Since Heaven Sent Desserts pulled up stakes at 3001 University Avenue to move to a smaller storefront a few steps east, Eater readers have been asking us to sleuth out what new concept had scored its prime North Park corner.
Construction is at full swing at the 90-seat space, which is adding a patio and is scheduled to open by the end of November. It's called Encontro, inspired by the Spanish word 'encontrar' meaning to meet, find or discover. Appropriately, BASILE Studio's Paul Basile (Soda & Swine, Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant) is designing it with lots of found materials, including wood planks that'll be used to construct the bar and line the exterior, i-beam structural supports employed as unique bench seating and metal grating structured to support a living wall.
Structured as a fast-casual eatery doing craft food, Encontro's menu from consulting chef Jason Hotchkiss, formerly of LA's Bottega Louie, who was Whisknladle Hospitality's corporate chef but now holds the same post for the Cohn Restaurant Group, should be particularly appealing to those who eat paleo as it's centered around protein and greens. Six salads, from a kale caesar to spinach or a wedge salad, will be available topped with chicken, steak or salmon, all cooked on an open grill viewable from the dining area. In addition, they'll feature housemade sausage, a burger, steak sandwich and mini corn dogs to go with 24 taps of beer, plus wine and craft soda; Encontro will also partner with North Park's Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream to offer milkshakes.
Aiming to be "where cool coexists with quickness and convenience," Encontro's ownership tells Eater that the restaurant will have a walk-up window on 30th, where diners can pick up orders placed online or satisfy late-night food cravings.