By Frank Sabatini Jr.
Chef Fred Piehl of The Smoking Goat in North Park recently took over the lease of nearby Mosaic Wine Bar for opening a second restaurant by early fall. “It won’t be a French-bistro concept like The Smoking Goat, but rather something more casual and completely different,” he told San Diego Uptown News during his preliminary formatting of the new kitchen and menu. Piehl hinted at California-style pizzas and a greater focus on locally sourced vegetables compared to the Goat’s repertoire of meatier dishes. He has also begun settling on a name from “a shortlist of possibilities” while choosing a design firm capable of giving the space “a whole new look and feel.” 3422 30th St.
ELE Collective opened Park & Rec in University Heights on May 21, and follows with a series of grand-opening events scheduled over Memorial Day weekend, May 23-24. The cocktail-centric establishment replaces Bourbon Street Bar & Grill, which long catered to LGBT customers. Though now tailored to the community at large, its new ownership will continue supporting LGBT fundraisers and events, such as the annual wine-tasting fundraiser for Mama’s Kitchen that’s already on the books for Aug. 4. The collective also owns the adjoining space that housed Lei Lounge, which has yet be recast, as well as Waypoint Public in North Park. 4612 Park Blvd., 619-795-9700.
A bevy of award-winning chefs from San Diego, Baja and beyond are teaming up for the newly launched Barrel Smoker dinner series, held the third Thursday of every month at Planet Rooth Design Haus in Bankers Hill. The dinners, hosted by chef and master craftsman Gustaf Anders Rooth, spotlight foods cooked in Rooth’s inventive iQ Oak Barrel Smoker made of wine barrels. Each dinner will feature multiple courses prepared by a few different chefs — and with a guest winery or brewery taking part.
The series kicked off May 21 with a family-style meal prepared by chefs Javier Plascencia, Flor Franco and Ricardo Heredia. Wines from Lomita Winery in Valle de Guadalupe were poured. For information on upcoming dinners, visit planetrooth.com. Reservations are required. Tickets can be obtained on eventbrite.com, under Barrel Smoker dinner series. 3334 Fifth Ave., 619-297-9663.
Think backyard barbecue when The Patio Group opens Fireside by the Patio in Liberty Station’s old firehouse by late July. In the company’s latest offshoot to The Patio on Goldfinch in Mission Hills and The Patio on Lamont Street in Pacific Beach, the property will boast 7,000-square-feet of outdoor space equipped with smokers, grills and a Yakitori station. The company’s executive chef, John Mendall, says all of the outdoor cooking equipment will be fueled by mesquite, apple and peach woods. And customers will order their food electronically on tablets. 2855 Perry Road, thepatiorestaurants.com.
We’re told it will be another three months before Dunedin replaces the shuttered Eddie’s Philadelphia Steaks Hoagies and Burgers in North Park. The restaurant, named after a surf town in New Zealand, will feature similar chow to that of its sister kitchens: Ragland Public House in Ocean Beach; Queenstown Public House in Little Italy and Bareback Grill in Pacific Beach. Look for a big selection of burgers, some crowned with Edam cheese and one made from lamb, plus Kiwi-inspired chicken sandwiches and rivers of beer and wine pulled from casks. 3501 30th St.
Lack of outdoor space factored into Stone Brewing Co.’s decision to forgo renewing its lease at the Stone Company Store-South Park, according to company spokesperson Nickie Pena. The outlet, which opened in 2011, will cease operations on June 7. But as a show of customer appreciation, the tasting room will make available several special releases each day, beginning June 5, for a “Draft Tastic Finale.” The offerings include a mix of Stone drafts and bottles on lauded brews such Barrel-Aged Brown Ale with Balaton Sour Cherries, Xocoveaz Mocha Stout, Spice Oddity, Guardian’s Slumber and more. 2215 30th St., 619-501-3342.
A warm farewell to R Gang Eatery at 3683 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest, which closed its doors May 10 to the tune of “tater tots freshly seasoned with the tears of our staff,” per a Facebook post by chef-owner Rich Sweeney. The popular restaurant, famous for its playful comfort food, enjoyed a five-year run. Sweeney also recently left his post as executive chef at Florent Restaurant & Lounge in the Gaslamp District, but remains onboard as a partner.
At the lip of Golden Hill is a relatively new café, Food for Thoughts, run by two German guys who took over a room and hallway in what used to be the San Diego Physicians-Surgeons Hospital. On Mondays, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., they sell house-made sausages from a cart parked out front while bagels, sandwiches, salads and acai bowls are available daily inside the café. In September, however, they will utilize the larger back room to open a full-scale restaurant under the same name. “That area was actually the intensive care unit of the hospital,” said co-owner Kai Schoettke, who moved to San Diego to attend college and then later “became bored” working temporarily at a bank. 446 26th St., 619-602-5541.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.