Monthly Archives: June 2014

What’s Going On with Hanson’s Market?

It’s still a ghost town at what was supposed to be the home of the new Hanson’s Market in Little Italy. We expected the San Clemente-based grocery store to open by summer, but there hasn’t been much activity in the space at Ariel Suites on Kettner Blvd.

Hanson's Market

If it still happens, the much-needed neighborhood grocery store will feature natural and organic foods on the first floor and a deli on the second. Their Facebook page hasn’t been updated since February.

Pan Bon

Next door, Italian bakery and deli Pan Bon appears to be a little better off, with its windows now covered. No word on when either business will open.

Harbor Breakfast to Open Soon (Hopefully)

We’re still following the progress at Harbor Breakfast, the new cafe slowly coming together at 1502 India Street in Little Italy. We previously anticipated a spring opening, but that came and went. The good news is that they’ve posted a sign in the front window that says they’re opening soon and are currently looking for experienced cooks for breakfast and lunch.

Harbor Breakfast

Let’s hope it won’t be long before we’re enjoying pancakes out here. We’ll be here every weekend.

Harbor Breakfast

The restaurant isn’t huge, but there should be additional tables outside along India Street, in addition to the booths along W. Beech Street.

Harbor Breakfast

Hello, in there! Need some help? We took woodshop in high school, so we’re obviously experts.

Harbor Breakfast

Those black and white umbrellas will go outside over the booths. Once complete, this should be a lively corner at the start of Little Italy’s main drag.

Blind Lady Bringing Craft Beer to Balboa Park

Some of the best news we’ve heard this year has to be the announcement that one of our favorite craft beer teams would be moving into Balboa Park. Last month, the owners of Blind Lady Ale House and Tiger! Tiger! announced plans to take over the Sculpture Court Cafe at the San Diego Museum of Art.

Sculpture Court Cafe

Although it was closed when we snapped these photos, the current cafe is still operating regularly. It’s a good thing the atmosphere is so gorgeous because we’ve heard the food is just average and the service is mediocre.

Sculpture Court Cafe

When the Blind Lady team takes over, they plan to redesign the entire space with new tables and seating. On the menu, expect fresh lunch options and picnic boxes you can enjoy in the park. Of course, you won’t want to miss what is sure to be a great beer selection, along with craft cocktails and wine.

Sculpture Court Cafe

The current lounge seating area isn’t bad, but it could use some freshening up.

Sculpture Court Cafe

Plaza de Panama, recently converted from a parking lot to a pedestrian square, is right outside the gates to the left. (We’re still thrilled about that, by the way.) The museum’s Research Library is behind those doors across the courtyard.

Sculpture Court Cafe

On the west side, the May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden features 19th and early 20th century pieces. It’s one of our favorite spots in the park.

Sculpture Court Cafe

Then there’s the magnificent backdrop. Built in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition, California Tower at the Museum of Man is one of San Diego’s most iconic landmarks. We have high hopes that efforts succeed to reopen public access to the tower by the 2015 Balboa Park centennial.

Sculpture Court Cafe

Let’s hope it won’t be long before we’re enjoying great local beer and one of those picnic boxes in the sun. We’re crossing our fingers that this is a sign of things to come—we really need more local businesses like this in Balboa Park.

Update: That’s what we get for procrastinating on this one. A day after we posted this, we noticed they cleared out the furniture and posted signs saying that “Panama 66” will debut in a few weeks.

Rapid Redevelopment Continues in the East Village

As Downtown’s largest urban neighborhood, the East Village has been a hub of redevelopment ever since Petco Park opened a decade ago. Its mix of old warehouses, historic buildings, and trendy restaurants has made it one of the city’s most vibrant districts. Perhaps the biggest project at the moment is the new headquarters of Sempra Energy, on Eighth Avenue between Island and J.

East Village

Construction began late last year on the 16-story building, which is scheduled for completion in summer of 2015. That’s when Sempra’s current lease on Ash Street in the Core District will end, and the company will move 700 employees to the new building.

East Village

The center part of the tower has begun to rise, and it won’t be long before the rest goes above ground as well.

East Village

The project will preserve three historic buildings on the block, including Fire Station 4, the oldest operating fire station in the city. We’re happy about that because they just don’t make buildings like this anymore.

East Village

The Pack Loft building at Seventh and Island will also remain. They’re planning to rehabilitate the residential building and add new retail space on the ground floor.

East Village

The southwest corner of the project will incorporate the facade of the old Unicorn Building. This section will become some sort of restaurant and/or retail space.

East Village

See how there’s one roll-up door on the left and two on the right? There used to be two on the left as well, so the developer plans to add another back to the facade and use them as entries into the underground parking garage.

East Village

Just around the corner, Consortium Holdings quietly opened Rare Form last week. This new deli and cocktail concept is right outside the gates of Petco Park in the historic Simon Levi building, next door to the Stone Brewing Tap Room. With several other empty spaces available for lease on this block, this could easily become the best entertainment district in town.

East Village

Bumble Bee Seafoods recently moved its corporate headquarters from Kearney Mesa into the Showley Bros. Candy Factory building at Petco Park. Right inside Park at the Park, the building dates back to 1924 and is owned by the Padres. It’s great to see big names moving back into Downtown and taking over these spaces.

East Village

Do neighborhood centerpieces get any more iconic than this?

East Village

Cranes at the Sempra Energy site loom in the background of Petco Park, where San Diego residents mourned the loss of Tony Gwynn last week.

East Village

At Tenth and J, the Urbana apartment building is coming along. The flats here will range from 400 to 1200 square feet and should be available by November.

A Peek Inside Don Chido in the Gaslamp

You’ll soon have a new option for Mexican food in the Gaslamp Quarter. RMD Group is putting the finishing touches on Don Chido at 527 Fifth Avenue, between Island and Market. This will be a bit of a departure from the upscale nightclubs RMD Group is known for, as they’ve partnered with chef Antonio Friscia to bring their most food-focused concept yet.

Don Chido

Friscia will use a Santa Maria-style barbeque grill to prepare the wood-fired meats and seafoods featured on the home-style Mexican menu. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they’ll also offer a selection of local wines and a variety of infused tequilas and mezcals.

Don Chido

The interior was designed by Davis Ink—the same folks behind RMD Group’s Side Bar and Fluxx, also in the Gaslamp. We’re not cool enough to hang at those places, but we can say that Don Chido looks beautiful on the inside. We love the variety of patterns and textures throughout the space.

Don Chido

Don Chido replaces Fred’s Mexican Cafe, a tired chain restaurant that closed earlier this year when RMD Group took over. As part of the same deal, RMD Group also purchased the adjacent space occupied by The Marble Room. Their next project will involve turning that space into another new restaurant concept—but not until Don Chido opens.

Don Chido

Don Chido is scheduled to open by the end of the month, but as that quickly approaches, we won’t hold our breath.

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