An eye-catching arrival in downtown La Jolla is the latest iteration of a favorite destination for brunch lovers whose existing locations in Little Italy and at Westfield UTC are also known for their immersive, whimsical design. Queenstown Village is the newest sibling of Queenstown Public House and Queenstown Bistro, members of the same restaurant family as Raglan Public House in Ocean Beach and North Park’s Dunedin.
Replacing the long-running Karl Strass brewpub, the all-day restaurant and cocktail bar is launching brunch service this weekend, followed by the opening of its sidewalk cafe, a walk-up kiosk with a pastry counter and coffee bar that will offer grab-and-go food as well as a sit-down daytime menu.
Michael Soriano, who designed many of the group’s other spots as well as Convoy’s Realm of the 52 Remedies and Syrah in the Gaslamp, has created a multitude of cozy, intimate spaces throughout the restaurant, from a cocktail corner dubbed the Crystal Cove that will have guests sitting under a canopy of kelp and glass lanterns and the bar-adjacent “sheep-easy”, a sleek, lounge area wrapped in hammered metal mirrors with Queenstown’s signature fluffy sheep mascots floating overhead.
The high-ceilinged main dining room, which holds a mix of seating options within a soaring, greenery-filled pavilion, is loaded with nods to local culture, from a quote from San Diego’s own Dr. Seuss on the wall to hanging fixtures made with abalone shells, and mirrors etched with hops to reflect the site’s past life as a brewery.
With select menu items inspired by the New Zealand town that is its namesake, Queenstown will offer morning bites like scones, turnovers, and breakfast sandwiches and burritos along with afternoon dishes ranging from meat pies to finger sandwiches and salads. The expanded dinner options include grassfed beef burgers, fish and chips, rack of lamb, and pan-seared salmon, with the bar staying open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
In Little Italy, where co-owner PJ Lamont says they’ve outgrown the current space, the group is building a new structure on the east side of the property that will house the kitchens, washrooms, and back-of-house operations. They’ll also remodel the main historical house, extending the dining area and bar and adding even more patio space.
Queenstown Village, 1044 Wall Street, La Jolla.