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Bird Rock's Wheat & Water is the New Neighborhood Hangout

Pizza, small plates, cocktails & beer arrive on La Jolla Boulevard

Over two years in the making, Wheat & Water has finally landed on La Jolla Boulevard. First announced in 2014, the restaurant is a long-awaited project from La Jolla native Ted Cochrane, a vet of the local food industry, and business partner Doug Ritz that aims to bring a fresh dining option to the Bird Rock community and attract visitors seeking sustenance after a day at Windansea beach.

Its 1950s era concrete and brick building has been thoroughly remodeled, and now includes a sidewalk patio, garage-style roll-up doors, a large bar and the restaurant's centerpiece, a 56" x 60" California-made Forno Bravo pizza oven set behind glass in the demo kitchen. At its helm is executive chef Colten Lemmer (Pamplemousse, Sea & Smoke), whose seasonal and sustainable approach includes buying excess produce from local farms and participating in a composting program. His menu ranges from shared plates and starters including cioppino-style mussels and beef cheek pierogi to salads, cheese and charcuterie, and 12-inch pizzas made from a dough that goes through an 18-hour fermentation process before being baked at 700 degrees until crisp-bottomed and crackly-crusted. White pie variations include toppings such as rich mushroom duxelles or beets roasted in the oven's coals while red pie options include housemade meatballs made from Duroc pork and grass-fed beef, and each crust is brushed with chili oil and herbs before getting topped for extra flavor.

Now open for lunch and dinner, Wheat & Water is launching a 3 to 6 p.m. happy hour today that offers special prices on featured craft beers, tap wine, pizzas and small plates, plus discounted craft cocktails from mixologist Ashley Moore, who will soon be debuting fall flavored drinks to pair with the food menu. The team says it plans to launch weekend brunch by early 2017.