Although the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the San Diego dining scene heavily, some restaurants are finding opportunities to flourish and even expand. The newest on-site spot to take this pandemic path is Metl Bar & Restaurant, which is expanding its juicy ice cream into a North Park café. Also new: artisanal bread in Hillcrest, rolled tacos in National City, and Tokyo-style fried chicken in Kearny Mesa (and beyond). Eater San Diego tells the top stories of the week from our food & drink scene.
MetlBar Creamery & Café will open next month with southern-style brunch
Gaslamp’s Metl Bar & Restaurant is expanding its popular juicy ice cream concept, Metl Cocktail Creamery, to North Park. The new cafe will have its own ice cream parlor as well as a daytime restaurant specializing in decadent brunch plates like chicken and waffles, and pecan praline pancakes. Metl Cocktail Creamery was booming during the pandemic, because who doesn’t really need ice cream? In November 2020, Metl co-owner Jenna Elskamp took part in the conversation on our “Scene in San Diego” podcast to talk about her venture into making ice cream and how she wanted to grow her unique business – pandemic and everything. You can listen to our episode with Elskamp here or below (Episode 10: Boozy Ice Cream? San Diego Bar Finds Sweet Spot In The Middle Of The Pandemic).
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Five new restaurants in San Diego
This round-up of the latest restaurants to open during the pandemic includes a new outpost in Hillcrest for the prestigious Prager Brothers Artisan Breads of North County’s bakery. Then there’s the reopening of a popular roast chicken joint like Calvin’s Korean Hot Chicken, as well as two places that specialize in Baja California cuisine.
Rolled Taco Specialist adding two more locations
El Tianguis, which has offices in North Park and Chula Vista, is being moved to National City where it will join the food court at Westfield Plaza Bonita. The fast-casual eatery, which specializes in rolled tacos with fresh corn tortillas, is also heading to Mission Valley later this year.
RakiRaki Ramen is expanding into Tokyo Fried Chicken
The owner of RakiRaki Ramen is launching Junya’s Crispy Karaage, a new line of Tokyo-style fried chicken that will be available in limited quantities at the ramen shop locations in Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa and Liberty Station starting later this month . Based on the Japanese technique, the secret recipe is used to marinate the chicken before it is fried twice until crispy.
Where to find brunch in San Diego now
The popular brunch ritual will continue even during the pandemic. Many local restaurants are reopening with outdoor service for their weekend brunch menus, as well as other restaurants with a wide variety of takeaway brunch options. From brunch cocktails to classic egg dishes, the latest menu from Eater offers up to 15 brunch recommendations.
Candice Woo is the founding editor of Eater San Diego, a premier source of news on the San Diego restaurant and bar scene. Stay up to date with the latest news from Eater San Diego via Facebook or Twitter and subscribe to the Eater San Diego newsletter here.