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Here’s Johnny!

Inside Johnny Rivera's latest spot, Great Maple

Johnny Rivera was on a plane heading east when he heard: Brian’s American Eatery was done. The San Diego native behind Hash House A Go Go and Tractor Room canceled his trip. Into the iconic spot he inserted his “Euro dinette” concept, Great Maple. No more 24-hour, beer-breath breakfasts. Ethically farmed dinner’s the focus. Lamb rack so tender, it’s chewable even with econo-dentures; portobello “fries” in pesto aioli; and the mascarpone cheesecake, oh Lord. This isn’t post-Pilates food. It’s sturdy, with Rivera’s skill for making dining an event. Case in point: the Red Light. Once it’s lit, servers haul a wooden plank into the dining room with various gifts for everyone, from crab cakes to Champagne. 1451 Washington Street, Hillcrest

Great Maple

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