Opening Wednesday, November 7 at Fashion Valley Mall, front and center next to Bloomingdale’s, is the fifteenth location of North Italia. The modern Italian restaurant is a proven smash for Fox Restaurant Concepts, which also runs Flower Child in Del Mar and Blanco Tacos + Tequila which opened earlier this fall in Fashion Valley. The hospitality group, operator of 50 eateries nationwide, is establishing quite a presence in San Diego; another North Italia is planned for the One Paseo development and a yet-unnamed restaurant is coming to Coronado, where founder Sam Fox owns a home.
North Italia may be new to San Diego, but its executive chef is a familiar face. A former ‘Top Chef’ contestant, Rich Sweeney has been cooking in San Diego for over a decade, running his own eateries and most recently working as the executive chef of Waypoint Public. Known for his comfort with American gastropub fare, Sweeney spent six months training with the North Italia team; in the restaurant’s exhibition kitchen, he’ll oversee a from-scratch menu of pasta made fresh daily as well as pizza and dishes that bring a bright and ingredient-forward perspective to Italian classics. The 8,500-square-foot restaurant and bar seats nearly 300 guests and will be serving lunch, happy hour, dinner, and brunch.