San Diego Downtown News

Davis Ink

April 3, 2015

What was long ago The Marble Room will become Rustic Root, an ambitious new project headed by the team that recently opened Don Chido and has stakes in other downtown businesses: the RMD Group (Fluxx nightclub), Ken Lovi (Knotty BarrelGastropub) and Don Chido’s chef, Antonio Friscia. Their latest venture will present Gaslamp crawlers with “rustic American” cuisine and a bevy of classic and contemporary cocktails available in shots as well as full glasses. A rooftop to the structure is currently being created, complete with gas-lamp lighting as the 2,500-square-foot main dining at street level gives way to life-size animal topiary. Rustic Root is expected to open in May. 535 Fifth Ave., A restaurant with a theme we haven’t seen before in San Diego is coming this fall by restaurateur Michael Rosen and Chef Richard Blais, both of Juniper & Ivy. On the same block they will be launching The Crack Shack with a menu that’s all about chicken and eggs made every which way. The free-range, non-GMO proteins will be sourced from local farms in addition to produce accompanying the dishes. A “bread program” is also planned for the restaurant, which will go into a vacated mechanics shop at the corner of Juniper and Kettner streets in Little Italy.


In honor of Mexico’s long-celebrated National Children Day (El Dia Del Nino), kids and teens 18 years or younger can land a free ice cream sundae from 11 a.m. to midnight, April 30 at Don Chido in the Gaslamp District. 527 Fifth Ave., 619-232-8226. Whether the government has given you money or wants more of it, RA Sushi is the place to celebrate (or skimp) on April 15 during its “Tax Day happy hour.” The entire, regular happy-hour menu will be available all day. Items include hot sake for $3.75, fizzy “blushing geisha” cocktails with Skyy Raspberry Vodka for $6 plus salmon nigiri and other plates starting at $4.49. 474 Broadway St., 619-231-0021.


The latest and greatest releases from Santa Rita Hills Wine Growers Alliance in Santa Barbara County will be the focus at Marina Kitchen for two winemaker dinners on April 11, plus a seminar and “grand tasting barbecue” on April 12. The latter is scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m., and will include tastings of 25 different wines along with various barbecue samples for $100. For further details and ticket information, call the restaurant. 333 W. Harbor Drive, 619-699-8222. A group of top chefs from Downtown and the surrounding areas are taking part in a series of dinners and drink pairings to raise funds for Chef Celebration, a nonprofit organization established 20 years ago that provides scholarships to local, aspiring chefs. Each event involves several chefs cooking either five-course meals at various restaurants or crafting small dishes for a master beer tasting at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Liberty Station on May 3. Among those taking part in the month-long series are: Sara Polczynski of The Blind Burro for a dinner at Terra American Bistro on April 7; Chad White of Comun Kitchen & Tavern for a dinner at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse on April 14, which also includes in-house chef Lance Repp; Tim Kolanko of Coronado’s Stake Chophouse & Bar (and Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge) teaming up with Amy DiBiase at Tidal on April 28, plus more.


Last year, the annual Chef Celebration dinner series sent 12 area cooks to a weeklong training course at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone in Napa, CA. Since its inception, it has raised more than $150,000 in scholarship monies.


For a complete schedule and prices, visit


As the ongoing remodel of Gaslamp Tavern nears completion, its owners are preparing to open Quad Ale House a floor above in late April. The space will make way for more than two dozen taps reserved exclusively for craft beer along with a menu of salads, sandwiches and house-roasted meats. 868 Fifth Ave., 619- 239-3339.


Allison McGrath and husband John Clute are launching a creperie at 721 Eighth Ave., a block away from their beloved Café Chloe in the East Village. The venture, still unnamed, is slated to open in fall of this year and will feature a quaint dining room as well as a walk-up window.


“We were always looking to expand in a gentle way and this seemed like a good next step,” says McGrath, adding that the newly acquired space will be used for private parties until the creperie opens. The 10-year-old Café Chloe is located at 721 Ninth Ave., 619-232-3242.


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