By Frank Sabatini Jr.
A triple-themed vegan eatery is moving into the structure where Anthem restaurant previously operated before it took over the kitchen at nearby Toronado a few months ago.
The ambitious project, called The Village, will offer Mexican food, sushi and menu items from the La Mesa-based Natural Delights Juice Bar, which also serves vegan wraps.
“We’ll have three different menus all under the same roof,” said Natural Delights manager, Esmeralda Gutierrez, whose mother, Sonia Gutierrez, and aunt, Alondra Ruiz, own the operation.
Due to open by early August, the interior design, she added, may also have separated seating areas specific to the varied menus. 2611 El Cajon Blvd.
Los Panchos’ Taco Shop in Hillcrest is due to reopen in about six weeks, according to owner Luis Diaz. The eatery will resurface one address away, in the corner structure on Washington Street and Fifth Avenue where Brazen BBQ previously operated (441 Washington St.). Dunkin’ Donuts is going into that spot by late fall.
In addition to its popular tacos and burritos, the revised operation will offer a full bar as well as entrees featuring seafood, steaks, fajitas and more.
“We were hoping to be open before San Diego Pride (July 12-14), but it wasn’t possible,” said Luis, who just opened a new Mission Valley location (6110 Friars Road) that offers the shop’s standard fare, plus complimentary bean-chorizo soup that comes with all orders. A beer and wine license is in the pipeline for that location. 619-272-0626. https://www.restaurantji.com/ca/san-diego/los-panchos-taco-shop-2/
Gather ‘round the crackling wood-fire oven at Fort Oak’s 14-seat dining counter for a six-course meal experience presented every two weeks on Wednesday and Thursday evenings by chef-owner Brad Wise. The exclusive dinners debut July 3 and will be held every other week starting July 17.
Customers will get to savor off-menu items involving locally grown vegetables, grilled meats and fresh seafood crafted for the occasion by Wise and his culinary team. The price is $100 per person. Wine pairings are available for an additional $40.
The Mission Hills restaurant is part of the locally based group that also operates Trust Restaurant and Hundred Proof. 1011 Fort Stockton Drive, 619-722-3398,
The famed Chicken Pie Shop in North Park was recently named Small Business of the Year for 2019 in District 39 by California Senate President Pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins. She congratulated members of the Townsend family, who have owned the eatery since 2000, for upholding it as a San Diego institution.
“It has thrived for eight decades because it adheres to several core principles: high-quality product, first-rate customer service and an undeniable sense of community,” Atkins declared in a statement.
The pie shop originally opened in Downtown San Diego in 1938. Its late founder, George Whitehead, moved the business to Fifth Avenue and Robinson Street in Hillcrest in the 1940s. Because of continued popularity, it ended up moving to its current, larger space nearly 30 years ago. 2633 El Cajon Blvd., 619-295-0156,
Former sous chef for Urban Plates in Los Angeles, Ernesto Moreno, will serve as executive chef at the all-organic Pachamana, due to open in Normal Heights in July by former professional tennis player and model, Victoria Vannucci of Argentina.
In keeping with the restaurant’s South American slant, the chef will replicate dishes indigenous to Peru, Columbia, Venezuela, Argentina and Chile, as well as Mexico and Cuba.
Moreno was also a kitchen manager at the Los Angeles location of Cafe Gratitude, the plant-based restaurant with a local branch in Little Italy. A native of San Diego County, his menu will feature only a small amount of animal proteins sourced from humanely raised livestock. 3737 Adams Ave., 619-363-2358, whoispachamama.com.
— Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of ‘Secret San Diego’ (ECW Press) and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. You can reach him at email@example.com