Swami's Ownership To Rebrand Hillcrest Location Into Mexican Food Concept Cocina De Barrio Neighborhood Kitchen

October 13, 2019

Encinitas-born Swami's Cafe opened a location in San Diego's Hillcrest in April 2018, but that branch has since shuttered and ownership is rebranding the eatery into Cocina De Barrio Neighborhood Kitchen, an all-day Mexican bar & restaurant.

Owner Jaime Osuna opened his first Swami's Cafe on Highway 101 in Encinitas in 2005, offering a breakfast and lunch menu centered around healthier options and dishes made with fresh local ingredients. Osuna has since opened ten additional Swami's outposts in San Diego County - in North Park, Point Loma's Midway District, Carlsbad, La Mesa, Poway, Encinitas Inland, Oceanside, Escondido, Hillcrest and Del Sur Town Center - plus Honey's Bistro & Bakery in Encinitas.

Osuna shuttered his Hillcrest location in early September and is in the process of rebranding the 4,500-square-foot space into Cocina de Barrio, an all-day eatery serving Oaxacan-style Mexican cuisine. The new concept is in partnership with Chef Jose Flores, who has 18 years of experience in the restaurant and has worked locally at Solare in Liberty Station and Civico 1845 in Little Italy. Expect dishes like tlayudas "Oaxacan pizza", enfrijoladas fried tortillas, tacos, tamales, and a multitude of moles, as well as a full mezcal bar with cocktails, beer, Micheladas and wine. The eatery will also offer weekend brunch

"I will provide the newest creative culinary richness of Oaxaca combined with varied geographic regions of Mexico, while maintaining the preservation of primitive and ancestral customs," explained Cocina de Barrio Executive Chef and co-owner Jose Flore."Our menu will feature a wide variety of hand-pressed corn tortillas, an endless variety moles, coffee, grasshoppers, tlayudas, beans cooked with avocado leaves, and many others very distinctive and diverse region-inspired dishes. You can also expect to see seafood options such as Ceviche de Robalo y Xoconostle, Mango-Habanero Aguachile, and Pulpo a la Brasa."

Cocina De Barrio is expected to open at 3707 5th Avenue in Hillcrest by early November 2019.