San Diego's Consortium Holdings Hospitality Group To Take Over Popular Starlite Bar & Restaurant

September 12, 2022

Consortium Holdings hospitality group (Craft & Commerce, Neighborhood) is taking over the 15-year-old Starlite Bar & Restaurant in San Diego's Middletown neighborhood. 

Founded on northern India Street in San Diego's highway-adjacent Middletown neighborhood in 2007 by The Casbah owner Tim Mays, musician Steve Poltz, and independent filmmaker Matt Hoyt, Starlite has been a San Diego hotspot for 15 years. Last year, co-founder Matt Hoyt, who managed daily operations at Starlite, died at the age of 45 from a rare form a cancer that he had only learned he had about a week before his passing. Since his death, his widow Allison Bell Hoyt has taken over managerial responsibilities at Starlite. 

As of this October, Starlite will be taking over by ever-expanding San Diego restaurant collective Consortium Holdings, which operates many area bars & restaurants including Born & Raised, Ironside Fish & Oyster, and Craft & Commerce, all sited in Little Italy. Consortium Holdings will continue Starlite as-is until next March, and at that time will close the establishment for an interior refresh and a complete kitchen renovation spearheaded by Starlite's original designers, Los Angeles-based firm Bells & Whistles (Animae, Campfire, Jeune et Jolie). In addition to a renovation, the menu will be overhauled by Chef Ted Smith, who previously worked at CH's Craft & Commerce and Born & Raised. Expect an old-school steakhouse menu centered around dry-aged meat and a continued focus on craft cocktails. 

A San Diego native and UCSD alumni, Arsalun Tafazoli began his Consortium Holdings hospitality company in 2007 with the opening of Neighborhood in San Diego's East Village, the same year Starlite opened. Consortium Holdings now has well over a dozen concepts around San Diego, including cocktail-focused Polite Provisions, classy dive bar El Dorado, neighborhood bar & restaurant Craft & Commerce with adjacent tiki-speakeasy False Idol, two locations of its Japanese fusion restaurant Underbelly, modern barbershop Dover Honing Co. (which remains closed since the beginning of the pandemic), seafood-centric Ironside Fish & Oyster, bi-level steakhouse Born & Raised, Westfield UTC bottle shop and speakeasy Raised By Wolves, brunch-centered Morning Glory, Chinese restaurant Fortunate Son, and industry-focused East Village sandwich shop and Negroni bar J & Tony's Discount Cured Meats and Negroni Warehouse with neighboring coffee shop Invigatorium.

The bar at The Reading Club.
Last summer, CH opened Seneca Italian trattoria on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Hotel in San Diego's downtown marina district. Last fall, they unveiled the 14,000 square-foot Uncle Italian bar & restaurant on the University of California San Diego campus, which has since shuttered. Members-only social house The Reading Club also opened late last year next door to Seneca restaurant atop the InterContinental San Diego. Arsalun also took over ownership of Bar Pink in North Park in 2020 and converted the space to become a new Japanese-inspired listening & cocktail bar dubbed Part Time Lover.

Consortium Holdings also has several San Diego hotels in its growing portfolio. In March 2021, Tafazoli finalized the purchase of North Park's 75-year-old The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows for $25,815,000. Then later in 2021, Tafazoli purchased Little Italy's 67-room, European-style La Pensione Hotel for nearly $18 million. Earlier this year, Tafazoli added his third hotel when he entered into a longterm lease for Coronado's 29-guestroom La Avenida Inn

Consortium Holdings remains busy with several additional concepts in the works, including an incoming Mediterranean bar & restaurant under development in North Park called Leila. Tafazoli also purchased the shopping plaza at 3401 Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, which sits across the street from Blind Lady AleHouse and approximately a half mile from CH's Polite Provisions. There is no word yet on what is planned for that space. The former Red Fox Room at the base of The Lafayette Hotel will also become a new bar & restaurant from CH Projects, and there is a new bowling alley, mezcal bar & restaurant being installed on the basement floor of the 76-year-old hotel property. 

Starlite is located at 3175 India Street in San Diego's Little Italy. For more information, visit