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Barbecue and Cocktails Join Forces in the East Village

Papalo partners up with Modbom in the former Amplified space

A tray of barbecue chicken and sides.
Smoked mole barbecue chicken, cornbread with citrus coconut butter, creamy pinto beans, and saffron rice.
James Tran

Amplified Ale Works will close its outpost at Pinnacle on the Park early next week, with a new restaurant and bar springing open in the Island Avenue space on Wednesday, March 1. Now called Modbom, its new proprietor is Aubree Miller, a longtime creative and marketing consultant who’s worked with Amplified owner Alex Pierson for over a decade.

In addition to Miller, who helped develop basement speakeasy the Acid Vault, Modbom’s ownership team includes the Vinyl Junkies’ Tim Mays and Eric Howarth with chef Drew Bent (Lola55, TigerTiger!) taking over the kitchen as the central hub for Papalo, his barbecue outfit. Bent, who also operates Papalito at Little Thief in North Park, is providing all the food for the restaurant but Papalo will function as a separate entity.

A man wearing a chef’s apron.
Chef Drew Bent
James Tran

Talking to Eater from Austin, where he’s staging with LeRoy & Lewis, one of Eater Austin’s essential barbecue spots, Bent describes his menu as “desert-inspired Sonoran barbecue”, featuring brisket, cherry-glazed pork ribs, mole chicken, and more smoked over coastal oak. While his North Park location offers barbecue sandwiches, Papalo will serve its smoked meat with made-to-order flour tortillas.

Bent is working on a whole animal program to source beef from Sonora, Mexico as well as San Diego County’s Perennial Pastures, and says he’ll be running frequent specials in the East Village along with secret menu items like a burger with fermented fries.

His barbecue menu will be available Wednesdays through Sundays, with Papalo’s take on pizza featured on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Opening daily at 6:30 a.m., Modbom will serve coffee and breakfast burritos from Papalo along with weekend brunch. Shifting focus from beer to cocktails, Miller and bar manager Faisal Asseri are offering two menus: one is geared towards lower ABV drinks and coffee cocktails like the Lush Bom Latte with whiskey, cold brew, cinnamon, and almond while the other is designed to pair with Bent’s barbecue; the Cherry G.o.a.t. features gin, vermouth, cherry-cranberry cordial, and goat cheese foam with a salt and pepper garnish. The restaurant’s kitchen will close at 10 p.m., but the bar will stay open until 2 a.m.

Modbom's cocktail menus


1429 Island Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101