San Diego's 70-Plus Most Anticipated Restaurants For 2023

December 7, 2022

There's an abundance of new San Diego restaurant openings on the horizon for 2023, so we've compiled a list of more than 70 spots we're excited for in the new year. 

2023 is going to be a big year for America's Finest City! There are so many new restaurants in the works for San Diego County, and we have the scoops on what's coming. From celebrity chef-driven projects to pro boxer-backed taquerias, below is our list of the restaurants we can't wait to try in the near future.

Prince Street Pizza - Known for its around the block lines at its original branch in New York City, Prince Street Pizza took over part of the space previously occupied by Mariscos El Pulpo on Market Street in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter. Expected to open in early 2023, the San Diego branch will offer a classic New York City slice shop experience with a menu of "Neapolitan-style" round pies and "Original SOHO Square" pizzas, including their iconic Spicy Spring with fra diavolo sauce, fresh mozzarella, spicy cupping pepperoni and Pecorino Romano cheese. Like the Los Angeles location, there will also be a small selection of salads, 10" pizzettas, Mozza mozzerella balls, sauces to-go. and bundled family meals. 

Chick & Hawk - Skateboard legend Tony Hawk and San Diego Chef Andrew Bachelier, who was integral in the launch of dining destinations Campfire and Jeune et Jolie in Carlsbad, have joined forces for the launch of this "fast-fine" restaurant and bar concept. Chick & Hawk is currently under construction in the 1,421 square-foot space that long housed Fulano's Restaurant in the Leucadia area of Encinitas. Local design firm Starch Creative Studios is spearheading the renovation with the final product set to offer indoor and outdoor dining with a design inspired by 90s surf and skateboard culture combined with a chicken motif. The incoming restaurant will integrate facets of fast-casual and fine-dining, offering an unpretentious menu centered around elevated fried chicken sandwiches made with locally sourced poultry, as well as oysters, seafood, and approachable versions of Bachelier's globally-driven Southern California cuisine, complimented by a full bar with craft beer, wine and cocktails.  

California English - Celebrity chef Richard Blais, known for leading roles on Bravo's Top Chef and Fox's primetime hit Next Level Chef, has signed on to open two new restaurants in San Diego. Chef Blais recently partnered with Longfellow Real Estate Partners, a privately held developer of life science buildings, and will bring a pair of new restaurants to the company's two incoming San Diego sites in Sorrento Valley. The first restaurant will install within a 6,000 square-foot indoor/outdoor space at the Biovista Life Science Campus off Mira Mesa Boulevard. Dubbed California English, expect an approachable, all-day menu of "SoCal meets Great Britain" cuisine that will combine British classic dishes with Southern California flare and local ingredients. The restaurant is expected to open in February 2023 and will have a full bar, expansive outdoor patio and veranda. 

Roscoe's House of Chicken N Waffles - A project teased for more than a half decade, the San Diego debut of Los Angeles-based soul food chain Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘N Waffles will finally unveil in 2023. Opening at the corner of National Avenue and Sigsbee street in Barrio Logan, the San Diego branch of Roscoe's will include a 6,000 square-foot restaurant on the base floor of a standalone building with a second-story, rooftop dining deck and its own parking, as well as a crave-worthy comfort food menu with fried chicken, waffles, grits, gravy and other Southern dishes. 

The Lafayette Hotel - After purchasing the decades-old boutique hotel in 2021 for $25,815,000, San Diego's Consortium Holdings hospitality company closed The Lafayette this past fall for a $26 million makeover that will add eight new bars & restaurants to the historic property. New concepts coming to the historic hotel include a lobby bar & cafe, a classic diner, a luxurious Parisian-style restaurant, a live music venue, an old-school bowling alley, a swanky new pool bar, an intimate chef's table dining experience, and an Oaxacan-inspired eatery & mezcal bar. Consortium Holdings founder Arsalun Tafazoli has moved into The Lafayette to oversee construction, which is being spearheaded by NYC-based Post Company and is anticipated to be completed by mid-2023.

Heritage Craft Barbecue & Brewing - San Juan Capistrano's Michelin-recognized Heritage Craft Barbecue & Brewing is opening a massive location in San Diego County. Heritage Craft Barbecue & Brewing will soon open a new location in the more than 7,000 square-foot building in Oceanside, CA, that last housed the short-lived Municipal Taco. Expect a menu featuring an array of smoked meats like sausage, pulled pork, chicken, tri tip, char siu pork belly, spare ribs, brisket, and pastrami, as well as sandwiches, sides and cornbread. The company will also brew their own craft beers from the onsite 10 barrel brewing system. There will also be a full bar with cocktails and possibly an onsite speakeasy.  

Hart House - Comedian Kevin Hart is planning to open a location of his Hart House vegan fast-food eatery in San Diego. The first San Diego location of Hart House will open in the space that last housed a Pure Burger in Carlsbad's Bressi Ranch community. The Hart House menu will feature only plant-based items, including vegan burgers, mock chicken sandwiches, salads, nuggets, fries, tots and oat-milkshakes that are completely free of hormones, artificial colors, preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup. The brand also embraces green initiatives by using recyclable and compostable packaging. 

Le Coq - In a true full circle moment, San Diego celebrity chef Brian "Mr. Cocky" Malarkey has taken back his former Herringbone restaurant in La Jolla and will remodel and rebrand it into a French-inspired fusion restaurant & bar named Le Coq. While the concept is still very much in development, the restaurant will be a French bistro & high-end steakhouse restaurant with a menu of globally-inspired fusion dishes and dry-aged meats. Herringbone will serve its final meals on New Years Eve, December 31, 2022, and at that point Malarkey is expected to perform an interior remodel with Le Coq bar & restaurant anticipated to reopen in summer 2023. 

