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Chef-Driven Restaurant Shutters After Less Than Two Years in Hillcrest

Is the neighborhood no longer a dining destination?

Social Experiment bar + Kitchen
Social Experiment bar + Kitchen
Photo: Lyudmila Zotova

In lamentable restaurant news, chef/owner Wade Hageman has shuttered his Hillcrest eatery. Hageman opened Blue Ribbon Rustic Kitchen, his third San Diego restaurant, last June with a menu focused on handmade pastas and sophisticated, seasonal food. Earlier this summer, Hageman and his wife Kristi rebranded the University Avenue restaurant, changing the name to Social Experiment bar + kitchen and downshifting the menu to a more moderately-priced, shareable format with a bigger cocktail component.

When reached for comment, Hageman expressed his thanks to his supporters, telling Eater that Hillcrest is a great neighborhood and that "we gave it our best shot".

Hageman, who also owns Encinitas' popular Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizza and Craftsman New American Tavern, told Eater that he will be focusing on his North County restaurants.

Location Matters' Paul Ahern is handling the sale of the 2,100-square-foot space, which has changed hands several times in recent years. Hageman made significant improvements to the property, making it a turnkey opportunity for another restaurateur; interested parties should contact Ahern.

Blue Ribbon Rustic Kitchen

530 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103 619-501-6795