San Diego Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey To Open Herb & Sea In Encinitas, Japanese Restaurant In Downtown San Diego, With More Concepts In The Pipeline

February 1, 2018

San Diego Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey and his longtime business partner/general manager Chris Puffer are ready to start expanding...once again. Heading into the heart of Encinitas is Herb & Sea - the latest "social dining" venture from the team behind Little Italy's hit Herb & Wood. The duo also has three more concepts in the pipeline, including a Japanese seafood & steakhouse and a donut & ice cream restaurant.

Reminiscent of the early days of Malarkey's "fabric-named" brand of eateries, the now-seasoned restaurateur is ready for round two of his plan to take the San Diego restaurant industry by storm. After the greatly-successful rebirth of the Malarkey empire with the launch of Herb & Wood and Herb & Eatery in Little Italy in Spring 2016, Puffer Malarkey Holdings wants to bring a similar version of the concept to Encinitas. Herb & Sea will install within the 5,500 square foot building at 131 West D Street above Moonlight Beach. The prime building sits on a nearly 10,000 square-foot lot steps away from the Encinitas sign and Highway 101. Like Herb & Wood, Herb & Sea will be designed by Puffer and offer a menu based around shareable items, this time with a more nautical theme and a focus on local seafood. The restaurant aims to unveil by Summer 2018.

Pacific Gate Artistic Rendering
In addition to Herb & Sea, we know that Puffer & Malarkey are working on no less than three other dining concepts. Animae will be an upscale Japanese and Southeast Asian fusion restaurant that will install in the 15,000 square-foot ground floor retail unit at downtown San Diego's newest high-end high rise of condiminiums Pacific Gate by Bosa, a 41-story, 215 unit uber-luxury building (starting at $1.5 Million for a 1 bedroom). Expect a menu centered around A5 Grade Japanese Wagyu Kobe Beef cooked over a coal roasting robata grill and Josper oven. There will also be plenty of seafood options, including raw preparations. Animae hopes to open by year's end but likely not until 2019.

"We are going to borrow some really cool ideas from Japanese culture," commented Brian Malarkey about Animae. "We're calling it 'Japanese steakhouse with Southeast Asian street roots and a touch of Aloha.'"

Unholy Doughnuts & Creamery will be an ice creamery and donut shop with the slogan - "we're putting the hole back in the donut". Another restaurant in the works is Gochujang, which we believe will be a Korean fusion eatery centered around the culinary technique of fermentation. Little information is currently available on these two concepts, but we have reached out to Chris Puffer and the company's known PR for details and will update this post when we learn more.

Chef Brian Malarkey first tasted celebrity when he made a name for himself as a finalist on Bravo's Top Chef Season 3 while he was Executive Chef of downtown San Diego's Oceanaire. The Bend Oregon native steamrolled his newfound stardom into his own fabric brand of restaurants with the launch of Searsucker in the San Diego Gaslamp in 2010. Malarkey went on to open and close more than a dozen other restaurants over a short time before he and then-business partner James Brennan sold off the majority share of Enlightened Hospitality Group to Abu Dhabi-based Hakkasan Ltd. in 2014.