A new concept making its debut on El Cajon Boulevard will put a spin on the cuisines of Morocco and Baja California by finding the crossroads between the two. Medina will open next month in North Park, where it replaces Cruiser Taco. Founder Alia Jaziri says the “refined fast-casual” eatery will be modern, colorful, and stylishly designed, featuring quick-service during the day and transforming into a lively beer and wine bar in the evening.
Born to a North African father and a Chinese-Indonesian mother, Jaziri grew up in San Diego cooking North African cuisine. Her father is a longtime restaurant industry veteran, but Jaziri pursued a career in law and technology and spent a decade working in the Bay Area. While in San Francisco, she began developing the basis for Medina, holding pop-ups in the area and running a food truck as part of a food entrepreneur incubator program sponsored by Google. Returning to San Diego, she worked in the front of house at Juniper & Ivy, continuing her pop-ups and catering events while operating as a vendor at downtown’s Lane Field Park Market.
Serving lunch and dinner to start, with brunch launching at a later date, Medina’s all-day menu will include classic shakshuka, a North African dish of eggs poached in a smoky, spicy tomato sauce as well as grain bowls with herbed couscous, Moroccan-spiced chicken asado with roasted corn salad, and merguez, a spicy homemade lamb sausage, featured in flatbread tacos with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled onions, tzatziki crema, and harissa. There will also be a Greek yogurt machine, with diners allowed to build their own dessert by adding toppings ranging from olive oil and sea salt to fresh cherry syrup.