Uptown News Food Briefs: Feb. 23, 2018

Posted: February 23rd, 2018 | Featured, Food & Drink, Uptown Food Briefs | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Chef Chad Brunette recently left the position as head chef for The Rail and returned to his hometown of Las Vegas “for personal reasons,” according to general manager Dustin Santillan.

Brunette elevated The Rail’s lunch and weekend brunch menus last year with the help of sous chef John Hamaker, who was promoted to executive chef in Brunette’s wake. Both men previously worked at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

Santillan said the lunch menu will undergo a few changes but that all of the brunch offerings, such as the waffle sandwich, Cajun shrimp Benedict, meatball sliders and house-made donuts, will remain in place. The lunch menu is available from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday through Monday and brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays. 3796 Fifth Ave., 619-298-2233,


It’s a deal that we thought was too good to be true. On the 21st of every month, from 4 to 6 p.m., Cafe 21 — located in the Gaslamp Quarter and University Heights — sells its house-made sangrias for only 21 cents a glass. They come in a variety of flavors such as persimmon, apple cider, blueberry-guava and more.

Sangrias on the cheap (Courtesy Café 21)

The restaurant at both locations opens at 8 a.m. daily and is lauded for its crafty cuisine, which includes dishes such as cast-iron omelets, sweet and savory crepes, hot sandwiches, flatbreads and kabobs. 802 Fifth Ave., 619-795-0721 and 2736 Adams Ave., 619-640-2121;


Through the remainder of the month, Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill is selling make-at-home pizza kits starting at $7 each. For every kit sold, $1 will be donated to the American Heart Association as part of a charitable campaign titled “pizza from the heart.”

Pizza for a heart-worthy cause (Courtesy Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill)

The kits include house-made pizza dough portioned for consumers to shape into a heart as well as tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, fresh basil and cooking instructions.

Patrons are encouraged to post photos of their heart-shaped pies on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #iheartsammys for a chance at winning $100 after the benefit concludes on Feb. 28. Sammy’s has six locations throughout San Diego County, including Mission Valley at 1620 Camino de la Reina, 619-298-8222,


What used to be The Ritual in North Park has turned into Working Class, a casual bar and restaurant launched by Paul Fatta, who owns two Pacific Beach eating establishments,  Second Nature and Bayside Landing. He teamed up with Jeffrey Kiyama, a former assistant general manager for Barleymash, for this venture.

A bar and restaurant with a “working class” feel has opened in North Park. (Facebook)

The space underwent a broad remodel that included an extension to the back patio, skylights over the dining room and the installation of a second bar at the front entrance. An imposing mural by designer Thom Guerra depicting industrial-age workers on strike was also added.

“Some people are taking our name literally as blue collar,” Kiyama said. “But we relate to all people who work and need a space to hang out. It’s for everyone.”

Heading the kitchen is Jason Williams, a former chef at Martinis Above Fourth. The menu, which offers breakfast all day, includes General Tso cauliflower, fried bologna with egg sandwiches, meatballs with toasted sourdough, fried chicken, egg dishes and more. Complementing the bill of fare are 30 taps dispensing beer, wine, coffee and kombucha. 4095 30th St., 619-642-0114,


Get your seafood fix at the Point Loma Fish Shop, which marks the newest outpost of The Fish Shop with existing locations in Pacific Beach and Encinitas. The 2,200-square-foot space offers indoor/outdoor seating for enjoying popular menu items such as house-made New England clam chowder, seaweed salads, grilled mahi tacos, swordfish sandwiches, $1 oysters and fresh catches of the day. Also, the eatery allows customers to bring in wine for a corkage fee of only $5 per bottle. 1110 Rosecrans St., #100, 619-756-7778.

Fish sandwiches and other oceanic fare arrive to a new Point Loma eatery. (Alternative Strategies)

—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at

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