Uptown Food Briefs – Oct. 23

Posted: October 23rd, 2015 | Featured, Food & Drink, Uptown Food Briefs | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Everything’s coming up in fives at Cueva Bar in University Heights as chef-owner Oz Blackaller celebrates the establishment’s fifth anniversary this month. Through Oct. 23, a number of food and drink items are priced at $5, such as empanadas, half-size flat breads, house sangria, local craft beer and more. 2123 Adams Ave., 619-269-6612.

Empanadas for cheap at Cueva Bar (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Empanadas for cheap at Cueva Bar (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Chef Jimmy Tessier attributes the sudden closure of Local Habit to “a combination of the owners running out of money and being pigeonholed into a cuisine,” referring to the Creole slant the Hillcrest restaurant adopted this year after completing a renovation. He also cited the sporadic closure of Fifth Avenue for sewer work as another reason, saying that the restaurant lost significant business because of it.

Tessier and about 15 other employees received word on Oct. 6 that the doors would be shut for good, which coincided with a Facebook posting from the ownership thanking patrons for their support.

“I kind of had a feeling something was up because business had been slow,” added Tessier, who was recently filmed discussing organic food by an independent producer from Los Angeles for a pilot culinary series yet to be picked up by a television network. 3827 Fifth Ave.

Chef Fred Keller of Counterpoint (Courtesy Bay Bird Inc.)

Chef Fred Keller of Counterpoint (Courtesy Bay Bird Inc.)

A new chef is in the house at Counterpoint in Golden Hill, which has entered into its sixth year of business. Fred Keller arrives from Chicago’s highly acclaimed Roka Akor after working as a private chef on a yacht in the Caribbean. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, his other gigs have included stints at Bistro d’Asia in Coronado, a restaurant in New Zealand, and the former Martini House in Napa Valley. Keller has revised the menu at Counterpoint with dishes spotlighting freshly sourced seafood and house-made pastas. 830 25th St., 619-564-6722.

In celebration of its upcoming 30th anniversary, Saffron Noodles and Sate in Mission Hills and owner Su-Mei Yu are offering 30 percent discounts on select daily specials through Sunday, Oct. 25. 3731-B India St., 619-574-7737.

After an extensive renovation, Top of the Hyatt at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in Downtown has reopened. The lounge is perched on the hotel’s 40th floor and features reconfigured seating, new lighting elements and a redesigned bar. Heavy drapery that previously framed the floor-to-ceiling windows has been removed to allow for unobstructed views. Libations and appetizers such as lobster bruschetta and queso fondue with warm pretzel rolls are served daily. 1 Market Place, 619-232-1234.

Top of the Hyatt reopens with better views (Courtesy Manchester Grand Hyatt)

Top of the Hyatt reopens with better views (Courtesy Manchester Grand Hyatt)

The hip and contemporary Quarters Korean BBQ out of Los Angeles is coming to the Westfield Mission Valley mall, where it will occupy a chunk of space left behind by Seau’s. The menu will focus primarily on tapas using top-quality meats and prepared on tabletop grills. Still under construction, the restaurant is slated to open by the end of the year. 1640 Camino del Rio North.

A new drinking establishment called Clutch Bar has emerged in the Morena District by former Aero Club bartender John Hasten-Wright, who remodeled the space that previously housed the Morena Club. The bar, which opened Oct. 15, carries local craft beer, and features a dog-friendly patio as well as flat screens that fire up starting at 10 a.m. each week for Sunday football. 1319 Morena Blvd.

—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at

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