It's been just about a month since Randy Smerik and his two sons, Brian and Tommy, took over the ownership and operation of Solare Restaurant in Liberty Station, which original Chef/Owner Stefano Ceresoli sold to focus on his first restaurant, Pacific Beach's Caffe Bella Italia. Smerick and co. are slowly revamping Solare's menu but intend to keep it rooted in Italian cuisine, and have brought in young, Sicilian-born chef, Accursio Lota, to help design lighter, seasonally-focused fare. Lota's started by adding a few Southern Italian specials and dishes that feature Sicilian products.
Lota, a former Marine Room chef who garnered recent attention over the Limone pop-up dinners that he put on with his wife Corinne, raises chickens and is an avid home gardener and craft food maker; he hopes to incorporate his house cured meats and homemade cheese onto the menu, along local seafood, meat and produce.
Entrepreneur Smerik is a partner in Tequila Fortaleza, so the restaurant's hosted a few tequila-pairing dinners (Lota says the key to this is to keep the food light and use citrus); they've also introduced $5 small plates at happy hour and will soon offer Sunday brunch.
· Solare Restaurant [Official Site]
· Limone, SD's Newest Pop-Up [SD Reader]