Papalo Sonoran Barbecue Kitchen Relocating In San Diego's East Village

September 17, 2023

Earlier this year, dual concepts Modbom Cocktails and Papalo Kitchen replaced Amplified Ale Works in San Diego's East Village, but Chef Drew Bent's Sonoran-style barbecue eatery is departing the downtown space in order to open a standalone restaurant.

This past February, Amplified Ale Works longtime art director Aubree Miller took over Amplified's 5,000 square-foot East Village branch adjacent to Fault Line Park at the corner of 14th and Island. With the help of investor Brian Rubinstein, Miller partnered with longtime area chef Andrew "Drew" Bent to bring a new joint venture bar and restaurant to San Diego's East Village. Named after the word for a visual palindrome, Modbom Cocktails x Papalo Kitchen offered three concepts under one roof. The entrance houses a cafe component serving coffee drinks and morning-focused meals, and the main area had a full Sonoran barbecue food menu from Chef Bent and a cocktail bar. The property's onsite Acid Vault music-fueled basement speakeasy and live music space remained as is. 

Well now six months into a six year contract with Modbom, Chef Bent is removing his Papalo eatery from inside the establishment after this weekend to reopen as a standalone restaurant at his own yet-to-be disclosed space in the East Village. When Papalo reopens in approximately three week, expect the same menu of Sonoran barbecue flavors in sandwich and platter form, as well as a unique array of specialty dishes and rotating menu items. 

Chef Drew Bent was the founding chef behind San Diego's Michelin-recognized Lola 55 modern taqueria before departing the company last year to launch Papalo sister concept Papalito inside the now-defunct Little Thief wine bar in North Park. Bent also had plans to bring a location of Papalo to San Diego's South Park, but that has since fallen through

With Papalo's departure, Modbom will turn the kitchen over to Chef Anthony Bruno, who was previously the executive chef of Harbor House Restaurant in Seaport Village. The new eatery will offer a progressive yet homey Southwestern-inspired American menu. In conjunction with the new food menu, Modbom will launch a new cocktail menu to match. 

Papalo's last day of business inside ModBom is Sunday, September 17.