Spitfire Tacos & Head Lettuce Both Shutter In San Diego's University City

February 27, 2024

The founder of SoCal-born burger & beer chain Slater's 50/50 has permanently closed dual restaurant concepts Spitfire Tacos and Head Lettuce in San Diego's University City. 

After starting and selling a successful hot dog stand business before the 2008 recession hit, San Diego State University alum Scott Slater launched his first Slater's 50/50 in Anaheim in 2009 and gained an immediate following for a menu of bacon-infused burgers and an early devotion to the craft beer industry. The company grew to numerous locations in California with restaurants in Anaheim Hills, Huntington Beach, Rancho Cucamonga, Pasadena, San Marcos and San Diego's Liberty Station.

In late 2016, Slater sold all six Slater’s 50/50 restaurants to Elite Restaurant Group with hopes of a future national expansion. Then in 2019, Slater turned his attention back to opening up comforting restaurant concepts and launched two fast-casual eateries side-by-side in the University City area of La Jolla - burrito-focused Spitfire Tacos and build-your-own salad and bowls eatery Head Lettuce. In 2021, Slater opened the central cocktail bar called Understory in partnership with Le Parfait Paris at Del Mar's restaurant collective The Sky Deck.

In July 2021, Slater signed a lease on the 4,000 square-foot building located on the corner of Garnet Avenue and Mission Boulevard in Pacific Beach that housed a location of Denny's from 1966 until it closed following an alleged arson in October 2018. Named Mission + Garnet, the concept now houses eight separate eateries, including versions of Spitfire Tacos and Head Lettuce, as well as Earlybird Breakfast Burritos, Scotty Dogs hot dog stand, the Checkered Churro desserts, and more. 

Slater has now shuttered his UTC locations of Head Lettuce and Spitfire Tacos after being unable to come to new lease terms with the buildings landlord. The concepts remain in operation at Mission + Garnet food hall in Pacific Beach.

For more information on Spitfire Tacos and Head Lettuce, visit spitfiretacos.com and theheadlettuce.com.