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Uptown Food Briefs – July 7

Frank Sabatini Jr. | Uptown News 

Coming in late July to the Uptown District (soon to be renamed The Hub) is Ritual Juicebox, an Orange County-based outfit that sells wellness through a variety of organic, raw and cold-pressed juices and smoothies. Ritual’s antioxidant-rich lemonades are touted for helping customers “flush toxins and curb cravings,” while a variety of other packaged juices infused with spinach and leafy greens are geared for ridding the body of toxins. Alkaline waters are also in the offing to “stimulate digestion and optimize nutrient absorption” and the edibles point to acai bowls. 1030 University Ave.

Juices packed with organics will soon take center stage. (Courtesy Ritual Wellness)

Juices packed with organics will soon take center stage. (Courtesy Ritual Wellness)


An express version of Greek-fusion cuisine arrived recently to Mission Valley from Meze, a popular family-owned restaurant in the Gaslamp District specializing in Mediterranean fare with Southern California twists. At this smaller, more casual offshoot, the menu includes Greek-style tacos and nachos, filet mignon wraps and kabobs. Meze joins several other counter-service eateries in the Ralph’s shopping plaza at 5618 Mission Center Road, Suite 1002, 619-297-0855.


The large space formerly occupied by Pita Jungle is making way for Kato Sushi, which is branching into Hillcrest since establishing itself in Pacific Beach two years ago. Co-owner Kevin Qasawadish hopes to soft open by San Diego Pride weekend, July 18-20. Kato’s Hillcrest menu will eventually become more extensive compared to its Pacific Beach location, offering Asian-style pizzas, glazed steaks and signature salads. It will also carry a full liquor license. Design elements include interior stonework and a lighted, enclosed front patio. 1045 University, 619-578-2877.


The Bar in North Park's Bazinga Eatery (Photo by McKenna Aiello)

The Bar in North Park’s Bazinga Eatery (Photo by McKenna Aiello)

Attention mac-and-cheese lovers. Bazinga Eatery in North Park recently opened as San Diego’s first “urban mac-and-cheese spot” with a menu that captures both classic recipes as well as highfalutin varieties combining steak and brie. The curds also find their way into salads and appetizers. The venture was launched by first-time restaurant owner Leila Ouahla, who took over the space that formerly housed Sea Rocket Bistro3382 30th St., 619-255-8940.


The owners of Blind Lady Ale House and Tiger!Tiger! are moving full steam ahead for opening Panama 66 in what was the Sculpture Court Café by Giuseppe in Balboa Park. The seasonal menu will be headed by Tiger’s head chef, Sharon Labate, who is still finalizing the dishes. Set among the sculptures within an outdoor garden space, the eatery will also feature craft beer, wine and craft cocktails. 1450 El Prado.


Cali “O” Burgers is up and running on University Avenue. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Cali “O” Burgers is up and running on University Avenue. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Elk, ostrich, bison and grass-fed beef are among the meat choices at the new Cali “O” Burgers, which opened recently in Hillcrest at the corner of University Avenue and Richmond Street. Other burgers and sandwiches feature turkey, salmon, seared ahi and a handmade quinoa veggie patty. The kitchen is equipped with both a flame grill and standard griddle, allowing customers to choose how they prefer their burgers cooked. Organic salads, fries and shakes are also in the offing, as well as “sidewinders,” which are best described as falling somewhere between steak and curly French fries. The eatery is still waiting for its license to serve craft beer. 1290 University Ave., 619-692-9999.


The recently closed American Voodoo in University Heights (Photo by McKenna Aiello)

The recently closed American Voodoo in University Heights (Photo by McKenna Aiello)

They came and suddenly vanished. American Voodoo in University Heights and Rockfire Grill each closed recently after operating for only a short time. Inside sources say that funding and partnership disputes led to their demise.

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