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A Cucina Enoteca Is Headed for Scripps Ranch’s Splashy New Development

The local Italian chain hopes to arrive by late 2020

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A rendering of the glitzy Watermark project landing in Scripps Ranch.
Howard Oullette/Watermark

Prolific restaurant collective Urban Kitchen Group just announced plans to bring its wine shop-meets-rustic restaurant Cucina Enoteca to The Watermark in Scripps Ranch next year.

Southern California restaurateur Tracy Borkum’s new 6,500-square-foot location is a spinoff of her restaurant group’s decade-old Cucina Urbana flagship in Bankers Hill. Cucina Enoteca got its start in Irvine in 2011, and two more outposts have followed in Del Mar and Newport Beach. The latest project is scheduled to break ground this summer and arrive by late 2020.

The modern indoor-outdoor Italian kitchen will sport a rustic farmhouse look, with replicas of its customized furniture, lighting, and decor available for sale inside. An in-house wine shop will offer guests tastings and educational seminars, as well as bottles to purchase at retail price for their meal or to take home.

The sprawling one-story site will sit on the southeast corner of Scripps Poway Parkway and Scripps Highlands Drive. Other tenants headed for the new 35-acre mixed-use development include luxury cinema and restaurant The Lot, Urban Plates, Whole Foods, Cava Grill, and Westin’s 140-room Element Hotel.

This spring the growing restaurant group named Tim Kolanko its new executive chef, charged with overseeing its five restaurants across San Diego and Orange County alongside a full-service catering division.

The founding chef de cuisine of farm-to-table temple A.R. Valentien at The Lodge at Torrey Pines most recently spearheaded the expansion of Blue Bridge Hospitality, opening a flurry restaurants including Stake Chophouse and Bar, El Roy’s Tequila Bar and Kitchen, and Liberty Public Market. Under his new post, the sustainable food expert plans to rely on Southern California ingredients to whip up new spins on classic Italian dishes.

Menu changes are already in motion. Kensington’s three-year-old Cucina Sorella will debut a new lineup on Tuesday, April 16, featuring more family-friendly fare, deep-dish pizzas ($15-$24), and a build-your-own pasta menu ($12-$17) with options to sprinkle on proteins and market vegetables.

CS Dinner Menu 2019 by on Scribd

Cucina Sorella’s new seven-inch spicy sausage and mushroom pizza.
Urban Kitchen Group/official photo