San Diego’s relatively quiet, coastal town of Bird Rock is about to get a major culinary boost with the summer 2022 arrival of a new restaurant that brings together a yearslong passion project from longtime La Jolla residents Eric and Zoe Kleinbub and a powerhouse culinary team that includes industry pros from the three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park and the acclaimed NoMad Hotels and Bars.
Called Paradisaea, its open kitchen will be run by Mark Welker, who spent over 10 years with the group behind Eleven Madison Park and NoMad in New York City, working in various roles including executive pastry chef. His menu of contemporary California cuisine will span from local seafood and handmade pastas to a burger and vegan and vegetarian options. Helping to direct the culinary component is Lowder-Tascarella Hospitality, a newly formed group from Christopher Lowder and Jeffrey Tascarella, NoMad alums with decades of experience in restaurant and bar management.
Named after island-dwelling birds-of-paradise, the 4,500-square-foot restaurant is landing in the iconic “Piano Building” on La Jolla Boulevard, which the Kleinbubs purchased in 2019. Partnering with La Jolla-based B&R Architects and interior design firm Georgis & Mirgorodsky, the couple worked to preserve much of the original style of the structure, which was built in 1949 by famed modernist and Art Deco architect William Kesling.
Combining midcentury design lines and tropical vibes, Paradisaea’s 57-seat main dining room will be done in green and salmon tones with leather-clad columns and driftwood floors; SoCal artists have custom-designed a mural for the space, as well as its ceramic tables. Presiding over the central horseshoe-shaped travertine bar is beverage director Dannika Underhill (Kindred), whose seasonal cocktails will draw inspiration from San Diego’s beach communities.
Adjacent to the restaurant, the Kleinbubs will also open Dodo Bird Donuts, an all-day cafe serving Dark Horse Coffee, breakfast sandwiches, and pastries and a store called Tropical Punch, which will retail a collection of luxury home, beauty, and fashion brands.