With three thriving Fig Tree Café's plus Del Mar's Café Cantata to his name, Johan Engman is unquestionably an expert in what people like to eat for breakfast. His newest morning eats-centric offering, Breakfast Republic, which launched at 7 a.m. today and will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, is the next evolution in his Rise & Shine Restaurant Group and it involves beer, lots of beer.
15 taps of beer await pairing with a.m. fare at the recently remodeled 2,100-square-foot University Avenue restaurant, formerly Western Steakburger, which now holds 95 seats that span the dining room, wrap-around front patio and newly-added back patio. Prosecco, sauvignon blanc, two kinds of kombucha and house cold brew are on draft too, with two sizes of take-home growlers available for the kombucha and coffee.
Engman, whose irreverent and cheeky design touches everything from the glassware to the ceiling, walls, and restrooms (you'll see), says he designed Breakfast Republic's menu to be unique in the San Diego breakfast realm, taking inspiration from his travels and transforming favorite dishes into morning fare. The famous wings at Portland's Pok Pok are a jumping off point for his Vietnamese chicken wing breakfast bowl, Mexican churros get reimagined in pancake form, and jambalaya gets brunch-y with a three egg-topping; all eggs are sourced from a family farm in Ramona.
Though Engman won't likely open more Fig Tree Cafe's in San Diego, he designed Breakfast Republic to be scalable and replicable and says he's already in lease negotiations for a second location.