SD Food News

Johnny Hash House takes over Brian’s; Tender Greens Downtown; Urban Plates expands



Tender Greens

Tender Greens

Johnny Rivera strikes again. Half of the twisted brain trust behind Hash House A-Go-Go and The Tractor Room, Rivera’s going on his own to take over Brian’s American Eatery—the all-night eatery long famous for eggs and 3AM purple hooter breath. The plan? A “Euro dinette”—which is a heretofore nonexistent concept that exists only in the heads of creative people like Rivera. “I used to eat at Topsy’s (a classic restaurant that preceded Brian’s) when I was a kid,” says Rivera. “I want to do it right. I’m going to the Historical Society, I want to find the soul of it and what makes it tick.” Hash House just opened another location in Chicago, and will open in Connecticut on Dec. 18. At the Hillcrest original, they’re currently doing their 12 Greatest Hits—offering their breakfast classic breakfast hashes and cereal creations during dinner—from now until February to celebrate 12 years. The Tractor Room news, they’ll be open for brunch on Thanksgiving and Black Friday—four straight brunches of big-ass farm food. More news on the Brian’s location to come…

Fresh off the opening of their UTC location, Tender Greens—the fresh salad and charcuterie joint that’s turned local chef Pete Balistreri into a meat hero—has locked up their next spot. They’ll take over the former Greyhound bus station in Downtown (120 W. Broadway). Chef Bradley Austin (ex-Lodge at Torrey Pines) will be the chef at that location. The crew at Currant Brasserie and Sofia hotel have to be thrilled. The congregation at Greyhound’s corner was more of a magnet for DEA agents than bistro regulars. It’s set to open in April (-ish). Meanwhile, Balistreri is becoming The Salumi Guy in town. He’s gearing up to launch his Pete Balistreri Salumeria—a wholesale enterprise with salami cotto, Salami Point Loma (rosemary-garlic), chile flake-and-fennel salami, prosciutto, speck, smoked guanciale and lardo. Currently, you can taste his carnivore catnip at Blind Lady Ale House, The Lodge at Torrey Pines and Beaumont’s Eatery in Bird Rock.

The Via de la Valle corridor is heating up with the looming completion of Flower Hill Promenade’s multimillion-dollar overhaul. Flower Hill is getting Cucina Enoteca and a Burger Lounge. Across the street, the gourmet salad-and-stuff concept Urban Plates is launching a spinoff concept called Urban Pie. Going into the former Pasta Pronto space (2673 Via De La Valle), it’s a very similar concept—only based around build-your-own-pizzas.  “We got a really nice pizza oven—I can’t even talk about it yet,” says exec chef Zachary Lennox. That’s some top-secret oven. Must run on spotted owl bones. This group was franchise-focused from the start and is killing it at Del Mar Highlands; now they’ve got a concept for a big space (Urban Plates) and small (U. Pie).

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Restaurant reviews, food trends, top cocktails, wine, beer and generally the best eats and drinks in San Diego, with reporting (read: eating) lead by food editor Troy Johnson. Looking for the Erins? Erin Chambers Smith and Erin Meanley? Find their most recent musings over at the Around Town blog. And yes, we know that one needs a new name. We're working on it. 

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