With five establishments and counting across San Diego, Manna Heaven BBQ is likely the best-known and most popular all-you-can-eat (AYCE) Korean barbecue restaurant in town. Owner Sean Yeo launched Manna’s first outpost on Convoy Street in 2010, where it still draws crowds, and has since opened restaurants in Chula Vista, Mira Mesa, and San Marcos. His latest, which recently debuted inside Westfield Plaza Bonita, is a reboot of the brand in preparation for an expansion that will include several more Manna locations across the county.
To set the stage for the next evolution of Manna Heaven BBQ, Yeo enlisted sought-after local designers Michael Soriano (Realm of the 52 Remedies, Queenstown Village) and James Denton to dream up the new 8,000-square-foot restaurant in National City, and says that some of the existing locations may also be getting an update. Despite the changes, Yeo tells Eater that he’s planning on keeping menu prices steady.
An alum of the Culinary Institute of America’s Napa Valley campus, Yeo also operates Manna Shabu & BBQ in Arizona and Texas, which combines AYCE Korean barbecue and shabu-shabu. In San Diego, he intends to open one new Manna Heaven BBQ per year over the next several years, exploring sites near UTC, the College Area, North County, and San Ysidro.