What started out a year ago as a food truck in Big O Tires on Garnet Avenue has now materialized into a fast-casual eatery specializing in Southern fried chicken, burgers and bacon-wrapped hot dogs.
The brick-and-mortar version of Rhythm’s Chicken & Waffles is the long-held dream of owner Brian Foxworth and his mom and dad.
“Our original chicken and waffle sandwich is the main, hyped dish since we opened a couple weeks ago,” said Foxworth, adding that the loaded chicken fries and Hebrew National “street dawgs” wrapped in bacon and topped with grilled onions, mayo, mustard and ketchup are also top sellers. 1136 Garnet Ave., 619-452-8118, rhythmanddesserts.com.
Pacific Fresh Grill
Mexico City-style tacos on the cheap are all the rage at the new Pacific Fresh Grill in Pacific Beach. Two styles of pork – al pastor and cochinita pibil – are among the specialty tacos, which sell for $2 apiece. There are also fish and carne asada options for a buck more, plus deconstructed tacos priced at $6 a plate. The taqueria is minimally decorated and offers limited seating. 2015 Garnet Ave., 619-279-1685, pacificfreshgrill.com.
Better Buzz Coffee
Hillcrest-based Better Buzz Coffee opened a drive-through/walk-in outlet with a rooftop deck in Pacific Beach. It is the company’s ninth location within San Diego County and the third in Pacific Beach. Distinguished by contrasting colors set against a modern, white backdrop, it’s the only location to offer soft-serve ice cream, which is available in vegan matcha or flavored after the company’s “best drink ever” coffee beverage. (The ice cream will be offered as well at the upcoming La Jolla location at 909 Prospect St., due to open in August.) The menu also features all of the signature hot and iced coffee drinks, smoothies and grilled sandwiches. 822 Grand Ave., 858-273-2899, betterbuzzcoffee.com.
Donut Bar founder and Point Loma resident Santiago Campa is opening his third San Diego location of the gourmet donut business in Pacific Beach his summer, at 1380 Garnet Ave. His “hope-ening”’ date is the third week in August, he said.
Since launching Donut Bar’s original location at 631 B St. in Downtown San Diego, Campa has developed about 60 different types of donuts, 24 of which are available on any given day. The shop is also famous for one-pound “big poppa tart donuts,” which fold in Kellogg’s Pop Tarts and other fillings.
“The new spot will feature everything on our tried and true menu, plus a nice outdoor patio,” Campa said.
The address formerly housed Stuffed Burger, and with an annexed space in the back that operated as the short-lived Frat Boy Donuts. Campa gutted and remodeled both areas. Other Donut Bar locations are in East Lake, Temecula, Las Vegas and Scottsdale. donutbar.com.
Cruisers Gourmet Subs
Cruisers Gourmet Subs in La Jolla held its grand opening in early June, bringing to the village a diverse selection of toasted sandwiches made with meats and cheeses sliced in-house. The rolls are sourced from Bread & Cie and the sauces used on the subs are made onsite.
Owner Kris Shea also runs another sandwich shop with his sister in Colorado. Here, the eatery features indoor-outdoor seating, sells beer and wine, and delivers within a mile radius. 637 Pearl St., 858-230-6414, cruisersgourmetsubs.com.
The recently shuttered Cody’s La Jolla is now home to Cove House, a breakfast-lunch spot launched by restaurateur Darren Moore, who also owns the nearby Shore Rider and The Cordova Bar in Linda Vista.
The kitchen is run by chefs Lance Repp of the University Club and Tommy Rogers, formerly of Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge. Their menu offers hearty, traditional fare with south-of-the-border touches. There is also a tribute to the late Theodore Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) with a dish named “Sam and I.” It features an egg tinted by seasonal greens that is set atop Nueske’s ham and garlic-rosemary sourdough bread. The construct is covered under a mantle of hatch chili gravy.
Open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., daily, Moore tells us that he may add dinner service and happy hour to the schedule after obtaining his beer and wine license in a few months. 8030 Girard Ave., 858-999-0034.
The Cravory in Point Loma was recently named “most innovative company” for 2019 by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. The chamber bestowed the award to the gourmet cookie company in 2015 as well.
“Over the last 10 years we’ve pushed the limits to what a cookie can be,” said co-owner Collin Smith, adding that The Cravory has introduced more than 4,000 cookie flavors since the business began at farmers markets a decade ago.
With a second location in Carlsbad, both shops just added ice cream to their menus. It’s sourced from National City-based Niederfrank’s and flavored in-house by various cookies.
On any given day, the cookie selection showcases 12 signature flavors in addition to six new flavors introduced monthly. Among the June creations are Rocky Road, banana cake and “Bay City beer and pretzels” using beer from Bay City Brewing. July roll outs will include almond brittle and sweet hibiscus varieties. 3960 W. Point Loma Blvd., 619-795-9077, thecravory.com.
The owners of Village Kitchen in Ocean Beach have put the 32-year-old business up for sale. But until a buyer comes along, the popular breakfast-lunch spot will remain in operation, said Eliana Lopez, whose father Faustino Lopez founded the restaurant.
“He’s ready to retire,” his daughter told us, adding that her family does not own the building. “It will be up to whoever buys the business and takes over the lease whether they want to keep the name and the recipes.” 4853 Newport Ave., 619-222-0151.
Pop Pie Co.
The owners of Pop Pie Co. in University Heights have decided not to open a second location in Ocean Beach, in the structure at 1852 Bacon St. that housed Nati’s Mexican Restaurant for more than 50 years.
For several months the rumor persisted that Steven Torres and his spouse, Nan Suebsarakham would take over the property to open a larger version of their pot pie shop. Though in early June they issued a statement that read in part: “We’ve parted ways with the developer of Pop Pie Co.’s Ocean Beach location. We’re disappointed that it didn’t work out, but we’re incredibly thankful for and encouraged by all the support we received from the community.”
The couple indicated they are hoping to bring the eatery into other communities in the near future. 4404 Park Blvd., 619-501-4440, poppieco.com.
Tucked behind Phil’s BBQ is the new Himalayan Palace Restaurant, which replaced Flavors of Mayura. The business is run by Khem Kharel who owns the well-established Himalayan Cuisine in La Mesa and other similar kitchens in Mission Valley, Chula Vista and Mira Mesa.
Unique to the Midway District location are house-made noodles and dumplings, plus a daily lunch buffet (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) for $11.99 that features an array of Nepalese and Tibetan dishes accented with exotic spices and chili peppers. 3760 Sports Arena Blvd., 619-510-4966, himalayanpalacesd.com.