Callie California-Mediterranean Restaurant To Open In Former Bottega Americano Space In San Diego's East Village

August 9, 2019

We reported last year that Celebrity Chef Daniel Boulud's longtime protégé Chef Travis Swikard had returned from New York City to his hometown of San Diego to open a Meditteranean-inspired, California-driven restaurant. It has been confirmed that Chef Swikard is partnering with San Diego's Cohn Restaurant Group, a return to a company he worked for more than a decade prior, to open Callie restaurant in the 6,500-square-foot East Village space that last housed Bottega Americano.

In July 2018, Chef Travis Swikard departed his position as Executive Chef of iconic French chef Daniel Boulud's famed Boulud Sud restaurant in New York City. Swikard was also the culinary director of Bar Boulud and Epicerie Boulud. Prior to joining Boulud in 2008, Swikard was a consulting chef at Barbeques Galore in San Diego from 2006-2007 and worked for the Cohn Restaurant Group at Island Prime from 2002-2005 before beginning a formal culinary education at New England Culinary Institute. Swikard, along with his wife and two children, moved back to America's Finest City in fall 2018. The 35-year-old chef and Santee-native recently became a partner of sorts with San Diego's Cohn Restaurant Group, which operates such area eateries as BO-beau, Blue Point Coastal Cuisine, Coaster Saloon, Coasterra, Corvette Diner, Draft Republic, The Prado, and the recently unveiled Del's Hideout. David Cohn and Cohn Group Corporate Chef & Partner Deborah Scott have known Swikard for over 15 years, since they gave him his very first job in the industry at their restaurant Kemo Sabe.

With Cohn's backing but not officially part of the parent restaurant group, Callie is set to unveil as early as spring 2020 in the sprawling space that last housed the ambitious Bottega Americano marketplace and restaurant, which shuttered in February 2018. The new eatery will receive an interior overhaul speared by Los Angeles-based design group Studio Unltd, who will establish a 120-seat modern interior dining room housing a 30-seat wrap-around bar, a cafe and pastry nook, an open kitchen and a private dining area.  With a name derived from the Greek "kallos," meaning ​the most beautiful​ in English, Callie will be contemporary California-Mediterranean restaurant tailored toward communal dining. The menu will be centered upon seasonal local ingredients and offer vegetable-centered dishes, fresh made pasta, elevated flatbreads, and an array of rotating starters, entrees and desserts.

Leading up to Callie's 2020 opening, Chef Swikard will be testing menu items at area pop-ups, including an appearance at this month's upcoming Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival.