Proclamation announced at first Taste of Mission Hills event
By Anthony King | SDUN Editor
Council President Pro Tem Kevin Faulconer joined restaurant owners and community members for the first Taste of Mission Hills event on Oct. 16, in part to inaugurate International Restaurant Row. The new designation includes businesses within the Mission Hills Business Improvement District (BID) along India Street from Redwood to Washington streets.
“We know that we have such a unique neighborhood that attracts so many people from throughout the city and all parts of the state,” Faulconer said. “This neighborhood has really grown in stature as one of the best places to come enjoy a fantastic meal from so many different cuisines and cultures.”
The councilmember read a city proclamation, signed by the City Council and Mayor Jerry Sanders, declaring Oct. 16, 2012 as “International Restaurant Row Day.” Banners with the new moniker were unveiled as well, which are now hanging on street lamps throughout the area.
“I’m proud to partner with Uptown businesses to rebrand north India Street as International Restaurant Row, and share one of San Diego’s best kept secrets with the entire region,” Faulconer said after the event. “This conveniently walkable area features half a dozen cultural cuisines and some of San Diego’s most famous restaurants, all within a few blocks.”
Interest in the designation dates back almost 30 years, Saffron owner Su-Mei Yu said after the proclamation. Located on India Street, Saffron is one of the restaurants on International Restaurant Row and also participated in the Taste of Mission Hills event.
“Saffron opened … 27 years ago, and we have always felt that this whole block is an international block,” Yu said. “We would like for you to come and savor, and take a little bit of culture from different countries back with you.”
The branding effort was reexamined in 2005, through former Councilmember Michael Zucchet, but once again stalled. With the current Mission Hills BID, under Executive Director Gerri Trussell, the businesses and council decided it was time to move forward.
Faulconer highlighted how the designation would help the future of the area, saying the evening festivities were also about helping the economy. He invited “all San Diegans” to support the local restaurants.
“Tonight is celebrating what we have, but it’s also about growing our economy,” he said. “Rebranding this area … will help play a vital role, I think, in promoting India Street-north restaurants, and attracting new business [and] more visitors. That’s what this is all about.”
Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe owner Selina Stockley, who has been active on the Uptown Community Parking District, participated in the evening’s activities. She said concerns over parking played into the rebranding efforts, and was looking forward to what the designation would mean for the future as well.
“We are ready for bigger and better things. It’s always been great, but it’s gonna get better,” Stockley said. “This is the start of a new beginning.”
New to India Street, Rubicon Deli co-owner Evan Corsiglia also spoke at the dedication, saying his business was thankful to be a part of a growing neighborhood. “We look forward to being here for a long time, and it’s nice to be in the midst of a change and growing feel on this street,” he said.
In addition to Saffron, Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe and Rubicon Deli, International Restaurant Row includes several other restaurants, some of which were part of the first Taste of Mission Hills. Overall, 15 eateries participated in the Taste from within the entire business district. Old Town Trolley provided free shuttle service from India Street in lower Mission Hills to restaurants near the intersection of Washington and Goldfinch streets.
Participating establishments for the Taste included: Saffron, Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe, Rubicon Deli, Gelato Vera, Shakespeare Pub & Grille, Starlite Lounge and The Regal Beagle on India Street, as well as Brooklyn Girl Eatery, Lefty’s Chicago Pizzeria, Olivetto, The Wellington, The Red Door, Meshuggah Shack and Venissimo Cheese near Goldfinch and Washington streets. Cake Bakery, located on Reynard Way, participated as well, offering samples at Meshuggah Shack.