Johnston's - The team behind now-defunct Waypoint Public and Park & Rec in San Diego's University Heights has completely renovated the building last occupied by Small Bar for more than a decade and will soon open a new bar and restaurant concept called Johnston's. Originally planned to be called The Regular, the name has been changed to Johnston's as a nod to the history of the building. During renovation of the building's facade, an old hand-painted sign for Johnston’s Variety Store was revealed under the former Small Bar signage. It turned out that there was once a family-owned department store at the space from 1926 until the store owner's passing in 1940. Johnston's is anticipated to unveil in early 2023 and will offer a pub-style menu from consulting chef Peter Ziegler, who previously worked at Charles + Dinorah at the Pearl Hotel in Point Loma and Wolfie's Carousel in Little Italy. There will also be a full bar with craft cocktails, beer, and wine. 

Bock - The former Hamilton's Tavern space in San Diego's South Park has been taken over by Brian Jensen, the founder of six locations of Bottlecraft craft beer bar and bottle shop, as well as branches of Vino Carta Wine Store and Bar in Little Italy and Solana Beach. Jensen is in the process of construction Bock Bar in South Park, which will will offer a German tavern vibe and be heavily inspired by Hamilton's Tavern and other Old World neighborhood pubs. Nextdoor to Bock, Papalo eatery will be helmed by former Lola 55 chef Drew Bent and will serve a menu of traditional a la carte BBQ menu centered around Sonoran-style Mexican barbecue. 

Wildland/Lilo - The team behind San Diego's Michelin-starred Jeune et Jolie  have announced the forthcoming opening of two new restaurant concepts set to unveil in 2023 in Carlsbad. Wildland will be a casual, all-day eatery and bar featuring handmade pastas and entrees cooked via rotisserie grill and wood-fired pizza oven. Next door, Lilo will be an upscale, reservations only fine dining restaurant with only 22 seats. Named after a term from author John Koenig's The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, Lilo is a portmanteau of 'lifelong' and 'lie low' that means a "friendship that can lie dormant for years only to pick right back up instantly, as if no time had passed since you last saw each other." 

The Crack Shack Pacific Beach - San Diego-based fried chicken chain The Crack Shack is opening a new location in the oceanfront neighborhood of Pacific Beach. Anticipated to debut in late 2023, this new branch will take over the former Surfside Sushi and and Ramiro Taco Shop buildings on Mission Boulevard, located next door to the former Denny's and one block from the beach, and will have to perform substantial construction to build the new restaurant. Expect a mostly al-fresco eatery with a walk-up counter service for ordering, a full bar, and al-fresco patio seating. Like other branches, the menu will be centered around poultry-based sandwiches, fried chicken, salads, and appetizers, all made with local and organic ingredients, including free-fange Jidori chicken from small farms. 

Las Ahumaderas -  Taqueros from Tijuana's famed Las Ahumaderas taco alley are nearly ready to bring their authentic Mexican street taco experience to San Diego's South County. San Diego's Las Ahumaderas will have a central stand offering a range of tacos, tortas, mulitas, vampiros, quesadillas, burritos, all available with options like grilled carne asada, spit-roasted adobada marinated pork, stewed birria de res shredded beef, and truly authentic cuts like cabeza (head) and lengua (tongue). There will also be a menu of beer and soft drinks, as well as a stand from Hellote, who will sell Mexican street corn elote, Tijuana-style hot dogs, nachos, and other creative creations.

Chick'N Cone
 - A budding food chain with nearly 30 locations, Chick'nCone will soon bring portable chicken and waffles to San Diego's East Village. After over a year in development, the flagship San Diego location of Chick'nCone will open in early 2023 in the 1,810 square-foot space only a stone's throw from Petco Park on the base floor of the Diamond Terrace Condominiums. The menu will include the signature "fork-free" chicken & waffles available smothered with sauces like spicy ranch, buffalo blue, mustard-based barbecue sauce, spicy South African Peri Peri sauce, traditional barbecue sauce and "cinna-maple." There will also be chicken sandwiches and tenders available, as well as Cajun fries, corn, mac n' cheese, and a waffle crunch shake.

El Pastor Del Rica Taquería - Boxing champion Canelo Alvarez will soon unveil the first U.S. offshoot of his El Pastor Del Rica Taqueria in the 4,200 square-foot standalone building that was previously an auto parts store on Broadway in San Diego's South County city of Chula Vista. El Pastor Del Rica Taquería already has a bustling location owned by Canelo Alvarez and his brother Ricardo in their home city of Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico, which first opened in 2014. For the San Diego outpost, expect an authentic Mexican street taqueria experience with a variety of meat tacos and quesadillas, including al pastor cooked on a rotating spit, as well as beer and wine.

Barn Door Public House - This incoming self-pour tap room is being constructed in a 1,375 square-foot standalone building that last housed a Gracie jiu-jitsu gym in San Diego's North County community of Escondido. Named after the reclaimed 100-year-old Kentucky barn door at the businesse's entrance, expect a country-style design featuring barn doors throughout the space, as well as 1,700 square-foot outdoor beer garden with fire pits and bar table seating. Barn Door Public House will have more than 20 taps of self-pour beverages, including craft beer, wine hard kombucha and ciders. There will also be a food from Hawaii's Empty Elle Bagel Shop with a menu centered around hand-rolled, honey boiled Montreal-style bagels, including specialty decadent night time bagels. 

Happy Medium - Two of San Diego's top bartenders have teamed up to take over StreetCar Merchants of Fried Chicken in San Diego's North Park. StreetCar Merchants Chicken Bar will shutter at an unknown future date and the North Park space will be taken over by longtime San Diego bar experts Christian Siglin and Eric Johnson for the opening of a new cocktail-driven bar & restaurant currently named Happy Medium. Siglin is considered one of the top bartenders in town, maybe in the country, and has experience working at many area bars, including La Jolla's Hyatt Regency, The Pearl Hotel, Noble Experiment, Craft & Commerce, Sycamore Den, Bankers Hill, Bracero Cocina de Raiz, and is a partner at Fernside in South Park. Eric Johnson is another master mixologist and has worked to develop cocktail programs at San Diego hotspots like Sycamore Den, The Smoking Gun, Juniper & Ivy, Home & Away, Waverly, and Camino Riviera. Happy Medium is anticipated to open at some point in the first half of 2023.

