In celebration of its 35th anniversary, Rubio’s Coastal Grill will flash back to the decade it was founded in the Mission Bay area by selling original fish taco plates for $5 and playing ’80s music during normal business hours on Jan. 25 at all locations. The plates feature two beer-battered fish tacos, pinto beans and chips. Rubio’s currently operates more than 200 locations throughout the U.S., including 30-plus outlets in San Diego County, and has added grilled seafood options to its menu over the years. rubios.com.
Lines snaked out the door throughout the opening weekend (Jan. 20-21) of Better Buzz Coffee in Hillcrest, which marks the Vista-based company’s most ambitious branch in San Diego County.
The two-story outlet doubles as a cafe and features a central oblong-shaped bar on the ground floor, plus communal tables, mezzanine seating and a full-production roasting facility that encompasses a coveted Probat roaster dating back to the early 1900s. A newly implemented kitchen allows customers to order a variety of grilled sandwiches and avocado toast while sipping from a wide selection of hot and cold coffee drinks. 801 University Ave., 619-269-2740, betterbuzzcoffee.com.
Bivouac Ciderworks in North Park officially opened Jan. 23 after some licensing delays. The taproom and restaurant, co-owned by brew hobbyist Matt Austin, debuts with five different house-fermented ciders on tap, plus about 10 more to be rolled out in the next three to four weeks.
The ciders vary in flavors and range in alcohol from about 5 percent to 12 percent, and more than a dozen “guest ciders” also occupy the taps.
Located in a remodeled space defined by rustic, outdoor elements and brew tanks, the kitchen is headed by Danilo “DJ” Tangalin Jr., former executive chef for Tidal. His cider-friendly menu includes bison risotto, Spanish-style octopus, smoked trout tartine and a variety of vegan/vegetarian options such as jackfruit sliders and green goddess hummus. 3986 30th St., 619-725-0844, bivouaccider.com.
Renowned pastry chef Karen Krasne will close her original, long-established location of Extraordinary Desserts at 2929 Fifth Ave. later this year and move it “a scone’s throw away” to 2870 Fourth Ave. into The Louie, a mixed-use building that also houses James Coffee Co.
Krasne is making the move because her lease on Fifth Avenue is due to expire after she held it for more than 30 years. The new digs will allow for an expanded menu of sweet and savory items, as well as beer and wine and indoor-outdoor seating. It will be designed by architect Jennifer Luce of LUCE et Studio, who worked on Krasne’s second location of Extraordinary Desserts (1430 Union St.) in Little Italy before it opened more than a decade ago. extraordinarydesserts.com.
Swami’s Cafe, which currently has nine locations throughout San Diego County, will open a Hillcrest branch “hopefully by February,” according to Martin Kleckner, a manager for the family-owned company. The cafe will go into the space formerly occupied by Busalacchi’s A Modo Mio, which closed last year and is now undergoing minor remodeling.
Known for their extensive breakfast and lunch options, as well as fresh juices and smoothies, some of Swami’s Cafes also offer dinner, which Kleckner said “might” enter into the Hillcrest concept along with the availability of beer and wine. 3707 Fifth Ave., swamiscafe.com.
The fourth annual Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 10–11, at Del Mar Fairgrounds. Dozens of local and national vendors exhibiting more than 100 gluten-free brands and products will take part in the event, along with chefs, authors and bloggers doling out food samples and leading instructional classes on gluten-free diets.
Participants include Barons Market, 2Good2Be Bakery, Milton’s Craft Bakers, and more. The cost is $15 for a one-day pass; $25 for a weekend pass; and $5 and $7 respectively for children 3 to 12 years of age. 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, gfafexpo.com.
The recently shuttered Whistling Duck Tavern in the HUB Hillcrest Market will make way for Nishiki Ramen, which operates a location in Kearny Mesa (8055 Armour St.) with customer lines often extending out the door. The eatery was founded in 2015 by Tokyo-born chefs Jimmy Kitayama and Mike Furuichi, both lauded for their house-made noodles and veggie and meat broths.
“They’re a proven concept with an excellent product,” said Steve Hargrade of Regency Centers, which owns the HUB.
The 2,082-square-foot space will undergo a redo to the dining area and take on new kitchen equipment for an expected May opening. 1040 University Ave., nishikiramen.com.