Last summer’s opening of the Little Italy Food Hall ushered in the very first eatery from popular TV host and author Sam Zien, also known as Sam the Cooking Guy. Created in collaboration with Grain & Grit Collective, the local hospitality group that also runs the food hall, Not Not Tacos by Sam the Cooking Guy serves up a playful menu of tacos made with unconventional fillings that range from mac and cheese to eggplant parmesan.
The Emmy-winning Zien, who also acts as the food hall’s ambassador, has amassed an audience of over 1.2 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, who tune to watch the “everyman cook” whip up dishes in his San Diego kitchen. Now, Zien is bringing a piece of his home to Little Italy by opening a new eatery, bar, and bottle shop called Graze by Sam the Cooking Guy just across the Piazza della Famiglia from the Little Italy Food Hall. Spanning 1,646-square-feet, it’s another partnership with Grain & Grit Collective and should debut in early 2020.
Centered around a glassed-in kitchen, the restaurant will feature folding glass doors that open onto an outdoor patio and will be styled like the house Zien shares with his wife Kelly as a cozy, living room-like lounge space with personal touches and comfy furniture. It will offer a variety of salads and sandwiches during the day and shareable, “grazing” plates at night. Zien, whose next cookbook comes out Fall 2020, tells Eater that the menu specifics are still in development but diners can count on seeing many of the recipes that he’s created throughout the years. Graze by Sam the Cooking Guy will also include a full bar, as well as a retail bottle shop stocked with beer and wine.