Casa Gabriela - The founding chef behind La Doña restaurant in Ocean Beach has partnered with San Diego's Cohn Restaurant Group to rebrand Bo-beau Kitchen + Garden in La Mesa to become Casa Gabriela, an authentic Mexican eatery and cocktail bar coming in early 2023. In late December, Cohn Restaurant Group will close the company's 9-year-old BO-beau kitchen + garden in downtown La Mesa and begin a modest interior renovation to transform the space to become Casa Gabriela. Set to open the first week of January 2023, Casa Gabriela will offer a menu of authentic Mexican dishes elevated, made using passed-down recipes from Chef Gabriela Lopez's family.

The Remy - Hunter Steakhouse shuttered in San Diego's Mission Valley this past summer after more than 50 years in business. Jonathan Frank, who co-owns Home & Away restaurants in San Diego's Old Town and Encinitas, took over the 4,824 square-foot building and is opening a new restaurant called The Remy. Little is currently known about The Remy concept at this time, but expect a substantial renovation of the dated restaurant space, with the new eatery not expected to open until mid-to-late 2023.    

Wild Flour - Fresh off the recent opening of White Rice Bodega in Normal Heights, San Diego native chef Phillip Esteban is gearing up to bring Wild Flour modern California delicatessen to Point Loma's Liberty Station. Wild Flour was originally slated to install where White Rice Bodega is in Normal Heights but will now open in a 2,600 square-foot unit across from the new Carruth Cellars winery & restaurant in Liberty Station. Expect a "California deli" inspired by eateries like The Anchovy Bar in San Francisco and the new Golf Finch Modern Jewish Deli in La Jolla. Wild Flour will have a seasonal, globally-inspired menu with sandwiches on fresh baked bread, handmade pasta, small plates, and entree-sized dishes made with seasonal produce and locally-sourced ingredients.

The Bowl - The team behind San Diego sushi & tapas hotspot The Joint is opening a new ramen restaurant in Ocean Beach cleverly dubbed The Bowl. Opening in the space that last housed Taika Sushi, The Bowl will have a menu centered around ramen, sushi and other globally-inspired small plates. From the bar, expect a devotion to local craft beer, kombucha and seltzer, as well as a list of wine and sake. The menu will have lots of emphasis on farmers market and using local mushrooms, best quality meats and veggies to make all the broths and tare's [Japanese sauce].

The Gaslamplighter - Replacing the longstanding Ciro's Pizzeria in downtown San Diego is The Gaslamplighter, a Sinatra-style cocktail & karaoke bar from the family behind the iconic Lamplighter in Mission Hills. The Gaslamplighter will be designed by GTC Design and offer a Mad Men-style speakeasy vibe with gold, brick and wooden accents, custom lighting, and forest green booths. The space will have a stage to host karaoke nights and live musical performances. As for the menu, expect classic and modern craft cocktails and elevated bar bites. 

Cork & Batter - Los Angeles-based Cork & Batter sports bar concept is opening a location in San Diego's Seaport Village.  The company recently signed a ten-year lease with the Port of San Diego to take over the former Buster's Beach House space, which was previously slated to be a full-scale restaurant concept from San Diego Internet celebrity Sam "The Cooking Guy" Zien.  The Cork and Batter team will soon transform the two-story, 8,000 square-foot longtime Buster's Beach House into a warm bungalow-themed bar & restaurant. The elevated sports bar will show live sporting events on multiple flat screens throughout the space and serve a menu of American tavern fare, craft beer, wine, and hand-crafted cocktails. 

Swagyu Oceanside - The next branch of Wagyu beef butcher shop and chef-driven burger restaurant Swagyu is opening in San Diego's North County as part of the currently under construction Freeman Collective in South Oceanside. Like the Pacific Beach branch, the new Swagyu will include an onsite burger restaurant and steakhouse, as well as a butchery selling prime cuts of A5 Wagyu. The restaurant will offer a menu of smashed burgers, katsu sandwiches, and cooked steaks customers can choose directly from the meat counter. Chef Brown will also serve his special Cosecha multi-course, steak-centric meals. Swagyu Chop Shop will also have a full bar with cocktails, beer, wine and specialty sake to compliment it's food offerings.

La Caille - The owner of one of Utah's most revered French fine dining restaurants has taken over the space that long housed Primavera Ristorante on San Diego's Coronado Island. La Caille is an upscale French restaurant founded in 1975 on a 20-acrea estate in Little Cottonwood Canyon on the outskirts of Salt Lake City, UT. Over its four decades tenure, the restaurant has won numerous awards and developed a reputation as the height of fine dining in Utah. Earlier this year, La Caille's owner purchased the 3,283 square-foot, bi-level building that previously housed Primavera at in downtown Coronado, and it is believed he will open a new, French restaurant in the space. Expect an elevated dining experience with a seasonal menu featuring local produce and high-end meats and seafood.

Mooyah Burgers - Texas-based Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes, which currently has over 100 locations around the globe, will soon open its first San Diego outpost. Mooyah offers a menu centered around made-to-order, 100% Angus beef burgers, all natural turkey burgers, and Dr. Praeger’s black bean vegan burgers, all served on non-GMO potato and multi-grain buns that are baked in-house daily. Other offerings include Hebrew National hot dogs, hand-cut French fries, and real ice cream shakes. The first San Diego location of Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes will open on El Camino Real in Carlsbad. Based on the success of the first area branch, more Mooyah eateries are likely to open around San Diego County. 

