Operating two long-standing locations in the Sacramento area, the first of which opened in 1962, Carmelita’s has arrived in San Diego and settled into Park 12, the massive mixed-use development at Park Boulevard and 12th Avenue across from Petco Park. Founded by Alberto and Carmen Heredia, the restaurants are now run by their son Clemente and his wife Rosalba.
Named after family matriarch Carmelita, the restaurant and bar still serves dishes based on her recipes, like carnitas, as well as traditional specialties of Puebla and Central Mexico, including a red pozole made with guajillo chilies and Mexico City tacos. Offering lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, the restaurant also serves a brunch menu from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday that features chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, grandma’s take on morning enchiladas, and many margaritas.
The 3,200-square-foot restaurant joins Park 12’s existing lineup of tenants, which includes Achilles Coffee and the incoming East Village Brewing Company, whose owners are veterans of Ballast Point, as well as CVS, F45 Fitness, Sol Collective Yoga, and Pure Studio Salons.
Urban Strategies Group’s Andrew Shemirani tells Eater that Park 12 will also house Choi’s Korean, which is scheduled to open later this year. Bringing downtown its first Korean fried chicken spot, the restaurant will also serve bibimbap, bulgogi, and a variety of anju, or drinking snacks like kimchi and seafood fritters that are typically paired with Korean cocktails made with soju and makgeolli. Shemirani says there’s one remaining restaurant lease available, for a 2,400-square-foot space with a large patio facing the ballpark.