On the heels of the announcement of their brand new brewery in Little Italy, Eater San Diego has learned that Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits is moving forward with plans to incorporate a restaurant into their recently acquired 9,000-square-foot space on India Street, projected to launch later this summer.
Design details are still being finalized, but we're hearing that there will be a separate tasting room to highlight the experimental beers produced by the team here, plus an open kitchen and dining room. More info on the chef and menu is forthcoming.
Since this is Ballast Point's first foray into the brewery restaurant arena, Eater caught up with the brewery's CEO and founder, Jack White, with a few questions about Ballast Point's new food-focused direction.
Why did you decided to build out a restaurant too?
It was sort of a happy accident. We wanted a place to do more beer on an experimental level and we were looking all over San Diego for a smaller facility. We were tipped off about the space in Little Italy and when we went down to check it out, it kind of changed our whole way of thinking about the smaller project. There were some permitting issues if we didn't do food, and we had already been considering doing food in our larger facility, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to get our feet wet with operating a restaurant. Now that we've sunk our teeth into it, we're really looking forward to it.
So whenever you find the right location for a new production brewery, will that also have a restaurant component?
Most likely, because people want food when you're serving beer on a large scale like that. We like doing food trucks at our Scripps Ranch location, but we want to do something larger and more diverse, and the only way to do that effectively is to do it internally. And plus, it's going to be really fun to pair our beer with the food.
Will the food have beer in it?
If the dish doesn't have beer in it, we're hoping to create complimentary sauces and things like that with beer to go with it. But we're not going to put beer in something just for the sake of it.
What will the general feel of the restaurant be? How will it be set up?
I don't want it to be too formal; the way we're going to set up is going to reflect the experiences our team likes to have when we go out — good, high quality casual dining.
There's going to be a general tasting bar where you can stand and sample beers. And we will definitely have lots of comfortable seating in the dining area, a mix of communal and traditional seating.
Are you going after a full license that'll allow you to serve your spirits too?
No, it'll be beer and wine only, focusing on the experimental beers that we'll be making in the 5-barrel system there.
Will the tasting bar and restaurant have different operating hours?
I think we'll run the full hours of operation on both places; we're shooting for 10 or 11 a.m. until midnight.
Does this restaurant feel like a big shift for the brewery?
We've had a lot of requests to do it, and there are a lot of guys are on our team who are foodies and love pairing beer with food so it feels like a natural progression.
· BREAKING: Ballast Point To Open Brewery In Little Italy [~ESD~]
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