After a few delays, Heights Tavern is on track to open by the end of February, says owner Bill McHugh. McHugh, who opened The Regal Bar in La Mesa in 2009, sold his stake in La Jolla's Jose's Courtroom in 2011 to focus on this Normal Heights project.
The 3,800 square foot space will have seating for over 350 people — including space on their dog-friendly sidewalk patio and in the large, partially-covered backyard, complete with a fireplace.
Heights Tavern's planning to be open for breakfast on the weekends and for lunch and dinner throughout the week; the kitchen will even stay open until 1:30 a.m., serving an abbreviated menu in the wee hours.
McHugh called on a well-known local restauranteur to consult on the menu of "upscale bar food", and pledges that the kitchen will only use fresh ingredients to put together their lineup of burgers, brats, fries and salads. Their signature "wet fries" are inspired by French-Canadian poutine, but will be available with a variety of toppings.
He told Eater San Diego that he doesn't want to compete with Blind Lady Ale House, the neighboring epicenter of craft beer; though Heights Tavern will have 25 taps, McHugh doesn't intend to seek out beer rarities or special releases. But he does think that Heights Tavern offers something unique to the neighborhood — good food, beer, wine and spirits under one roof.
Blind Tiger Cocktail Co. put together the drink list, which includes a pairing of a beer and a shot, and five craft cocktails.
Overseeing the food will be Chef Abe Botello, who spent the last five years in the kitchens of Urban Solace and Solace & the Moonlight Lounge. Bottello will help to open the restaurant, train kitchen staff and make sure the food is locked in. After that, Botello, a San Diego native, shared that he plans to move to Seattle to explore his culinary options.
· Heights Tavern [Official Site]
· All Sneak Peeks on Eater San Diego [~ESD~]