Foodie Flashes: May 11, 2018

North Park will soon see the arrival of a tasting room and restaurant by 619 Spirits, a local distillery established several years ago as a wholesaler and which is now headquartered in the East Village. The company specializes in vodka with various infusions and will allow customers to build their own cocktails with the vodkas via electronic tablets. The space will span more than 4,000 square feet and feature a full bar, a dining area serving lunch and dinner, an outdoor patio, and a production area with stills. It’s due to open by mid-June. 3015 Lincoln Ave.


Courtesy 619 Spirits




Chef Brad Wise and business partner Steve Schwob, the managing partners behind 100 Proof and Trust in Hillcrest, are opening a third Uptown venture in the coming months—this time in Mission Hills.

“We’re still ironing out the concept and name,” said Wise, revealing only that it will be “an elevated restaurant” in The Fort, which is a mixed-use Jonathan Segal building. 1011 Fort Stockton.


MO’s Universe Group has added a chic restaurant-lounge to its portfolio of eating and drinking establishments, all located within Hillcrest. Named insideOUT because customers essentially end up under partly open skies after walking inside, the LGBT-owned venture occupies the ground floor of the new, striking-red Eitol Towers apartment complex at 1642 University Ave.

The restaurant boasts a sizable bar, a reflecting pool and a terraced patio with built-in wood benches. It opened quietly on April 27 without much marketing hoopla.

Co-owner Matty Ramon and general manager Paris Sukomi Max (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

“We didn’t want to overwhelm the staff,” said Matty Ramon, a partner in the restaurant group, which also operates Baja Betty’s, Hillcrest Brewing Company, Gossip Grill and Urban MO’s. He added that the project was nearly two years in the making and describes it as “an elevated oasis.”

Heading the kitchen is executive chef and co-owner Maryjo Testa, whose menu points to grilled Spanish-style octopus, Moroccan-spiced chicken tagine, and filet mignon cooked tableside on hot stones. The cocktail, wine and beer lists were created by Mo Girton of Gossip Grill. She, too, is a co-owner along with entrepreneurs Chris Shaw and Stefan Chilcote, and architect Mike Burnett.

When asked how insideOUT might affect competition within the neighborhood, and whether it will impact establishments within MO’s Universe Group, Ramon said, “Our goal is to cooperate with other businesses within the community and create more business for everybody rather than steal it away. It’s all about working together.” 619-888-8623,


The lease for Paesano in North Park is up for grabs through the property brokerage firm, Location Matters. The restaurant’s proprietor, Joe Romano, owns the building and has yet to decide whether he will retire or reopen at a different San Diego location once a tenant is found.

An iconic Italian restaurant in North Park may disappear (Courtesy of Location Matters)

Paesano originally opened on nearby Ray Street in 1967 by Romano’s parents. The restaurant moved to its current address in 1972 and has become a mainstay for pizzas and classic American-Italian entrees.

According to broker agent Mike Spilky, “We’re talking to multiple people interested in leasing the space for restaurant use. And we’re looking for a long-term tenant that will be good for the community.” 3647 30th St., 619-291-4090,


San Diego’s first omakase-only sushi bar is due to open in Kearny Mesa by mid-summer. Named Hidden Fish, the 1,000-square-foot space will feature only 13 seats and offer dining sessions lasting either 30 or 90 minutes.

An intimate omakase sushi bar is coming to San Diego (Courtesy of Alternative Strategies)

The Japanese term “omakase” means that customers leave the selection of what they eat up to the chef. Here, the menu will be void of pedestrian fare such as miso soup and California rolls and instead feature artistic constructs using ingredients like local sea urchin, sea bream, caviar and truffles.

The restaurant is headed by chef John Hong (known also as Chef Kappa). He was previously the lead chef at Bang Bang in the Gaslamp Quarter. 4764 Convoy St., Suite A,

— Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at

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