Angelo - One of San Diego's more popular Italian restaurants, Cesarina has taken over the 3,000 square-foot space across the street in Point Loma and will open Angelo, a bakery and pizza shop with a full bar set to debut in 2023. Named after Angius's father, Angelo will have a small dining area with a chefs' table for intimate meals. The eatery will be used for much of the preparation at both restaurants, including for making fresh pasta, homemade mozzarella, pizza, sauces, and bakery items like Italian desserts and cakes. Angelo will also have a full bar thanks to the eatery obtaining the liquor license from the now-defunct Jolt N Joes La Mesa branch. 

North Park Beer Bankers Hill - San Diego's 6-year-old North Park Beer Company, which recently won the illustrious Brewery of the Year award at the Great American Beer Festival, is growing beyond its namesake neighborhood and is opening a new taproom & restaurant in the Bankers Hill community. Sited on the base floor of Secoya by the Park, a mixed-use building on the corner of 5th Avenue and Redwood Street in Bankers Hill. Once finished, Secoya will be an 8-story, the new location will offer two dozen taps of North Park Beer craft brews, as well as an onsite kitchen with a menu of tavern fare like smash burgers, salads, fries and full entrees. 

Techo Beso - Set to open in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter early next year, the AC Hotel by Marriott will house a South America-inspired rooftop bar named Techo Beso, which means "rooftop kiss" in Spanish. Inspired by the energy and culture of love found in South America, the main bar space will offer a DJ-fueled gathering area with comfortable seating options and will connect to the main pool deck a few steps above. The pool will connect the guests to a second terrace bar. Designed as a separate world from the surrounding environment below, Techo Beso will offer sprawling views of downtown San Diego, as well as a menu of Latin-American inspired tapas and hand-crafted cocktails. 

Mastiff Craft Kitchen
 - The team behind San Diego's Mastiff Sausage Company has over Craft Kitchen in La Mesa for the opening of the company's first standalone restaurant. Dubbed Mastiff Craft Kitchen, expect an all-day menu of comfort food favorites curated from Mastiff's multiple locations with items ranging from wings and burgers, to sausages, sandwiches, salads, tacos and fried chicken. Mastiff Craft Kitchen will also serve a variety of local craft beer, cider, kombucha and wine. 

Souplantation Reboot - If we were to bet, we'd say this revival is doomed but owners are still saying it's happening. Earlier this year, La Mesa resident Dmitry Braverman took over a former Souplantation location on Fletcher Parkway in La Mesa with plans to revive the concept using previously-released and copycat recipes, as well as having the assistance of some former Souplantation staffers. He originally planned to reopen on July 4 of this year, but was delayed citing an inability to pass fire inspections. Braverman later confirmed he hit another snag and was unable to get the rights to use the Souplantation name. The latest announcement explained that they are no longer reopening the Souplantation reboot in the La Mesa space but are hoping to find a different location. Only time will tell. Fingers crossed for all your Souplantation obsessed San Diegans! 

Common Stock's Bankers Hill Project - The team behind Common Stock bar & restaurant in San Diego's Hillcrest has plans to open two new restaurant concepts in 2023, including one at the former Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant space and another in North Park. The Common Stock crew recently leased the former Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant, which announced last fall plans to relocate. In the former Bankers Hill space, expect a new bar & restaurant concept centered around house-made, locally-sourced, farm-fresh California cuisine with a full bar. The Common Stock team is also opening a new eatery in North Park near Communal Coffee, expected to open later in 2023. 

LOLA 55 Carlsbad - East Village's Michelin-recognized LOLA 55 Tacos + Cocktails is gearing up for a local expansion that includes a new outpost in San Diego's North County within The Beacon La Costa shopping center in Carlsbad. Like the original branch, expect a menu of Oaxacan-style cuisine with most of its meats and vegetables grilled on a custom, Santa Maria grill. The menu offers "inspired food at affordable prices", with the majority of the items priced between $3-7. Tacos are made with housemade tortillas and ingredients sourced from area farms and purveyors. The menu also includes a large list of vegan options, including numerous plant-based tacos. The restaurant also serves a full list of craft cocktails, local & Mexican craft beer, an array of side dishes like elote and aguachile, market-driven entrees and soft beverages like agua frescas and horchatas.

Mission & Garnet - From the founder of SoCal-born burger & beer chain Slater's 50/50, Mission + Garnet will be a 24-hour, multi-concept restaurant set to open in early 2023 in the building that housed a Denny's diner for more than 50 years in San Diego's Pacific Beach. The 4,000 square-foot building will house at least six separate eateries, including versions of his Spitfire Tacos, Head Lettuce, and Earlybird Breakfast Burritos eateries, as well as Scotty Dogs hot dog stand out front, the Checkered Churro desserts, Harvey Carver sandwich shop and possibly other, new take-out friendly concepts.

Alcatraz Bar & Grill - The experienced San Diego restaurateur behind such concepts as Farmer's Table and Farmer's Bottega is gearing up to launch a new bar & restaurant inspired by Mexico's famed Valle De Guadalupe wine region. Located in the 3,741 square-foot unit on the corner of La Mesa Boulevard and Palm Avenue, Alcatraz will be an upscale Mexican restaurant and wine bar with an extensive bar selection of drinks and bourbon and a menu of modern Mexican cuisine. 

HomeState - A Texas-inspired breakfast taco chain based out of Los Angeles, HomeState will open a 2,900 square-foot location in San Diego's North County within Freeman Collective in South Oceanside. Expect a menu of Lone Star State breakfast tacos made with pasture-raised, Vital Farms eggs, buttery flour tortillas, compassionately and humanely-raised meats from Creekstone Farms, organic chicken, and the brand's signature queso cheese sauce - all named after Texas rivers. HomeState also offers tacos made in collaboration with bands, including The Ft. Worth by Leon Bridges, which has spicy achiote chicken, Beeler's bacon, lettuce, pico de gallo, tomatillo ranch, pickled jalapeños, on a flour tortilla. The menu also features non-breakfast tacos on flour or corn tortillas, egg scrambled "Migas", Frito pie, Texas toast sandwiches, quesadillas, a salad, sides, and chips and dips, as well as a full bar with cocktails, wine, beer, coffee and soft drinks. Based upon the success of the first San Diego branch, more area locations are expected to open around the county in the future.

