It's already been a big year for new restaurant openings in San Diego, and things should only heat up as we move into fall, with a number of notable restaurants set to make their debuts between now and winter. High-profile Top Chef vets Richard Blais and Brian Malarkey will both debut new concepts while favorite local restaurant brands Tender Greens and The Patio expand their holdings. Throw in a vegan cocktail bar and an infusion of ramen, including a direct-from-Japan import, and it's another exciting chapter in San Diego's continuing restaurant boom.
Location: 1640 Camino Del Rio North, Mission Valley
Projected Opening: Mid-October
The fourth San Diego location for the tremendously popular fast-casual concept will set up shop as an anchor tenant of the Westfield Mission Valley shopping mall, with a design featuring beautiful and edible aeroponic garden towers from Green City Farms that will grow lettuce for the restaurant. Peter Balistreri, the executive chef at company's Westfied UTC location, will to run the kitchen here. With the recent investment from the magic-making Union Square Hospitality Group, expect Tender Greens to skyrocket in San Diego and beyond.
The Crack Shack
Location: 2266 Kettner Boulevard, Little Italy
Projected Opening: November
Richard Blais and company are climbing aboard the fast-casual bullet train with a concept built around all the delicious things that can be made with chicken and eggs. Slotting in next to Juniper & Ivy, The Crack Shack's all-day menu will offer grilled and fried chicken tucked into sandwiches, French fries crisped in rendered chicken fat and more; the open air design promises plenty of seating in the San Diego sunshine.
The Herb Shop
Location: 2210 Kettner Boulevard, Little Italy
Projected Opening: December
Brian Malarkey takes a break from unfurling more Fabric of Social Dining outposts for this independent restaurant project that combines a casual market and cafe dubbed Herb & Eatery with Herb & Wood, a full-service restaurant that will center around a wood-fire grill fueled menu. Malarkey and business partner Chris Puffer are tackling the design of the space too, planning a breezy dining room in marble and wood plus green elements that range from a living wall to a plant-filled patio.
Location: 1503 30th Street, South Park
Projected Opening: Late September
Jeremy Scullin, an alum of one of the country's most notable vegan restaurants, will helm this ambitious vegan cocktail bar whose drinks will be curated by David Kinsey and Sean Hoard. Owner Kory Stetina, who partnered on KINDRED with designer Paul Basile and CH Projects' Arsalun Tafazoli, tells Eater that the menu will include bar snacks (chimichurri skewers and a booze-soaked spin on ants on a log), plus shareable boards and larger options that range from pistachio-crusted tofu to Carolina BBQ jackfruit sandwiches. On the design, Stetina says it'll be "two parts elegant cocktail parlour and one part villainous lair".
Fireside by The Patio
Location: 2855 Perry Road, Liberty Station
Projected Opening: September/October
The Patio Group continues its unstoppable climb with an offshoot concept that's part of Liberty Station's new restaurant renaissance. Designed around two outdoor kitchens built in shipping containers that will house custom-made Santa Maria grills/smoking ovens, yakitori grills and a wood-fired pizza oven, most of the restaurant's 300-plus seats will be situated on two patios that incorporate the restaurant's signature green elements and fire features.
Location: 8055 Armour Street, Kearny Mesa
Projected Opening: Mid-September
The promise of game-changing ramen has eaters salivating over this Japanese ramen house that has chosen San Diego as the location of its first of many planned shops for the U.S; at least three are in the cards locally. Nishiki plans to distinguish itself by making their noodles in-house daily and will be offering both traditional and inventive styles of ramen.
Location: 2254 India Street, Little Italy
Projected Opening: November
RakiRaki's just-annouced "sushi burrito" concept Pokirrito will also be incorporated into the second location of their popular ramen shop. Yale Jallos Design is working on the 2,000-square-foot space that will blend gritty industrial style with white brick, living green walls and elements inspired by the esthetic of Japanese alleyways. The eatery will seat 50 inside and have a 15-seat sidewalk patio.