Cheesecake Factory-Owned Fox Restaurant Concepts Bringing Culinary Dropout Restaurant Concept To San Diego

March 7, 2024

The Cheesecake Factory-owned Fox Restaurant Concepts is looking to bring the first California location of its Culinary Dropout live music bar & restaurant to San Diego.

Fox Restaurant Concepts, the Arizona-based restaurant conglomerate majority owned by The Cheesecake Factory, has submitted plans to open a location of its Culinary Dropout restaurant in the space that currently houses Tilly's within Del Mar Highlands Town Center. This will be the first California branch of the modern American comfort food chain, with other outposts sited in Arizona, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas.

Culinary Dropout is an American tavern food restaurant and live music concept from Sam Fox, who has owned more than 100 restaurants since dropping out of the University of Arizona when he was 20 years-old. Since launching in 1998, his Fox Restaurant Concepts evolved to over a dozen different restaurant brands, including The Henry, North Italia, Flower Child, and Blanco's Tacos & Tequila, which all have locations in San Diego. In summer 2019, the Cheesecake Factory purchased Fox Restaurant Concepts for $308 million - resulting in the sale of 45 restaurants across 7 states and Washington D.C.. The deal also included an additional $45 million to be due based on profitability over the next four years.

Fox Restaurant Concepts claims it continues to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary from its headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. Fox allegedly owns a home in Coronado and splits his time between San Diego and Arizona.

In March 2020 during the first phase of the COVID-19 outbreak, Sam Fox launched a GoFundMe campaign entitled Fox Restaurant Concepts' Team Relief Fund. The crowd-sourcing campaigned raised nearly $90,000 of its half million dollar goal to "help furloughed employees", despite being owned by a company that generated approximately $2 billion in revenue worldwide in 2020. Fox Restaurant Concepts also ruffled feathers in San Diego after they failed to report employees testing positive for COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic when they were required to alert the County Health Department and public.

Fox Restaurant Concepts is also working on a new location of Blanco Tacos + Tequila to open later this year in Coronado. Blanco offers a menu of Mexican starters like nachos and guacamole, as well as larger portion items like quesadillas, salads, over 10 taco options, fajitas, burritos, rice bowls, and enchiladas.

There is no timeline on when Culinary Dropout is expected to open at 12875 El Camino Real within Del Mar Highlands Town Center in San Diego's Del Mar area. For more information, visit and check out the sample menu below.