Gravity Heights Mission Valley - San Diego's three-year-old Gravity Heights brewery and restaurant is planning to open a new location in Mission Valley. From the team behind now-defunct Whisknladle, Catania Coastal Italian, Milagro Farm Winery, and Park Commons Food Hall, the second location of Gravity Heights will open next year in Mission Valley near Metro Mission Valley apartment complex and serve a full food menu with appetizers, soups, salads, wood-fired pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, brunch items, entrees and desserts, as well as cocktails, Gravity Heights lineup of craft beers and Milagro Farm wines.

Starlite Reboot - As of this past October, Starlite is owned 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. 

Luce Bar & Kitchen Pacific Beach - One of the founding members of San Diego's Verant Group of bars & restaurants has taken over the former The Patio on Lamont building in Pacific Beach for the opening of a second location of Bay Park's Luce Bar & Kitchen. Last Year, Verant Group co-founder Joe Vaught purchased the 3,854 square-foot building that houses several condos and was previously occupied by The Patio on Lamont restaurant for approximately $3million. The Patio was forced to shutter in late September 2019 following an SEC complaint alleging $300 million fraud against the company's founder Gina Champion-Cain, who was ultimately sentenced to 15 years in prison. Vaught is partnering with Tony Damato to open a second branch of Luce Kitchen & Bar in the expansive East Pacific Beach restaurant space. Like the original location, the new Luce will offer a casual yet sophisticated ambiance and a menu of approachable California cuisine complimented by a full bar with cocktails, spirits, wine and local beer. 

Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai - A decades-old ramen chain based out of Japan, Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai will finally open its first San Diego location later this year in a newly-built building between Costco and Target in Kearny Mesa. Expect a concise menu of several ramen types, including the signature Kitakata ramen, chashu ramen, miso ramen, spicy miso ramen, and Tsukemen dipping ramen, as well as several bowls and appetizers like gyoza, fried chicken karaage, and ban nai buns.  

Da Primo - One of Mexico City's most prolific restaurant groups, Grupo Hunan has taken over the 7,500 square-foot, ground level space that last housed Larsen's Steakhouse in San Diego's Westfield UTC mall for the opening of a new, upscale Italian restaurant and bar. After an interior renovation, Grupo Hunan will open a new concept dubbed Da Primo. The new Italian restaurant will be different than the company's three other Italian concepts - Prosecco Tavola Rustica, Negroni Trattoria Italiana, and Trastevere Ristorante Italiano. Expect a luxurious and trendy design with a menu of Italian and fusion dishes, as well as a full bar. 

Galpão Gaucho - Texas-born, all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse chain Galpão Gaucho will open a new location in the 9,900 square-foot space last occupied by Seasons 52 in downtown San Diego's The Headquarters at Seaport Village. Inspired by the gaucho, or South American cowboy, expect waiters dressed in gaucho-style attire slicing 17 different types of marinated meats tableside, as well as a seemingly endless salad bar filled with cured meats, cheeses, salads and marinated vegetable. There will also be a full bar with cocktails, beer, and an impressive wine list.

Death By Tequila North Park - Encinitas-based Death by Tequila Mexican bar & restaurant will soon bring its third and most ambitious San Diego location to the heart of North Park. Taking over a 5,400 square-foot, long-vacant space that previously housed a discount store and Hawaiian restaurant, expect a total renovation of the unit to add lots of glass, high ceilings, a mezzanine dining area and an outdoor patio taking up the entire corner. The 175-seat restaurant will serve a menu of modern Mexican dishes inspired by Baja, including Picadillo empanadas with soyrizo picadillo, corn, Oaxaca cheese, crema salada, citrus slaw and cilantro; tuna aguachile with passionfruit, avocado, radish, hoja santa, lime, and tostadas; short rib asada taco with salsa verde, guacamole, red onion, radish and cilantro; and grilled Spanish octopus with racada negro, fideo seco, avocado crema, mizuna and shishito peppers. There will also be a full liquor license with an ability for the lounge and 75-seat bar to stay open until 2am as a DJ-fueled late night destination.

Nolita Hall Team's Bankers Hill Project - Nolita Hall's parent company Creative House has leased the 7,000 square-foot unit that housed the PR-fueled Il Dandy/Civico By The Park restaurants for a few years before the Italian eatery permanently closed this past January. After a substantial remodel, the company plans to launch a new restaurant concept with a full bar in the Bankers Hill unit, which sits on the base floor the Manchester Financial Centre building that also houses San Diego's iconic French-hued American fusion restaurant Mister A's. The Bankers Hill concept is still in the conceptual phase but expect there to be a vastly different approach to the space's design from the previous tenant, which will result an entirely new experience for guests who have been to the unit.

South of Nick's - An offshoot of neighboring Nick's Del Mar, South of Nick's Mexican Kitchen + Bar will soon replace celebrity-driven International Smoke within One Paseo in Del Mar. Expect a menu of Mexican favorites, prime steaks and seafood with a So Cal twist, as well as a full bar with sipping tequilas, margaritas, cocktails, beer and wine. 

Sushi Gaga - The team behind San Diego's BeShock Ramen & Sake Bar has taken over the neighboring space that last housed Melvin Brewing in the East Village for a new Japanese restaurant concept currently called Sushi Gaga. Located less than 400 feet from BeShock Ramen, the new concept will offer a full bar with cocktails and spirits, an expansive cocktail list, and an upscale Japanese izakaya menu with a strong focus on sushi. 

