Initially planned as a satellite tasting room when it was first announced last year, Modern Times Beer’s new project in Encinitas, dubbed the The Far West Lounge, has since evolved into a full-fledged vegan restaurant. This will be Modern Times’ first venue with a food component in San Diego, although the Point Loma-based brewery recently launched beer-focused eateries in Los Angeles and Portland.
As founder Jacob McKean notes, “When we first signed our lease on this location, we didn’t have a single operating kitchen. Now we have two, with several more in planning, and the process of developing the menu and building the restaurant side of our business has been incredible. I’m extremely excited to now be in a position to bring our food program to Encinitas.”
The switch from tasting room to restaurant came in response to an appeal from a local community group. Last month, the new proposal was unanimously approved at a Encinitas Planning Commission and the appeal window recently closed with no new appeals made. McKean says that the original layout of the 150-seat space on S. Coast Highway remains the same, design-wise, save for office space that has now been swapped for kitchen.
Aiming to open this summer, The Far West Lounge will serve a similar plant-based menu to The Dankness Dojo, Modern Times Beer’s plant-based restaurant and café in downtown Los Angeles, but with new dishes added.
McKean tells Eater that all of the brewery’s current projects in the pipeline will also serve food. A major expansion of Lomaland Fermatorium, Modern Times’ flagship brewery in the Rosecrans area, will increase the size of the tasting room and add a food component; it’s expected to take a year to complete.