Two new Mexican eateries from the Rise & Shine Restaurant Group (Breakfast Republic) are replacing Crudo, the Mediterranean restaurant that opened in The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch last summer and shuttered at the end of 2017. Rise & Shine owner Johan Engman is gearing up to launch El Jardin, a seasonal Mexican restaurant with Top Chef competitor and local culinary standout Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins, this March in Liberty Station and will follow that opening with the debut of Casa Rustica and California Taco Club side by side in the former Crudo space.
Designed for Carmel Valley as a family-friendly dining option, described as “Fun Mex”, Casa Rustica will serve up Mexican specialties in a festive and casual setting. Next door, California Taco Club will offer a rotating taco menu that will also feature a “taco-of-the-day” based on the seafood catch of the day. Both eateries are currently scheduled to open this May. Rise & Shine also operates a branch of their booming Breakfast Republic brand in the same complex.
Engman also gave Eater an update on two more projects in the pipeline; in March, the restaurateur is bringing another morning eats-based eatery to University Avenue, called North Park Breakfast Company, but it will have an entirely separate and unique menu to Breakfast Republic. And his Italian eatery, which is coming in next to the original Breakfast Republic in North Park, is set to arrive this summer. Initially dubbed Pizza Republic, it has been renamed as NorPa Kitchen and will feature house-cured meat, private label wine, fresh pasta made on-site and Neapolitan-style pizza.