All of these friendships, especially with other women in the industry, have been life-changing in a very positive way."

After transitioning out of her current role at The Red Door and BAR By Red Door, Trish will continue to impact the local food community by growing Farm-To-Fork Week, with the next installation taking place this coming January 14-21, 2018, as well as continuing to volunteer and hold board positions on several nonprofits and beginning to provide fresh, local, organic produce to area restaurants through The Red Door Family Garden on Mt. Helix, which she’ll call upon the community to rename.

In the meantime, Trish hopes fans of The Red Door and BAR By Red Door will continue to enjoy her team’s recently released winter menu and will join her for the last in-restaurant Farmers, Friends and Fishermen dinner on Sunday, January 28. The community should visit thereddoorsd.com and for updates and more information.