Taking on tiki for their next project is SDCM, the local collective that runs Little Italy hotspot Kettner Exchange as well as Vin de Syrah in the Gaslamp and PB's FIREHOUSE. Eater has learned that the team will take the former Good Time Charlie's space in Pacific Beach and transform it into a thoroughly tiki-themed speakeasy that will be fronted by a casual poké shop; the daytime restaurant, called Good Time Poké, will hide a secret entrance to the nighttime tiki bar, dubbed The Grass Skirt. It's a combo inspired partly by Chicago's Lost Lake, Imbibe Magazine's 2015 bar of the year, which boasts a rum-centric menu from notable bartender Paul McGee (Three Dots and a Dash) and sits next door to an Asian takeout spot.
Kettner Exchange executive chef Brian Redzikowski, who just did a dinner at Manhattan's prestigious James Beard House and recently revamped SDCM's beach-adjacent FIREHOUSE as the group's newly-named corporate executive chef, will create the menus for both concepts. Redzikowski, whose cooking style often combines his French training with Asian flavors, has been testing out poke dishes on Kettner Exchange's brunch menu, and says that Good Time Poké' will feature poké bowls using high quality fish, such as Skuna Bay salmon, while his menu for The Grass Skirt will be elevated versions of Hawaiian-inspired dishes, ranging from shrimp toast to fried rice and stir frys. He and SDCM beverage director Steven Tuttle have collaborated on tiki-themed Chefs Table dinners at the Little Italy restaurant and Tuttle is crafting the cocktail lineup at The Grass Skirt, which will include his award-winning Tiki Cross.
SDCM co-owner Matt Spencer told Eater that Good Time Poké will be a straightforward, casual eatery operating during daytime hours. At night, a set of double doors at the back of the shop will give way to a cave-like entrance, complete with piped in sounds of a volcano, that opens into The Grass Skirt's dark, tiki wonderland conceived in collaboration with design firm Davis Ink Ltd. (Rustic Root, Parq). Look for the dual concepts to open in late Fall 2016.