Well-loved chef Rich Sweeney has landed at a new restaurant that’s currently under construction at the Fashion Valley Mall. Part of the award-winning Fox Restaurant Concepts, which created True Food Kitchen and also runs Flower Child in the Flower Hill Promenade, North Italia serves an Italian menu that includes pizza and fresh pasta made daily. Sweeney, who has cooked in San Diego for over 12 years and is a former ‘Top Chef’ competitor, left his post as executive chef of Waypoint Public last month; in his two years with the local eatery, Sweeney helped develop and launch a second location in North County.
Sweeney says that he’s excited to be part of the Fox Restaurant Concepts family and particularly looking forward to running a from-scratch kitchen that will push him outside of his “American gastropub style” comfort zone. North Italia, which is scheduled to debut this fall near True Food Kitchen’s location in the mall, is one of two eateries that the hospitality group is bringing to San Diego. Replacing California Pizza Kitchen is Blanco, which will offer a Mexican menu and tequila-based drinks.
Filling Sweeney’s role at Waypoint Public are chefs from its existing staff; Mark Pultz (The Corner Drafthouse, La Valencia Hotel, The Langham New York) and Joseph Grasso (Herringbone, US Grant Hotel) head up the Del Sur kitchen while North Park is overseen by Philip Natsios (The Marine Room, Poseidon).