After nearly 30 years in the Gaslamp, Croce's, the iconic live music and dining venue, shuttered after its last service on New Year's Eve. But it wasn't a final bow, because the legendary local spot is rolling into 2014 with a new lease on life and a brand new place to call home.
Tonight marks the soft debut of Croce's Park West in Bankers Hill, in the former Avenue 5 space; a more official grand opening is set for January 19, the kickoff of San Diego Restaurant Week.
A short test run for friends and regulars, held last month, gave the waitstaff and kitchen (mostly carryovers from the downtown restaurant) time to get used to their stylish new digs, which include a 30-seat patio, a sweeping bar and a glass-fronted music and dining room.
The dinner menu, conceived by executive chef James Clark, is more that 50 percent new, including bar snacks and small plates (sea-salted caramel corn with honey-sriracha roasted peanuts, Jamaican jerk ribs) and larger dishes that can ordered as half or full portions. Lunch and brunch service should be introduced next month.
Founder Ingrid Croce and husband Jimmy Rock are looking forward to building a relationship with the neighborhood and making this iteration of Croce's a community hub.
Live music will be scheduled Wednesday through Sunday, supplemented by "Movie Mondays" and "Talking Tuesdays", when salon-type discussions might be held.
Croce's Park West [Official Site]