The Cohn Restaurant Group is cooking up a fresh suite of food and drink offerings for Hillcrest which are all set to debut in April, bringing in the tried-and-true BO-beau kitchen to replaced their 100 Wines concept which shuttered in the University Avenue space last fall. A proven hit in Ocean Beach, where the flagship BO-beau kitchen + bar spawned subsequent openings in La Mesa (BO-beau kitchen + garden) and Long Beach (BO-beau kitchen + roof tap), the fourth iteration of the neighborhood bistro is being designed once again by the hospitality group’s resident designer and co-creator of the concept, Philippe Beltran, who is changing over the 120-seat restaurant into BO-beau + cache, a more romantic and bohemian gathering space. Beltran, who helped to establish several well-known local restaurants before joining the CRG, told Eater that he will return to oversee day-to-day operations at this location and the new project he’s creating next door.
A frequent traveller and avid collector, Beltran was inspired by the kitchens of the world to develop Tacos Libertad, an adjacent fast-casual eatery that will specialize in tacos a la brasa, with everything cooked over hot coals. The brightly colored shop, with artwork influenced by world music icon Manu Chao, will center around an open kitchen fueled by a custom-made wood-burning Caja China oven with a Santa Maria-style grill on top. The counter-service menu, which will pull flavors and ingredients from Mexico and beyond, including various European countries, Peru and Cuba, will feature folded and grilled tacos made with tortillas crafted on-site and stuffed with everything from pork belly to duck and octopus, plus margaritas on tap and Mexican beer.
As for the “cache” part of BO-beau kitchen + cache, the word means “hidden” in French, which translates here into a secret speakeasy behind the two eateries that guests will enter through a door in the taco shop. The upscale 50-seat bar will be filled with vintage chandeliers and olive trees, with walls papered in antique vellum and decorated with a large-scale mural of one of French artist Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec’s most iconic works. Newly-signed to develop the European lounge’s cocktail program is Cervantes Magaña, who recently drafted the drink menu for Mission Hills’ Bar by Red Door.