By Frank Sabatini Jr.
Ralph’s Grocery & Pharmacy at the HUB shopping center in Hillcrest is nearing completion of a major remodel that has already included an extensive olive bar and a section devoted to hundreds of different cheeses from Murray’s, a company established in Greenwich Village more than 75 years ago that recently partnered with Ralph’s.
Store manager Tom Coleman said additional changes are coming soon, likely by the “re-grand opening” on July 22, when purveyors will be doling out samples to the public.
“We’ll soon start cooking pizzas in our service deli and offering dry-aged beef in our meat department,” he said, adding that the store will also begin carrying 2,600 new items to its inventory, many of them organic and GMO-free. 1030 University Ave., 619-298-2931, ralphs.com.
Taking the place of Tapas Picasso Spanish Restaurant in Hillcrest is Two Paddles Fish & Grill, which opened in late June with a concept similar to Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill in Mission Hills. Customers choose from seven types of fish served in either tacos, salads, sandwiches or meal plates. Six marinades are also available, and the fish is grilled but can be requested fried. The menu also features oysters, wings, burgers and steaks.
Owners Bryan Chavez and his father, Jose, previously operated Santa Fe Café in Encinitas for 10 years. They’re open for lunch and dinner, and offer happy hour from 2 to 7 p.m. daily featuring $2 off all beer and wines by the glass, and $3 off appetizers. 3923 Fourth Ave., 619-431-5202.
Giselle Wellman, a Bravo “Top Chef “contestant from season 13, is due to open Pacific Standard Coastal Kitchen by mid-July in the Art Deco structure on Pacific Coast Highway that was formerly home to Fat City Steakhouse.
Wellman, a San Diego native, spent the last eight years working in Los Angeles and New York City alongside renowned chefs such as Thomas Keller, Jean George and Mario Batali.
The menu at Pacific, she said, will reflect Little Italy’s storied past as a fishing community. It will be complemented by a “playful” selection of craft cocktails, punch bowls and local craft beers. 2137 Pacific Coast Highway, pacificstandardkitchen.com.
Maine lobster season has begun, and King’s Fish House in Mission Valley and Carlsbad turns the occasion into a “festival” each year by offering the sweet crustaceans in four different preparations. Through at least the end of August, they’ll appear steamed in whole form; in bisque and classic rolls; and mixed with clams, mussels, corn and potatoes in New England-style clam bakes. 825 Camino del la Reina, 619-574-1230, and 5625 Paseo del Norte, 760-431-3474; kingsfishhouse.com.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.