Swagyu Unveils Butcher Shop & Pop-Up Eatery In San Diego's Little Italy

April 16, 2024

Swagyu has opened a new butcher shop and pop-up eatery on India Street in San Diego's Little Italy. 

Chef Steve Brown is recovering from a tough year of scaling back his Swagyu butcher shop and burger eatery. Earlier this year, he took over the small space that long housed a branch of Grab N Go Subs and most recently was the short-lived Blue Box Butcher on India Street in San Diego's Little Italy. 

Over the past weekend, Brown quietly soft opened Butcher Shop by Swagyu Cattle Co., which will sell meat from Brown's Swagyu Wildlife Ranch in Ramona, as well as cuts of American, Japanese and Australian Wagyu. Brown also will use the space to host multi-course tasting menu meals and frequent pop-ups where he will grill meat and other prepared foods. The store will host its grand opening on Saturday, April 20.

Chef Steve Brown opened his first Swagyu Chop Shop in summer 2020 at 1002 Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach, with a second location launched in Poway soon after. In 2021, Brown took over the 19-year-old Isabel's Cantina in Pacific Beach for a branch of his butcher shop and steakhouse Swagyu Burger & Chop Shop, but that branch closed last summer. 

Other branches of Swagyu were in the works for the space previously occupied by Schooner Station Pizzeria & Sports Pub in Encinitas and as part of the currently under-construction Freeman Collective in South Oceanside, but neither of those projects came to be. A complaint for breach of contract was filed against Brown's parent company regarding the Oceanside lease. There have also been several other small claims suits filed against Brown in recent weeks. The Oceanside space is now set to become the first brick-and-mortar location of Tanner's Prime Burgers, which is scheduled to open this Friday.

Last September, Brown opened a branch of Swagyu Burger within a CloudKitchens space at 1750 Newport Boulevard in Costa Mesa, CA. There is also a branch located at 14149 Twin Peaks Road in San Diego's Poway neighborhood. The Swagyu Imperial Beach location, which Brown previously stated would be his flagship branch moving forward, has been closed since early August. Brown has assured this is only temporary and the IB location would reopen soon, but it is not listed on the company's website. The Swagyu Burger website currently lists locations coming soon to Barrio Food Hub, Pacific Beach, UTC/Westfield, Coronado, and Los Angeles.

Butcher Shop by Swagyu Cattle Co. is now open at 2102 India Street in San Diego's Little Italy. For more information, visit swagyuburger.com.