By Frank Sabatini Jr.
Since its April debut and then recent closing, Kouch Lounge in Hillcrest will reopen Oct. 19 under different management and in collaboration with Downtown’s Simon Says Coffee, which launched recently inside The Keating Hotel.
The rebranded name of the Hillcrest venture will be Kouch Lounge by Simon Says Coffee.
New owner Jacob Sapochnick, an attorney and co-owner of Simon Says Coffee, plans to reinstate Kouch’s original menu while adding items such as acai bowls, crepes and paninis. In addition, cannabidiol oils will be available for enhancing coffee drinks and low-alcohol cocktails.
“We were looking to expand Simon Says and this was the right fit to build a relaxing café community in Hillcrest,” Sapochnick said, adding that the business will open daily at 7 a.m. and stay open until 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and until 1 a.m. Thursday through Sunday. 3852 Fourth Ave., Suite 100, 619-269-5729, simonsayscoffee.com.
San Diego’s growing brigade of chefs splashing onto reality cooking shows has most recently come to include Brien O’Brien, a Pacific Beach resident selected to compete within a posse of 20 contestants for season eight of Fox’s “MasterChef” series. O’Brien, a self-taught chef, was eliminated from the competition after several episodes and came away with the honors of “14th best home cook in America.”
He held a viewing party Sept. 20 at the Brew Project in Hillcrest and has since begun holding private cooking classes on comfort cuisine and four-course prime rib dinners at his home. He’s currently accepting up to six guests per event. For more information, visit chefbrienobrien.com.
Fishmonger’s Market opened Oct. 3 inside 57 Degrees, an expansive wine and beer bar with a retail component in Middletown. The venture, headed by celebrity chef Frank Terzoli, doubles as a restaurant and market specializing in seafood dishes such as lobster salad, Florida grouper sandwiches, maple-glazed Alaskan halibut and more.
Terzoli is a past winner of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Cutthroat Kitchen Masters.” He was also a contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” from which he earned the nickname, “Frankie the Bull.” 1535 Hancock St., fishmongersmarkets.com.
Fine dining has returned in all its glory with the recent opening of Born & Raised, a $6.2 million recreation of a classic American steakhouse in Little Italy by CH Projects, which includes in its portfolio Soda & Swine, Underbelly, Craft & Commerce, Neighborhood and other urban hotspots.
The 10,000-square-foot restaurant is situated in a remodeled warehouse and spans two levels. Designed by Basile Studio, it features curved leather booths, terrazzo flooring, Art Deco-style pillars and al fresco rooftop seating amid a flowering steel trellis.
The extravagance is further captured by tuxedoed servers providing tableside cart service for not only cocktails, but Caesar salad, flambé dishes and desserts.
Wet and dry-aged steaks of every type take center stage along with white sturgeon caviar, fresh fish, duck and locally sourced chicken and pork. Vegans can take comfort in a steak made of seitan and natural proteins. 1909 India St., 619-202-4577, bornandraisedsteak.com.
If you live within an eight-minute drive from any of the 16 locations of Panera Bread across San Diego County, you can now receive menu items delivered to your home or office for about $4 or $5 per order, which can be placed online or through the Panera phone app.
The company recently hired 120 drivers from the area who work directly for the fast-casual chain, which is famous for its soups, salads, sandwiches and preservative-free bakery items. Panera has stores in Hillcrest, Liberty Station, Clairemont, the Gaslamp Quarter, Coronado and other locales. panerabread.com.
The Bankers Hill Fall Festival will bring together many of the neighborhood’s core restaurants as they offer ticketed guests samples of their signature dishes. They will be joined by dozens of other businesses such as boutiques, fitness studios and art galleries that will provide information and demos about their products.
The walk-around event will be held from 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21. It encompasses 10 blocks along Fourth and Fifth avenues.
Participating restaurants include Barrio Star, Cucina Urbana, Corner Drafthouse, Wet Stone Wine Bar & Café, and more. The cost is $15 in advance and $20 the week of the festival. Proceeds will benefit the Bankers Hill Business Group, which promotes businesses within Bankers Hill and increases awareness of the area as a destination neighborhood. For tickets and more details, visit bankershillbusinessgroup.com/events.
—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.