By Frank Sabatini Jr.
Subterranean Coffee Boutique in North Park is doubling its space with the acquisition of 800 square feet from an adjoining computer shop. The annexation will be complete sometime in November, said Gene Padigos, who owns the business with his wife, Kelsey.
“The cafe is always full and this seems like a natural progression,” Padigos added, noting that he plans on further expanding the wine and beer selection.
Recent newcomers to the menu, which are also available at Subterranean’s Hillcrest location (412 University Ave.), include brown sugar lattes, Soyrizo burritos, and steamed buns with pork or spinach. The couple also operates a walk-up outlet in Little Italy (1500 State St.) for coffee, tea and bagels only. 3764 30th St., 619-780-0916, subterraneancoffeeboutique.com.
Lack of signage and minimal, earthy décor define the new Fernside in South Park, which offers a limited menu of elevated bar food and a sophisticated cocktail program that’s been all the rage since its recent opening.
The establishment replaces South Park Abbey and is run by a trio of local industry insiders: Adam Cook of Bluefoot Bar & Lounge; Shane Gerde of Cutwater Spirits and Consortium Holdings; and Christian Siglin, the veteran bar manager whose crafty inventions we’ve witnessed at Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant, Nobel Experiment and Sycamore Den.
Currently, the menu includes a couple of salads and several share plates such as avocado toast, wings, nacho fries and assorted rolled tacos, including sweet potato. It’s due to expand in the coming months. Of the cocktails, some are on draft. They include nitro negronis and Spanish-style gin and tonics. Handmade options feature “revisited” white Russians, apple martinis, sherry cobblers and more. 1946 Fern St., 619-255-9591.
Without warning, Brazen BBQ Smokehouse & Bar in Hillcrest shut down in the first week of October after operating for seven years on the high-traffic corner of Washington Street and Fifth Avenue. Unsuspecting customers were taken by surprise when encountering a notice taped to the doors stating its closure. The announcement is also posted on Brazen’s website. It reads in part: “It is with great sadness that we can no longer provide you with our award-winning BBQ. It is our hope that we always served you well.” 441 Washington St., brazenbbq.com.
The personal-finance website, WalletHub.com, recently released its report on 2018’s Best Foodie Cities in America. San Diego ranked ninth from a list of 182 municipalities across the nation. The study took into account numerous indicators ranging from the cost of groceries and affordability of high-quality restaurants to diversity of restaurants and the number of food festivals, craft breweries and wineries per capita. Ranking “best” on the list is Portland, Oregon, with Pearl City, Hawaii coming in last.
The buildout is finished and interviews for potential employees are underway at the upcoming North Italia in Fashion Valley Mall. The modern-Italian restaurant, due to open in November, was launched by Phoenix-based Fox Restaurant Concepts, which owns eating and drinking establishments in a dozen states. The company also operates the newly opened Blanco Tacos + Tequila in Fashion Valley Mall and Flower Child in Del Mar. Heading the kitchen after months of training is local chef Rich Sweeney, formerly of Waypoint Public.
7055 Friars Road, northitaliarestaurant.com.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at email@example.com