Fisher's Seafood - A decades-old Mexico City-based seafood chain with over two dozen locations, Fisher's Seafood House will soon open its first United States location in San Diego. Fisher's has taken over the 8,700 square-foot space that last housed the short-lived Roma Urban Market on the outskirts of San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood. The first U.S. Fisher's is part of an aggressive global expansion plan that includes a European branch that opened this year in Madrid, Spain. For the first San Diego location, expect a full raw bar and a menu centered around Mexican mariscos, including ceviches and aquachiles, tacos, seafood pasta, entrees and more. The restaurant will also serve beer and wine. 

Choi's Korean - Opening within a 4,321 square-foot space with a 1,000 square-foot al fresco patio within the Petco Park-adjacent Park 12 complex, Choi's will offer a menu featuring authentic Korean dishes like fried chicken, bibimbap rice bowls, and jeon fried fritters. From the bar, the restaurant will have a dedication to Korean beer and rice wines cocktails featuring soju and makgeolli, a milky, off-white Korean wine that has a sweet and bitter taste.

Ramen Nagi - Tokyo's famed Ramen Nagi will soon open its first San Diego within Westfield UTC mall. Known for customizable bowls with vibrantly colored broths (like black squid ink and spicy red), Ramen Nagi offers an interactive ordering system. Customers fill out an order form choosing from a list of broths, including original, black king squid ink & black garlic, red king spicy broth, veggie kind, green king basil broth, or a special "limited king" broth, which has been served as over 1,000 varieties. Patrons then choose either the chef's recommendation for ingredients or customize their bowls with strength of flavor or the broth, richness of oil, thickness of noodles, cut of pork, and choice of vegetables, as well as their desired spiciness level. Ramen Nagi also offers a range of Japanese appetizers like gyoza, chicken karaage, edamame and more.

The Red Chickz - Los Angeles' TikTok-famous The Red Chickz is in the process of an aggressive expansion that includes multiple locations of the Nashville hot chicken chain opening in San Diego. Although the company is still looking for the right spaces, The Red Chickz has plans to open at least three branches in San Diego under the leadership of franchisee Mattie Shlemon. Like other Nashville hot chicken chains, expect a menu of fried chicken tenders and sandwiches at varying spice levels, as well as fried shrimp, tacos, bone-in chicken and waffles, chicken & French Toast, and even vegetarian dishes with cauliflower.

Limoncello Cucina - The experienced San Diego restaurateur behind such concepts as Farmer's Table and Farmer's Bottega is gearing up to launch a new Italian bar & restaurant dubbed Limoncello Cucina in the La Mesa space that housed Tiramisu Trattoria for nearly two decades. The space will receive an interior renovation and offer a menu of classic Italian dishes and a bar serving local and Italian beers and a curated wine list.

Bafang Dumpling - A Taiwanese restaurant chain with over 1,000 locations, Bafang Dumpling will soon open its first San Diego branch in a 3,000 square-foot space within the Village at Mira Mesa Shopping Center. Like other branches, expect fast-casual service with a menu of Taiwanese comfort foods like potstickers, dumplings, "QQ" noodles, small plates, combo meals, tea lattes, matcha & boba drinks, and other soy milk-based beverages. 

Steak & Bones Tacos - Taking over the space that last housed Cocina Calavera on 4th Avenue in Hillcrest, Steak & Bones will offer a modern-industrial feel with touches of Mexican art, rustic brick walls, wood accents, warm lighting, newly added garage door windows to open up the space, and outdoor seating. The menu will include ribeye steak tacos, beef back ribs bone-in tacos, brisket tacos, birria tacos, lime marinated shrimp tacos, and bowls with an optional base of citrus rice, cauliflower rice, salad and all of the veggies and proteins available on the menu. Tortillas will be made to order and there will also be a selection of beer and wine with paring suggestions. 

Pitfire Pizza - An artisan pizza chain started in Los Angeles that currently has several locations around Southern California, Pitfire Pizza will open its first bar & restaurant in San Diego within Carlsbad's The Beacon La Costa plaza. Like other branches, the San Diego Pitfire Pizza will be pet-friendly and offer a seasonal menu centered around specialty wood-fired pizzas and pasta. There will also be options like wings, salads, shareable plates and gluten-free dishes. The San Diego location will also have a full bar with cocktails, beer and wine.   

Ramen King Keisuke - Fresh off its U.S. debut in Los Angeles earlier this year, Singapore-based Ramen King Keisuke has announced three locations set to open around San Diego, specifically in Del Mar's One Paseo (replacing Le Macaron), Carlsbad and Mission Valley. Expect a menu centered around Japanese ramen noodle soups, including a traditional 10-hour simmered Tonkotsu broth, the popular lobster broth ramen, and a new vegan ramen made with potato and mushroom broth. Some locations will also have a machine-operated maki-maker that pumps out California rolls or spicy tuna maki in less than a minute.

Randy's Donuts - Los Angeles' iconic Randy's Donuts will open within Stonecrest Plaza in Kearny Mesa for its first of nearly a dozen San Diego locations set to open in the coming years. At all Randy’s Donuts locations, customers can find over 60 different varieties of donuts along with Randy’s Rounds (Randy’s Donuts much larger version of a donut hole) and more, as well as a large variety of coffee drinks.

Jimmy John's Sandwiches - The franchisee behind the expansion of Dunkin' Donuts into San Diego has signed an agreement to bring more than 20 branches of Jimmy John's sandwich shop to America's Finest City. Founded by Jimmy John Liautaud in Charleston, IL, in 1983, Jimmy John's Sandwiches now has over 2,700 locations in 43 states around the U.S., with 98% of them being franchises. Jimmy John's menu of signature and customizable sandwiches are made with homemade bread that is freshly baked every four hours and locally purchased veggies and all-natural meats that are hand-sliced daily.

