The space that housed Sirens Bar & Restaurant in Hillcrest has been taken over by three men from the same small town in Sicily who coincidentally met in San Diego.
Their venture, called RustiCucina, is due to open in early February with a “rustic American-Italian” menu of house-made pastas, various pizzas and assorted bruschettas. A sneak peek at the menu also reveals a unique crispy burrata from the appetizer list.
The owners are Marco Provino, former executive chef of Giardino in Lemon Grove; and Nino Cusimano and Mario Liga, both from Farmer’s Table restaurant.
A complete interior remodel was made to the double-storefront space, which now includes a 32-foot-long chandelier and live greenery. Lunch, dinner and weekend brunch will be served daily. 3797 Park Blvd.
Credited for pioneering the craft beer scene in North Park some 12 years ago, Toronado recently announced on its Facebook page that “we are probably heading for the exit.” No explanation was given for its impending closure, although owner Ian Black further stated: “I’ll have a lot more to say on this in the coming days.” He went on to emphasize the beer taps will remain flowing until further notice. We reached out to Black for additional comments, but still haven’t received a response. 4026 30th St., 619-282-0456, toronadosd.com.
Black Plague Brewing out of Oceanside will open a tasting room in North Park this spring. It will feature nearly two dozen taps in an open-floor layout spanning 2,000 square feet. The brewing company takes its name from Europe’s Black Plague era in the 1300s.
The company’s portfolio features nearly a dozen different beers with names resonating to the historic pandemic. It will also sell such themed merchandise from a retail section in the new tasting room. 2855 El Cajon Blvd., 760-631-8110, blackplaguebrewing.com.
Venison enters the spotlight at Cucina Urbana’s first whole-animal “beast feast” dinner series of 2020. The intimate dinners focus on preparation techniques, sourcing and sustainability.
The venison-themed meal will be held at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 4, at the Bankers Hill restaurant. Seating is limited to 20 guests. The cost is $89, which doesn’t include beverages. For subsequent beast-feast events, visit the website. 505 Laurel St., 619-239-2222,
The charming Romeo & Julieta Wine Cafe in Talmadge is up for sale. Its co-owner, Andrzej Dobrowolski, a native of Krakow, Poland, opened the wine bar in 2013 with his girlfriend, Diana Pravlis. Since then, the tucked-away cafe has become a popular destination for authentic Polish fare complemented by diverse wines.
Dobrowolski is retiring, although he has eight years remaining on the lease. He is looking to pass the torch to “someone wanting to establish a local, intimate venue in this thriving area,” as stated in a press release. The establishment’s extensive collection will be included in the sale.
Until then, Romeo & Julieta will operate on normal business hours. 4715 Monroe Ave., 619-546-6919, romeoandjulietawinecafe.com.
Our love for wine is blind, as suggested by chef Oz Blackaller, who will hold a blind tasting of various wines at his Cueva Bar Cafe in University Heights on Feb. 1. The hour-long event starts at 3 p.m. and features complimentary nibbles. The participant with the most guesses of the type of wines that are poured will receive a $10 gift certificate applicable to food and vino at Cueva. The cost to enter the tasting is $5. 2123 Adams Ave., 619-269-6612, cuevabar.com.
A salad-centric eatery called Grater Greens opened recently in the Friars Mission Center plaza in Mission Valley. Its menu was supposedly created through a collaboration of local chefs and restaurateurs whose names “are not being made public,” according to a manager we spoke with. The website doesn’t cite any of them either.
The bright, airy space features a plethora of signature salads and bowls, and gives customers the option of customizing their own creations from a long list of veggies, grains, proteins and dressings. Hummus and seasonal soups are also available. 5608 Mission Center Road, 619-539-7598, gratergreens.com.
— Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.