By Frank Sabatini Jr.
After shuttering 16 years ago, The BBQ Pit in North Park has reopened. Former longtime employee Tony Daniel purchased the standing lease, did some minor remodeling, and brought back the original menu items.
“All of the recipes are the same as before, although I added mac n’ cheese and pulled pork,” he said.
Known for its in-house smoked ribs and sliced roast beef sandwiches, the eatery has two other locations under different ownership in National City and El Cajon. 2888 University Ave., 619-298-2400.
Look for bowls, burritos, and street tacos, including those filled with grilled octopus or cactus, at the new El Zarape Mexican Eatery in Normal Heights. As an offshoot to El Zarape at 4642 Park Blvd., the menu also carries that eatery’s famous lobster burritos and 99-cent fish tacos. In addition, brunch items such as chiliquiles and machaca with eggs are available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Saturdays and Sundays. 3038 Adams Ave., 619-794-0358, elzarapeeatery.com.
Locals and their friends or family members arriving into town via San Diego International Airport are entitled to a glass of beer or wine at half off the regular price at 57 Degrees if they show their boarding passes at the bar. Located in Middletown, the spacious establishment also recently introduced several new fall-winter dishes by New Orleans native, Esteff DeFelice. They include fried green tomatoes, sesame-crusted seared ahi, PEI mussels, and house-made chocolate mousse. 1735 Hancock St., 619-234-5757, fiftysevendegrees.com.
Pappalecco is adding a fifth San Diego location to its portfolio, which already includes operations in Little Italy, Hillcrest, Kensington and Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Its newest outpost in Del Mar Highlands is scheduled to open by the end of December. The company was established nine years ago in Little Italy and is lauded for its Tuscan-style gelatos, coffees, pizzas and sandwiches. 12925 El Camino Real, pappalecco.com.
Citing escalating rents, crime and a general malaise that has crept into the Hillcrest business community, Steve Price of Filter Coffee House recently announced in an email to community leaders and local media that he is closing the University Avenue business Dec. 24.
The coffee shop, which was established originally in North Park, moved to its existing location more than six years ago and served as a hub for various arts groups, students, and LGBT organizations, which included Pozabilities.
In thanking his staff and customers for their longtime support, Price concluded by stating: “… as everything, Filter has run its course.” 1295 University Ave., 619-299-0145.
Farewell Salt & Cleaver. The restaurant and bar, known for its gourmet sausages and imaginative libations, closed Dec. 21 after a four-year run in the village section of Hillcrest. Lagging patronage was reportedly the cause and the ownership posted a heartfelt message to patrons on its Facebook page, stating in part: “True friendships have been forged within our walls, and without a doubt that is the hardest part about saying goodbye.” 3805 Fifth Ave.
Restaurateur Scott Slater recently sold all six locations of Slater’s 50/50 to Elite Restaurant Group Inc., a Los Angeles-based firm that will franchise Slater’s bacon-centric menu and retain its focus on craft beer in an effort to expand nationally. Slater’s decision to sell the brand coincided with his closing of S&M Sausage and Meat in University Heights.
Sales broker Mike Spilky of Location Matters told Gay San Diego that the two San Diego locations of Slater’s 50/50 (Liberty Station and San Marcos) have already been acquired by franchisees through Elite and assured neither will be closing.
The restaurant has other units throughout Southern California in Anaheim Hills, Pasadena, Huntington Beach and Rancho Cucamonga. slaters5050.com.
A third San Diego location of Dirty Birds opened Dec. 12 in Liberty Station, at the lip of The Loma Club’s nine-hole golf course. The 3,000-square-foot space was home to a location of Wine Steals a couple years ago.
Famous for its 30-plus varieties of house-made chicken wing sauces, the new spot is distinguished by a nautical theme reflecting the locale. In addition to wings, the menu extends to salads, burgers, pizzas and desserts amid a full bar and multiple flat-screen TVs. 2970 Truxton Road, 619-756-7576, dirtybirdsbarandgrill.com.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.