After a dozen years on Fourth Avenue, La Puerta is venturing out of Gaslamp and will open a second location in Mission Hills. Owner Merritte Powell has contemplated expanding the popular Mexican eatery for years, at one point considering a Little Italy project and even looking at Brooklyn Girl in Mission Hills before it became Cardellino.
Last month, everything finally came together when Powell, now a Mission Hills resident, signed the lease to take over The Patio on Goldfinch. It’s the latest Patio Group property to be picked up by new proprietors following Saska’s in Mission Beach and Fireside by The Patio in Liberty Station.
While browsing the Nextdoor app, Powell observed his Mission Hills neighbors expressing the need for a full-service Mexican restaurant in the area so he hopes La Puerta will be well-received. It will be family-friendly but may also offer late night dining. He says that while the downtown outpost has a casual cantina feel, the Goldfinch Street restaurant will have a more upscale atmosphere. The 4,000-square-foot LEED-certified building is being redesigned to have an even greater emphasis on patio dining and the former cheese room will be removed to lengthen the bar.
A larger kitchen will enable the eatery to serve its existing menu of salads, tacos, and burritos but also expand to include more seafood options and a greater variety of entrees. Crowd-pleasers like Taco Tuesday, happy hour, and weekend brunch will carry over along with its comprehensive list of agave spirits. The new bar will feature more progressive cocktails as well as seasonal frozen drinks.
Mike Spilky, owner of Location Matters which represented the landlord said, “In sourcing a replacement tenant for the former Patio Restaurant, there was significant interest from various local and regional restaurant groups who loved the highly-improved space. The Mission Hills community was really lacking a restaurant with a Mexican food offering and after much deliberation over various concepts we are super happy that the long-running La Puerta will land here.” Alex Drexsel with Urban Strategies represented the tenant in the deal.
The Mission Hills location should be ready to open within four to seven months, and Powell tells Eater that he is also interested in bringing La Puerta to North County.