Chef Drew Bent's Papalo Sonoran Barbecue Kitchen Opening In San Diego's La Mesa

October 22, 2023

Chef Drew Bent's Papalo Sonoran Barbecue Kitchen recently bid farewell to San Diego's East Village, but it will soon reopen as a standalone bar & restaurant in La Mesa.

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. This past September, six months into a six year contract with Modbom, Chef Bent removed his Papalo eatery from inside the establishment. ModBom is currently listed for sale and will be closing after next weekend's service.

While initially planning a reopening in San Diego's East Village, Chef Bent has now taken over the 2,250 square-foot space previously occupied by Boss Bird Kitchen to unveil his Papalo bar and restaurant in the heart of downtown La Mesa this November. Anticipate finding the same beloved menu of Sonoran barbecue flavors, available in both sandwich and platter options, along with a distinctive selection of specialty dishes and rotating menu items. The restaurant will also feature a full bar offering craft cocktails, local beer, other hard beverages, and wine.

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.

Papalo will open on November 3 at 8323 La Mesa Boulevard in La Mesa Village. For more information, follow Papalo on Instagram.