INCOMING: The Patio on Goldfinch
P.B. success story expands into Mission Hills—restaurant row to come?
Posted Friday, October 18, 2013, 12:58PM
It’s not often you hear the words “Pacific Beach success story” when it comes to dining out, but that’s exactly what The Patio on Lamont Street has become. And now they’re doubling down in Mission Hills. Owner Gina Champion-Cain, chef John Medall and team have signed on for the long-abandoned, half-built restaurant space next to Lefty’s Pizza for The Patio on Goldfinch.
Like many local food pundits, both Champion-Cain and property owner Jeff Silberman (of Carleton Management) speak about a potential restaurant explosion in Mission Hills. “I live in north Mission Hills,” says Champion-Cain. “I always felt it was under-served with restaurants, so I was very happy when Red Door and Brooklyn Girl opened. I’m hoping Mission Hills can experience the same growth that North Park did on 30th Street—a sort of restaurant row. There is the density, with a lot of sophisticated people who eat out a lot.”
The ink on the lease is still wet, but Champion-Cain gives a few advance details on the 3,900 square-foot spot. Though certain menu items and personality traits from the P.B. location will carry over—focus on sustainability, farm-to-table ethics, dog-friendliness and the fact that “every Patio will have a patio"—the Goldfinch outpost will be concepted specifically for Mission Hills. Expect more seafood and a “refined” concept with a full liquor license that'll seat about 200 people. Lahaina Architects—who designed the original Patio, plus ArcLight Cinemas—will oversee the build-out, and they’ll be shooting for platinum LEED-certified with the help of Sustainability Matters. Like the P.B. location, most of the furniture will be handmade.
“We’ll have a cheese cave—we have an expert on staff,” says Champion-Cain. “We’ll also have a full display kitchen for teaching and show. We’ll have a chef’s table. And of course the patio with a living green wall and fireplace that’ll be pet-friendly.”
A real estate expert by trade, Champion-Cain helped bring House of Blues to the no-man’s land between the Gaslamp and the financial district. So when she speaks of her main philosophy—“restaurants have to know the ethos and the personality of that community and be part of the fabric”—she’s not just guessing. She’s run the demographics, analyzed retail analysis, identified the needs.
“I don’t believe in being somebody who comes into a neighborhood and says, ‘I’m a brilliant chef and restaurateur and force this down its throat,'" she explains.
So why did this building—originally started by restaurateur Phillipe Beltran, then abandoned when the economy dried up funds—sit abandoned for so long?
“I honestly don’t know,” says Silberman, a Mission Hills native whose company brought Snooze, D-Bar, Urban Outfitters, Bombay and Amici’s (coming soon) to Hillcrest. “About six months ago made contact with the owner, Phil Pace [of Phil’s BBQ]. We convinced him to let us buy the parcel. We’re very picky about who we do business with. We didn’t even list the property. Gina's got a proven track record—extraordinarily high integrity, very interested in sustainability, very involved in her community and philanthropy.”
Well OK, then. She sounds pretty great. Now let's see it. The Patio on Goldfinch is projecting an April/May open.
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