By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Uptown News Food Briefs
New to Little Italy’s dining scene is Cloak & Petal, a 7,500-square-foot space designed to look like an abandoned Tokyo subway station. The modern, upscale Japanese restaurant was launched by restaurateurs Cesar Vallin and business partner Isamu Morikizono, who also owns Tajima.
The aesthetics feature glazed tiles and brick as well as detailed “hanami-inspired” cherry blossom trees, replete with flowering branches. An ambitious sake and cocktail program is in place to augment a menu of crafty small plates, sashimi and nigiri. 1953 India St., 619-501-5505, cloakandpetal.com.
The iconic A-frame structure in Hillcrest that housed Wienerschnitzel for many years sprung back to life Dec. 28 as Copper Top Coffee & Donuts. Owner Josh McCorkle, a Seattle native who worked in the restaurant and coffee industries for 20 years, said the venture marks the first of more coffee shops he hopes to open around town.
“Hillcrest was the warmest and most inviting community we could find for our first location,” he said. “We’re serving high-end coffee in a drive-through setting.”
The menu features coffee drinks and a proprietary blend of espresso, using beans from the Seattle-based roaster, Rococo.
There’s also locally sourced Bootstrap Kombucha on tap along with cake-style doughnuts made to order. Those are available with various toppings such as white chocolate with coconut and sprinkles; sugar and cinnamon; and salted caramel with chocolate and crushed walnuts. Additional flavor combinations are in the pipeline along with breakfast and lunch sandwiches.
McCorkle retained the walk-up window in front and added a drive-through window in the back. New seating alongside the building was installed as well as fresh plumbing, lighting and kitchen equipment.
“I love the idea of turning something old and decrepit into something fresh and vibrant,” he added. 101 W. Washington St., coppertopcoffee.com.
San Diego’s first and only Scottish gastropub (the Tilted Kilt doesn’t count) has delayed its opening due to last-minute construction issues. Owner Peter Soutowood originally set his sights on New Year’s Eve to debut Fourpenny House in La Mesa. But he assures the venture will now open by the end of January to the tune of bagpipes, house-made Scottish meals and four types of signature beers brewed onsite.
Heading the kitchen is David Chenelle, board chairman of the Chefs de Cuisine Association of San Diego and past executive chef for the Silver Gate Yacht Club. 8323 La Mesa Blvd., fourpennyhouse.com.
The stretch of Adams Avenue near 30th Street continues growing into a culinary hot spot with the announcement that a former dry cleaner’s will soon morph into a gourmet gelato shop.
Due to open this spring under the name An’s Dry Cleaning, the project has been years in the making between longtime friends and will feature seven rotational flavors using ingredients sourced from local purveyors whenever possible. Some of the flavors will stick to tradition while others featuring cactus, goat cheese and wasabi not so much. The gelatos will also be used to create cakes adorned with carved fruits. 3017 Adams Ave., adcgelato.com.
Mission Valley’s dearth of pizzerias recently grew larger with the closing of The Works in the Friars Mission Center shopping plaza. The space, which is nestled among Grater’s Grilled Cheese, The Flame Broiler and Tandoor, was still up for lease as of Jan. 1. 5608 Mission Center Road.
A little further east in the Rio Vista Plaza, The Poke Co. has replaced Kasi, an Indian restaurant that struggled under fleeting sets of owners. This is the second San Diego location of the Los Angeles-based Poke Co., which has an outlet in the Gaslamp Quarter as well. 8950 Rio San Diego Drive, 619-542-9234, thepokeco.com.
— Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.