A spring due date has been set for The Guild, downtown’s newest luxury hotel that will open this May on West Broadway; the historic 1920s site, the former Army-Navy YMCA building, has been transformed into an eight-floor, 162-room Marriott Tribute Portfolio boutique hotel. In addition to a lobby-level cocktail bar, a cafe serving Intelligentsia Coffee, a grand ballroom, and underground event space, the hotel will also have a signature restaurant called Luca. The Mediterranean restaurant whose main dining room will center around an outdoor courtyard. Another greenery-filled space, Grace Garden, will function as a lounge for hotel guests.
Detroit native Justin Vaiciunas is Luca’s executive chef. An alum of Schoolcraft College Culinary Arts Program, Vaiciunas won several dining and chef awards while cooking in his hometown before moving on to different posts in Chicago and Salt Lake City. He comes to San Diego from Miami, where he most recently worked at The Local House on Ocean Drive.
Luca will be an all-day restaurant, offering a breakfast menu that includes a seafood scramble with blue crab, tiger shrimp, smoked salmon spread, and lemon hollandaise and avocado toast topped with poached eggs, pickled cherries, black garlic dust, and quinoa popcorn, while lunch will feature puffy tacos filled with striped bass, baja slaw, and pepper rouille; the red quinoa fritter lollipops topped with green goddess dressing and sheep’s feta, and the partially cold-smoked Smoky the Bear wagyu blend burger. Quick-service options for hotel guests and area workers will be serve in the the Grace Garden, including “build and go” salad, sandwich, and grain-based dishes.
At dinner, Vaiciunas will serve a mix of small plates and larger main courses, from wine-braised octopus with chorizo, curry aioli, eggplant, and spiced vinaigrette and pork belly with chai, English peas, mint, and sundried tomato cream sauce to a lamb loin with chocolate mushroom sauce, five herb pesto and crispy potato and chicken with quinoa risotto, charred cauliflower, spinach, and tomato relish. Desserts include a fig panna cotta with chai spiced cookie crumbs, turmeric ice cream, and cotton candy and carrot cake with mixed nut brittle, tahini cream, and candied filo.