Prolific San Diego Restaurateur To Operate New Bar & Restaurant In Balboa Park

August 12, 2021

The hospitality company behind San Diego's Michelin-recognized Cucina Urbana and Cucina Sorella is opening a new bar & restaurant in Balboa Park. 

After a three-year closure for a transformational renovation, Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park will reopen this September after a $55 million renovation. The museum will house a new bar and restaurant concept dubbed Artifact from San Diego restaurateur Tracy Borkum's Urban Kitchen Group, which operates Cucina Urbana in Bankers Hill, Cucina Sorella in Kensington, and Cucina Enoteca locations in Del Mar, Irvine, and Newport Beach. Designed by San Diego-based LUCE et studio, Artifact will be a full-service restaurant with a modern American menu from corporate executive chef Tim Kolanko and chef de cuisine Jeff Armstrong. 

At Artifact at Mingei, the menu is described as "craft cooking inspired by ancient methods, spices and botanicals." Dishes available at opening will include items like shrimp dumplings with charred shishito, yuzu broth, and bonito flakes; crispy pork belly with celery root, green apple, sherry gastrique, juniper, clove, and mustard seed; snapper with tamarind, curry leaf, cardamom, and turmeric smashed Tahitian squash; and Wagyu steak with lapsang souchong, shiso oil, maitake mushrooms. There will also be a full 30' bar made of reclaimed wood serving beer, wine and cocktails. Urban Kitchen Group will also operate Mingei's new onsite Craft Cafe, which will offer grab-and-go food and coffee drinks. Expect items like salads, smoothies, breakfast, sandwiches, pastries and other snacks. 

Craft Cafe will open on September 3 with Artifact at Mingei set to unveil as early as October, both located on the ground floor of Mingei International Museum at 1439 El Prado in San Diego's Balboa Park. For more information, visit