First opened in 1994 on the stretch of Coast Highway 101 that runs through Encinitas, El Callejon has become known as a popular hangout for the beach community — the neighborhood frequented the colorful eatery for its traditional Mexican food and margaritas. But after 22 years in the space, the restaurant has lost its lease and will be leaving Encinitas; Eater is hearing that it will relocate to Rancho Santa Fe. According to The Coast News, its last day of business will be January 30; this Thursday, January 21, the eatery is planning on throwing farewell party with live music, a buffet and drink specials.
Taking over the space will be local restaurateur and chef Wade Hageman; Hageman and wife Kristi already operate two busy North County eateries, Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzaria and The Craftsman New American Tavern. Hageman, who recognized the Mexican restaurant's longtime contribution to the area and clarified that he was only approached by the building's owner after El Callejon was asked to leave, tells Eater that he and longtime chef de cuisine Marlaw Seraspi are working on a new Asian-inspired concept called Open House that they hope to launch there by Summer 2016 after a thorough renovation. Details are still being finalized, but Hageman says it will have a full bar, and that the menu will include their takes on ramen, yakitori and poke.