Cucina Urbana to Del Mar

Tracy Borkum's next project goes big

Pizza from Cucina Urbana

Well, not technically Cucina Urbana. But just as good, if not better.

Cucina Enoteca—the spinoff of Cucina Urbana, Tracy Borkum’s insanely popular farm-chic restaurant—is going into the old Chevy’s Fresh Mexican spot at Flower Hill Promenade (2730 Via De La Valle). The move is the start of a national expansion for Borkum.

After the booming success of Cucina Urbana in Bankers Hill, Irvine Spectrum convinced her to open Cucina Enoteca in 2011. Now she’s bringing the concept to Del Mar and beyond. She plans to open Del Mar in spring/summer of 2013, then 10 more locations across the US over the next decade.

The two-story, 7,000 square-foot spot will host her signature restaurant-meets-wine shop, with exec chef Joe Magnanelli overseeing the kitchen with new chef de cuisine Andrew Bachelier (who worked at Addison and Cucina Urbana) and executive pastry chef Jack Fisher (ex-Nine-Ten, Montage Resort).


Enoteca will be a multimillion-dollar design project, with a portion of the space serving as an ode to equestrian culture—in honor of the Thoroughbred Club down the street. Details are scant, aside from a sky-high wall of wines, and another mural from local artist Tocayo (locals know his work from Urbana’s south wall). But expect Borkum’s flair for local custom and reclaimed design elements (orange wire chairs, vintage bird feeders, hand-screened aprons, you name it).

You a big fan of, say, that rustic birdcage? Order it off the menu. Seriously. Borkum has created Urban Kitchen Shop—an online space where diners can buy many of the design elements they love in the space. Or literally order them off menu at the hostess stand.

The concept will make Enoteca a hybrid design showroom and restaurant—incubator for local chefs and designers. To start, she’s tapped Monika Crawford (resident designer/retail buyer), Orness Design Group (for the kitchen), Mark Bausback (architect), and local star Jennifer Luce (spatial planning).

Expect to hear more Flower Hill Promenade news soon.

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