Monthly Archives: July 2014

Harbor Breakfast to Open This Week

The wait is almost over. Little Italy’s long-anticipated Harbor Breakfast will likely debut this Wednesday at the corner of India and W. Beech.

Harbor Breakfast

The tables are set and biscuits are on the oven…literally. When we stopped by this afternoon, chef and operator Eddie Hernandez said he’s been fine-tuning all his new equipment and had a batch of biscuits in the oven to make sure his recipes are perfectly adjusted to all his new tools.

Harbor Breakfast

We’ve watched for months as the former home of Harbor Marine Supplies has transformed into an inviting breakfast diner. The interior is warm with rich, dark woods.

Harbor Breakfast

Behind the counter, the dishes are stacked and ready for diners.

Harbor Breakfast

Doors slide open to allow access to the outdoor booths along W. Beech Street.

Harbor Breakfast

The nearly 100% organic Harbor Breakfast menu includes waffles, omelettes, and classic breakfast combos like corned beef hash and biscuits & gravy.

Harbor Breakfast

Check back in just a few days for your newest neighborhood breakfast joint.

Checking In On the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan Improvements

Earlier this week, we strolled through the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan area to view the new areas that opened to the public earlier this month. This first phase of the project includes the first section of a linear esplanade that will eventually span 1.2 miles along the North Embarcadero.

North Embarcadero Visionary Plan

Along Broadway, it looks like the rest of the artistic light fixtures have arrived.

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Imported from Poland, the new fixtures are an interesting addition to the Broadway corridor.

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Here’s one of the new public areas that opened earlier this month. The gardens are still being protected while the plants settle in, but it’s nice to have a little more breathing room along the bustling waterfront.

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Visitors have wasted no time spreading out onto the new paths.

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Here’s a closer look at some of those rooftop letters above the south pavilion. The words are actually excerpts from the 1970 Richard Bach novel, Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

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Across the entrance to Broadway Pier, the north pavilion and surrounding gardens remain closed off.

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They’re still putting the finishing touches on the new restroom as well.

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We learned earlier this month that the Port of San Diego recommended North Park favorite Carnitas Snack Shack to operate the cafe space in the north pavilion. They apparently beat out Consortium Holdings, who proposed to duplicate their popular Soda & Swine restaurant on Adams Avenue. Kudos to the Port for getting local restaurant operators involved.

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Here’s the current timeline. The grand opening of the entire project area will be in the fall.

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Out on the end of Broadway Pier, walls came down to reveal these historic maps of San Diego Bay over the years. They’re part of several surface enhancements currently in progress on the pier, including several new seating areas for visitors to gather and relax along one of the best spots along the waterfront.

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Across Harbor Drive, the mound of dirt at Lane Field continues to grow. Our attention will turn to that project once the first phase of the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan is complete.

Kensington Commons Nears Completion

Kensington Commons, the mixed-use complex under construction at Marlborough and Adams in Kensington, is nearing completion. The project includes 34 apartments and about 10,000 square feet of retail space along a stretch of Adams Avenue previously occupied by an old gas station and a empty lot cleared to make way for the complex six years ago.

Kensington Commons

With a timeline like that, it’s obvious that it hasn’t exactly been a cake walk for the folks behind Kensington Commons. Since 2007, the project has been met with opposition from a group of residents who disagree with the design. They’ve argued that its size will disrupt the small neighborhood feel of Kensington. We’re just glad to see that vacant lot finally transformed.

Kensington Commons

Stehly Farms Market has signed a lease for a small gourmet market on the ground floor. With plans for a juice bar and deli, we expect the organic grocer to do very well.

Allard Jansen Architects is behind the design of the Santa Barbara-style building. That’s the same group who won an Orchid Award for Architecture in 2000 for their work on Kensington Park Plaza, the mixed-use complex across the street with Starbucks and Burger Lounge.

Kensington Sign

We’ve watched Normal Heights blow up over the last few years, and perhaps it’s time for the same to happen down the street in Kensington. There’s no doubt that this one of the cutest hoods in San Diego.

Kensington Commons

Rent will start at $2,350/month for each of the residential units, which range from 890 to 1,306 square feet. That may sound steep for one or two bedrooms, but that seems to be the going rate these days for this kind of complex.

Kensington Commons

Kensington Commons also brings wider sidewalks and new landscaping to this stretch of Adams Avenue. Look for it all to be completed in the fall.

Closed La Gran Tapa Continues to Confuse

In strange Downtown news, recently-closed La Gran Tapa in the Core District seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis. In May, we celebrated after a report that the team behind 1970s-throwback Sycamore Den in Normal Heights would be taking over the space. That doesn’t seem to be the case any longer, as the shuttered restaurant has had something different happening every time we pass by it.

La Gran Tapa

Last week, the current owner posted signs on each of the windows advertising the restaurant as an event space. Meanwhile, they’re also asking for “serious inquiries” to buy the place. Maybe we’re naive, but would people really call with anything but “serious” inquiries?

La Gran Tapa

What was even more odd were some of the previous signs posted on the windows. A month ago, they asked people to vote for what they wanted the space to become. The list of suggestions included everything from gourmet hot dogs to handmade chocolates to a bed and breakfast. The sign even said you could vote for a combination of the random themes. How does a bed and breakfast with hot dog room service sound?

La Gran Tapa

We wish we’d gotten a better photo of this bizarre sign because it left us with so many questions. Just by voting for the winning theme, we’d be part of the new business? We weren’t sure what to make of that. We did actually send our vote to the email listed, but never received a response. Hey, can we get that $20 gift certificate?

La Gran Tapa

La Gran Tapa first opened in 1984 as San Diego’s first dedicated Spanish tapas bar. It’s seen many owners over the years, but became known for its live entertainment, great happy hour, and old European character.

If recent Yelp reviews are any indication, it was overdue for a change. In particular, a point of contention seemed to be its mandatory 17.5% automatic gratuity. It doesn’t take an expert to know that automatic tipping is a turnoff for most diners.

At one point, we hoped a revamp of this spot could jumpstart development in one of the last remaining quiet areas of Downtown. For now, it looks like adjacent Donut Bar is going to have to keep the block afloat on its own.

Renovation Continues at Former Uptown District

Some very prominent changes are starting to take place at the former Uptown District in Hillcrest, as it becomes The HUB | Hillcrest Market. The 25-year-old shopping center is in the middle of a $3 million renovation that includes new wayfinding signs, new landscaping, and art from local artists.

The HUB | Hillcrest Market

San Diego artist Skye Walker painted this beautiful mural at the corner of Vermont and University over the past couple of days. You can’t miss it.

The HUB | Hillcrest Market

We really dig the colors. It’s always great to see local artists getting such significant spaces in the community.

The HUB | Hillcrest Market

Major work is happening around the future home of Napizza, the second location for the Little Italy pizzeria.

The HUB | Hillcrest Market

While it didn’t look like work had started on the inside of the upcoming pizza joint, construction continues on the outdoor patio.

The HUB | Hillcrest Market

The focal point of the revamped retail center will be the main courtyard being built here.

The HUB | Hillcrest Market

Notice the updated balcony railings. Big improvement compared to our last update.

The HUB | Hillcrest Market

Last we heard, they’re still looking for a new tenant to take over the old Pick Up Stix location.

The HUB | Hillcrest Market

The planned restaurant space will feature a large outdoor seating area along the courtyard.

The HUB | Hillcrest Market

The plans include more seating and lots of landscaping in the middle of the courtyard. Other spaces have been carved out of the concrete for new planters as well. Work is expected to be completed in the fall.

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