TopGolf - This popular driving range and entertainment venue is opening not one but two locations in San Diego County. In addition to a $40 million, 68,000 square-foot facility planned for San Diego's bayfront in the 8.5-acre site where the rental car companies were sited before relocating to their new headquarters, Topgolf International has plans for a second area outpost to open in Sorrento Valley. Current plans for Topgolf in Sorrento Valley are focused on Topgolf redeveloping the Carroll Canyon Golf Center, replacing it with a three-level venue equipped with the company's latest technology throughout its 80+ bays. The plans for the downtown San Diego location of Topgolf call for a three-level indoor/outdoor building to be constructed with 102 hitting bays in addition to gaming areas, an all-day restaurant, multiple bars, event spaces, parking for 450, and a public deck with prime views of downtown San Diego's skyline. Topgolf has been trying to negotiate a location to open a San Diego branch since 2015. The earliest either San Diego Topgolf would open would be in late 2023. 

Cocina 35 Liberty Station - Known for having some of the best chilaquiles in town, Cocina 35 will soon bring its Mexican brunch options to San Diego's Liberty Station, taking over the 4,700 square-foot space previously occupied by Soda & Swine. Like other outposts of Cocina 35, expect a menu of "Comida Corrida" build your own brunch plate with a variety of chilaquiles options and toppings, as well as egg scrambles, Cajeta toasts, pancakes, tortas, burritos, tacos, and more. The new location may extend hours beyond breakfast and will also have a full bar with cocktails, beer and wine.

Mamá Por Dios - The Los Angeles-based restaurant group behind the Culichitown chain of Mexican-Japanese restaurants has taken over the enormous space in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter that last housed BiCE for the opening of Mamá Por Dios, an upscale Mexican restaurant and bar. Earlier this year, the company opened La Conde, an elegant, Latin-American fusion eatery in the former Donovan's space in downtown San Diego. At Mamá Por Dios, expect an extensive menu of modernized Mexican dishes, including seafood appetizers, salads, prime steaks and wagyu beef, side dishes, and house specialties like camarones Costa Azul shrimp stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. There will also be a full bar with cocktails, beer and wine, as well as liquor lockers stocked with high-end bottles which come at a cost of over $1,500 to rent. 

Little Italy Fish Shop
- The team behind The Fish Shop restaurants, which has three locations around San Diego County, has plans to open a branch in the Little Italy neighborhood. Little Italy Fish Shop is being constructed on State Street in the lot behind Pappalecco where a small standalone home previously sat. Like other Fish Shops, the incoming Little Italy location will be a counter-service restaurant centered around fresh seafood available for onsite dining or take-away from a glass seafood case, offered to be customized with a bunch of seasonings and sauces and served as a taco, sandwich, salad or plate. Behind the bar, expect a dedication to local craft beer, as well as a value-oriented $5 corkage fee so that customers can bring in their own wine. The restaurant will also offer a small dog-friendly patio.

Nolita Hall Team's Coronado Project - The prime Coronado space that last housed the short lived Boardwalk Beach Club has been taken over by Nolita Hall's parent company for the opening of a new bar & restaurant concept set to unveil next year. Creative House has recently took over the 6,500 square-foot unit in Coronado Plaza that previously housed Blue Bridge Hospitality's Boardwalk Beach Club and Maretalia Ristorante (and Vigilucci's) before that. After a substantial remodel, the company plans to launch a new restaurant concept with a full bar in the space, which sits only a block from the Pacific Ocean and only a short distance from the historic Hotel Del Coronado.

Malibu Farm - Los Angeles-based Malibu Farm restaurant is opening its first San Diego location in downtown's Seaport Village, taking over the space occupied by The Harbor House for four decades. The 14,000 square-foot restaurant will give way to an airy, SoCal-inspired dining destination, an ice cream & espresso bar, and a curated home goods boutique. 

La Borra Del Café - As part of an aggressive expansion into California, Mexican coffee shop chain La Borra Del Café is opening several locations around San Diego. Inspired by a novel of the same name by Uruguayan writer Mario Benedetti, the cafes offer a menu of Mexican pastries like conchas and orejitas, as well as strudels, salads, toasts, frappes, Mexican hot chocolate, and coffee. There are currently plans to open La Borra Del Café outposts in La Jolla and in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter. Each cafe will be designed to reflect its specific neighborhood and operate as welcoming social and public work spaces. The coffee drinks and food offerings are also unique to each branch, as the brand typically partners with an area female baker to produce its baked goods.

Baja Sharkeez Restaurant Group Pacific Beach Concept
- An experienced Los Angeles-based restaurant group has taken over the Crystal Pier-adjacent, 5,500 square-foot building that last housed Fat Fish Cantina Grill in San Diego's Pacific Beach and will open a California lifestyle-inspired bar & restaurant. The incoming Pacific Beach bar & restaurant will offer a menu created by corporate chef Raymond Alvarez. Expect California-inspired spins on American classics, including shareable bar bites, wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, salads and entrees. In addition to the food program, the former Fat Fish space will feature a dining-conducive full service bar specializing in handcrafted cocktails, wine and 30 local brews on tap. Located just steps away from the Crystal Pier, at the intersection of Garnet and Mission Boulevard, the new bar and restaurant will offer a beach bungalow feel with a wraparound, outdoor patio and interconnected rooms with a casual, homey vibe.

Queenstown Public House La Jolla
 - New Zealand-inspired Queenstown Public House is opening a new location in the heart of La Jolla Village, taking over the space that housed Karl Strauss Brewing Company for nearly 25 years. The new location is expected to offer an eclectic brunch, lunch and dinner menu featuring shareable small plates, soups, salads, sandwiches and Kiwi favorites like meat pies, lamb, grilled shrimp and New Zealand's creative Fergburger-style burgers made with organic grass-fed beef, chicken and other exotic meats. Guests will also be able find a selection wine and craft beer from New Zealand and from all all over the globe, as well as craft cocktails, house-made sangria and more. 

