A thoroughly Californian take on a tapas restaurant is coming to North Park courtesy of a pair of industry vets who each have two decades of hospitality experience. Following several exciting openings that have landed in the area over the past six months, Finca is due to arrive in the neighborhood this summer where it’ll anchor a 94-unit multi-use building on Grim Avenue.
Owners Dan Valerino and Joe Bower met at Juniper & Ivy, where Valerino served as general manager and Bower was a chef; in 2020, the duo founded Bottle Boon, a consulting company through which they operate Green Acre in Torrey Pines and advise other local clients.
Finca is the first project they’re developing from the ground up; the 3,030-square-foot space, designed to be a relaxed and comfortable gathering spot, will include a retail section spotlighting wines from Spain as well as regions throughout California producing Spanish varietals. Valerino, a certified sommelier, will host wine education and offer a wine club with member benefits and says he plans to keep the restaurant’s wine list affordable and markup-free. The bar will also feature vermouth and sangria, and is aiming to have a full cocktail lineup.
Bower’s menu touches on traditional tapas but will be directly informed by Californian ingredients and flavors. The chef, who also worked at Craft & Commerce, is building a collection of dishes meant for sharing that will include a riff on patatas bravas spiked with poblano and jalapeno chiles, charred eggplant dip with housemade potato chips, surf and turf toast, and hamachi crudo.
Valerino was once the general manager of the Hake in La Jolla, and its managing partner, Ricardo Dondisch, is now on board to step into the same role at Finca. A industry vet who’s owned several restaurants, Dondisch is an alum of Cornell’s hotel and hospitality management program.
The 90-seat restaurant will also feature an open kitchen, as well as communal and counter seating.