It's true, it's true! Eater has confirmed speculation that Rick Bayless has a project in planning for San Diego. The internationally-renowned chef, who was recently seen eating around our town, will be expanding his Red O Restaurant concept to the UTC-area.
Late last week, Red O Restaurant's Chief Operating Officer Jason Miranda told us that the company was "finalizing lease negotiations with Irvine Company for a site in La Jolla" after our savvy tipsters pointed us to the exact location, 4340 La Jolla Village Drive, where it will take over the Golden Triangle spot vacated by Donovan's Prime Steakhouse when the steakhouse moves to Prospect Street in early January.
The Irvine Company's Michael Lyster shared Red O's already had great success at another of their properties, Newport Beach's Fashion Island, where the eatery debuted in 2013.
For Red O in San Diego, the company will tear down the existing restaurant space and construct a new 8,300-square-foot building, encompassing a dining room and bar plus another 2,000-square-foot of outdoor dining, within The Plaza, their 825,000 office campus located across from Westfield UTC. The restaurant is scheduled to open by mid-2016.
Bayless, an James Beard award-winning host and chef who won the first season of Top Chef Masters and has authored multiple cookbooks, is known as an authority on Mexican cuisine and owns several Mexican-inspired restaurants in Chicago, including Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. Red O, which has another location on Melrose in Los Angeles and another in the works for Santa Monica, features steak and seafood entrees plus "authentic Mexican and lighter California-style dishes".