San Diego's 17-Year-Old Starlite Bar & Restaurant As You Know It Is No More

January 26, 2024

San Diego's Consortium Holdings hospitality group (The Lafayette, Polite Provisions) has closed Starlite in Middletown after purchasing the beloved bar & restaurant in late 2022, and the company is now in the process of totally overhauling the concept. 

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 nearly two decades. In August 2021, 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 took over managerial responsibilities at Starlite. 

As of October 2022, Starlite became part of the portfolio of San Diego's ever-expanding restaurant collective Consortium Holdings, which operates many area bars and restaurants including Born & Raised, Ironside Fish & Oyster, The Lafayette Hotel and Raised By Wolves. Consortium Holdings shuttered Starlite at the start of the new year and the space is already gutted. What was originally billed as an "interior refresh" now looks to be a complete remodel of the space.

Originally, it was advertised that Starlite's original designers, Los Angeles-based firm Bells & Whistles (Animae, Campfire, Jeune et Jolie), would spearhead the redesign. In addition to a renovation, the menu was set to be overhauled by Chef Ted Smith, who previously worked at CH's Craft & Commerce and Born & Raised. The restaurant is anticipated to become an old-school steakhouse-style bar & restaurant with a menu centered around dry-aged meat and a continued focus on craft cocktails. We reached out to Consortium Holdings Chief Information Officer Brian Eastman for comment but did not receive a substantive response by the time of publication. 

In addition to Starlite, Consortium Holding is also working on several other projects. The company recently unveiled Lou Lou’s Jungle Room, a live music venue and supper club in the basement area of The Lafayette Hotel. They are also adding a spa concept inspired by Russian, Roman and Turkish bathhouses to the hotel, as well as a fine-dining restaurant named Le Horse Continental Room.

In addition to finishing its projects at The Lafayette and renovating Starlite, Consortium Holdings has also begun construction of Leila, a 5,000+ square-foot Persian bar & restaurant opening later this year on 30th Street in North Park. At Leila, expect a Middle Eastern, Lebanese and Persian-inspired fusion menu pumping out from an open kitchen helmed by Consortium's new Director of Culinary Operations, Perfecte Rocher. From the central bar, there will be a focus on Middle Eastern spirits, including Aragh sagi, which is a raisin-based spirit known as Iranian moonshine or "Persian Vodka", and Arak, a distilled Levantine spirit of the anise drinks family.

CH founder Arsalun 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.

Starlite is expected to reopen by this summer at 3175 India Street in San Diego's Little Italy. For more information, visit