Owner Chuck Ross welcomes hotel and restaurant into Fiesta de Reyes family
By Dave Fidlin | SDUN Reporter
One of San Diego’s most deeply entrenched historic sites has shifted management, and a few changes are on the horizon, the new operator said.
Chuck Ross, owner of Old Town Family Hospitality Corp., has assumed operation of the Cosmopolitan Restaurant & Hotel, located at 2660 Calhoun St. in Old Town. Four years ago, Ross held the concession for the Cosmopolitan, but different operators had been running the business.
As he takes over the day-to-day management, Ross said there will be some fine-tuning to their operations plan. It is all an effort, he said, designed to springboard off recent success. The entire facility will remain open as the transition is taking place.
“This is a place that offers a niche with its style and level of service,” Ross said. “We’re just looking to build on that.”
At the moment, Ross and his staff are in the process of creating new menus that should be unveiled in early August. A few minor touch-ups – including work on the patio – are also in the works.
“We are very excited to push the boundaries of what people expect to find when they come to Old Town,” Ross said. “We want to provide a complete fine dining experience.”
Ross said the change in business strategy came to fruition for a number of reasons. The former operators are moving on to new business pursuits, and Ross said he wanted to add the Cosmopolitan to his Fiesta de Reyes portfolio of restaurants and shops that already exist within the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
The Cosmopolitan underwent a well-publicized multimillion-dollar restoration that spanned three years. When it reopened July 2010, the facility mirrored its appearance in 1869 with a mixture of indoor and outdoor seating, saloons, hotel rooms and an area for private dining.
More recently, Ross has also been focusing his efforts on rebuilding his two additional restaurants – Casa de Reyes and the Barra Barra Saloon – and 19 shops within the park. He said this was part of the reason he opted to have other professionals operate the Cosmopolitan in recent years.
Fred Grand, president of the Old Town Chamber of Commerce, said he was pleased with the recent announcement concerning the Cosmopolitan.
“I have a very high opinion of Chuck Ross,” Grand said. “[The Cosmopolitan] is a very important part of Old Town. The ambitious renovation work has been amazing. I think it’s the gold standard of historic preservation.”
Grand said all of the venues within the Old Town Historic Park serve an important function to residents and visitors alike.
“It’s a 50-50 kind of thing, where it needs to appeal to locals and visitors,” Grand said. “You have to make sure you don’t ignore either group. Chuck is very aware of that.”
The Cosmopolitan’s roots go back more than 175 years. When construction began in 1827, the building originally served as the home of San Diego pioneer Juan Bandini. The building is one of the few in the state representing a 19th century commercial space intermingling Mexican adobe and American wood-framing techniques.