Named after a rural resort town in New Zealand that's known as an epicenter for adventure sports, Queenstown (corner of Columbia and Cedar in Little Italy) is the newest and most food-centric project yet from PJ Lamont and Matt Baker, the partners behind Pacific Beach's Bare Back Grill.
The duo is collaborating with sought-after scene-setter Michael Soriano (Sessions Public, The Pearl, Vin de Syrah), who they previously tapped to design their Raglan Public House in Ocean Beach.
Soriano gave Eater a tour of the early 1900's-era house that's being transformed into Queenstown, with a large central bar (20 beers on draft and 8 wines on tap) and an intimate parlor with seating for 12. He's keeping the house's original windows and adding homey touches like tile work and drapes made from repurposed shirts, while avoiding some current, and common, design trends — in his words, "no reclaimed wood and no Edison lightbulbs". Outside, Soriano's vision includes a front and side garden area with a fire pit and seating for 30.
When the restaurant opens at the end of March, the Queenstown menu will be overseen by two chefs from the Bare Back Grill roster. Lamont told Eater that Chef Reco Yanez will focus on their core menu of burgers made with 100% organic and grass fed beef, ground fresh daily, and their homemade chutneys and sauces. He'll also manage a small edible garden, planting herbs and vegetables for the kitchen.
Chef Christian Ramirez will be working on a breakfast program that'll include American and New Zealand classics, and developing menu specials sourced from Little Italy's Saturday farmers market.
For lunch, they'll be doing savory mini pies (meat and vegetable) and are considering a walk-up window to vend pies to passers-by. They're also putting in a small retail area that will sell jams and jellies.
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