Longtime followers of the San Diego food scene will no doubt remember Don and Arlene Coulon, whose Belgian Lion restaurant was a beloved fixture in Ocean Beach for over twenty years.
Now, three of the Coulon's grandchildren, sisters Anne-Marie, Dominique and Jacqueline, are poised to bring a new eatery back to the beach community that raised them.
The dynamic trio is opening Little Lion, a cafe inspired by both their Belgian roots and California upbringing that's due in early December at 1424 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. Anne-Marie, a chef who staged at Chez Panisse and ran a successful catering company, is creating the menu while Dominique oversees their marketing and branding and Jacqueline (Starlite, Jsix) runs the beverage program and front of house.
Anne-Marie and her husband Matt own Griffin Farms in Campo, where they will be growing produce for the menu. Little Lion Cafe will start off with breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch service before expanding into dinner by next summer.
Open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., breakfast options include garlic and citrus-braised greens with an organic poached egg and house made ricotta with seasonal fruit, prosciutto and honey. Lunch ranges from a vegan version of Belgian green soup to a roasted shrimp sandwich with spicy cilantro remoulade and Anne-Marie's ode to the Belgian Lion's famous thrice-fried potatoes.
For brunch, there are Belgian waffles, a grass fed bistro burger and baked eggs served in individual cast iron pans, plus a list of French and domestic wines and Belgian and San Diego beers in bottles.
The siblings aren't the only Coulons in the local culinary world; their aunt is the force behind the well-respected Michele Coulon Dessertier in La Jolla while cousin Nathan is executive chef of True Food Kitchen.
Little Lion will carry some of Michele's famous macarons and make their own baked goods in-house, including gingerbread, waffle cookies and savory tarts.