One of the founding tenants of The Headquarters at Seaport has closed up shop; Venissimo Cheese, an anchor when the complex first opened in 2013, shuttered quietly last month. Founder and Cheese Wiz Gina Freize currently operates locations of the beloved cheese store in Liberty Station, Mission Hills, Del Mar and North Park; Freize shared, “Sad day that we had to make the business decision to close The Headquarters. The rent was simply too high and the traffic for what we had to sell was too low. Most locals are happy to go to one of our other neighborhood shops with easier parking, and most visitors were coming in for sandwiches and venini, but not cheese, sadly not our core business.” Freize, a downtown resident, says she’s keeping an eye on other possible opportunities in the area as well as expansion in North County.
The space is being remodeled by sushi chef Scotty Brennan for the flagship of his fast-casual eatery Hi Poke; the “Pacific style seafood bar” will have some indoor seating and a counter-style service for a menu of white or brown rice, salad and chips that can pair with a variety of fish, sauces and toppings. The chef says he will also offer poke taco made with healthy jicama “tortillas” and soy paper-wrapped poke burritos as well as drinks served in young coconuts. Brennan told Eater that Hi Poke should launch in The Headquarters by early May and that he’s hoping to add beer and wine to the menu in six months.