Gladstone's - Gladstone’s is a historic beachside restaurant that was founded in Malibu by Robert J. Morris in 1972. The restaurant reportedly sells 35 tons of crab, 65,000 lobsters and 19 gallons of clam chowder each year. As their first location in San Diego County, Gladstone’s will open in a 9,684 square-foot space with an outdoor wrap-around patio located along the promenade that long housed Edgewater Grill at Seaport Village. The restaurant will bring a fresh, new concept with a focus on classic seafood dishes including fish plates, king crab, Maine lobster, and more.

Shorebird Restaurant
 - With successful launches in Newport Beach, CA, and Sedona, AZ, Shorebird will bring its coastal flavors and relaxed vibes to its third location opening within Seaport Village. An emerging concept under the Wild Thyme Restaurant Group umbrella, the menus boast sophisticated culinary techniques and casual plating styles with its scratch-made kitchen headed by Director of Culinary Chef Jay Bogsinske. Shorebird will open in an approximately 2,272 square-foot, two-story over-water structure that last housed Pier Café on San Diego Bay in Seaport Village. 

El Sueño - The owners of Trattoria Don Pietro are expanding their presence in San Diego's Old Town with the opening of El Sueño, an upscale Mexican restaurant offering an enormous dining space inspired by cartel lavishness and a rooftop lounge that will transport diners to the Mexican jungle. The 3,744 square-foot standalone building will receive a complete remodel to transform it into what owners hope patrons will perceive as a villa hidden deep in the Mexican rainforest. Expect total seating for around 600 patrons with lots of white stone work, an expansive courtyard-type dining area with two large bars, an outdoor patio with a stone floor covered with aztec designs with grass and greenery peaking through, and a rooftop bar and lounge with frequent DJ-spun music performances 

The Friendly Kearny Mesa
- The team behind San Diego pizza & burger destination The Friendly will open their fourth location in the space that last housed Chung's Hair Barber Shop in the small Convoy Street plaza that also houses Tajima Ramen and Steamy Piggy. Like The Friendly Tavern, the new branch will be devoted to flat top smashed patty burgers, fries, onion rings, and other special dishes like a pizza burger, pork belly sandwich, and a chicken sandwich with chicken liver pate, confit chicken thighs and crispy chicken skins. Food will be served from a fast-casual communal counter and open kitchen where cooks will interact with patrons.
Papas On Prospect - San Diego businessman "Papa" Doug Manchester is in the process of returning to the La Jolla space where he last operated Bijou bar & restaurant for the opening of a new concept dubbed Papas On Prospect. Bijou abruptly shuttered in spring 2015 and the centrally located La Jolla space sat dormant for a few years before becoming Covo La Jolla, a Mediterranean restaurant from longtime restaurateur and industry insider Michael Viscuso. Covo ended its run in March 2019 and the 10,000 square-foot space has not been occupied since.
Kindred's University Heights Project
- Fresh off the recent opening of its new "tropical space adventure bar" Mothership, the crew behind Kindred in South Park is working on another plant-based bar & restaurant to open in the center of San Diego's University Heights neighborhood. Team Kindred has taken over the 4,500 square-foot building that last housed a community office space at 4608-10 Park Boulevard directly under the University Heights sign for a new bar and restaurant concept, possibly with a speakeasy component. While details are still very much in development, expect the unit to receive a modern redesign and open with an ambitious craft cocktail list and a completely vegan menu from Kindred's longtime chef Dylan Craver.

Leila - San Diego's ever-expanding Consortium Holdings hospitality group (Born & Raised, Craft & Commerce) is working on the opening of Leila, a Mediterranean-style bar & restaurant sited at 3956 30th Street in North Park. Little information is currently available about the project, but it is expected to be the company's focus once The Lafayette and Starlite are complete, with an opening anticipated for some point in late 2023. 

Angry Pete's Santee Lakes
- After only a year-and-a-half in business, Tin Fish has shuttered its lakefront location at Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve & Campground this past fall and will soon be replaced by a branch of Angry Pete's Detroit-style pizza. Angry Pete's will offer a rotating menu of Detroit-style pan pizza and specialty items like Michegan-style "Coney" chili hotdogs, smash burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, and other comfort foods. Pizzas will be available for onsite consumption and take-away with suggestions for pairing from the line of craft beers and beverages. Customers will also be able to purchase Angry Pete's signature habanero honey.

The Whaling Bar - After more than 60 years in business, La Valencia Hotel's historic The Whaling Bar was rebranded in 2013, but the iconic San Diego resort is in the process of bringing back the much-loved nautical-themed cocktail lounge. The Whaling Bar is expected to reopen soon, taking the place of Café La Rue. The famous 1940s-era Wing Howard paintings will return to the bar and a new food menu will be introduced by La Valencia Executive Chef Fabian Garcia Aceves. Expect a classic-style cocktail lounge feel and a drink menu that will certainly include the bar's signature beverage "The Whaler's Grog".

Tajima Crown Point
- San Diego's original chain of Japanese ramen restaurants, Tajima is continuing its local expansion and has plans to open a branch in the Crown Point area of Pacific Beach, replacing a nearly half-century-old breakfast eatery. Tajima has taken over the 1,990 square-foot space long occupied by The Menu in the Crown Point neighborhood of Pacific Beach. Like other branches, the Crown Point restaurant is expected to serve a menu centered around a variety of ramen noodle soups, Japanese appetizers and rice bowls, as well as a many beers on tap, wine and sake.

Round 1 - Japan-based entertainment venue chain Round 1 Bowling & Amusement will open its first San Diego location as part of an aggressive United States expansion. The first San Diego location of Round 1 Bowling & Amusement was previously scheduled to open within Westfield North County Mall in Escondido, but plans have changed and it will now install in Westfield Plaza Bonita Mall in National City. Like other branches, expect the venue to offer a variety of bowling, karaoke, video game arcades and redemption games, billiards, darts, and ping pong, while serving an array of tavern food and beverages.

As always, if there are any places we missed on this list or if you have any tips/information you'd like to share, please send an email to [email protected]