By Frank Sabatini Jr.
After a string of delays that prevented Du-Par’s Restaurant & Bakery from opening in the Gaslamp Quarter last year, the famous 24/7 diner is currently slated to open in mid-May. Founded in 1938 in Los Angeles, the company shuttered its Point Loma location in October in preparation for the move. Spokesperson Biff Naylor said work crews are putting the finishing touches on the new space, which will include tufted booths and wool carpeting that was milled in London. “We’re going for an old-fashioned look,” he said.
The menu will uphold its list of longstanding favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including pancakes served with clarified butter, hot sandwiches, savory beef stew, and an extensive variety of pies baked daily.
“We even make our own ice cream and jams,” Naylor added. “In the old days, you had to.” 440 J St., 619-255-8775.
Rumors that Pan Bon in Little Italy changed its name and concept are untrue. However, the giant café and deli — famous for its breads, pizzas and desserts — has introduced the name Romeo and Juliet to the full-service restaurant area in the back of the dining hall, which didn’t previously stand out to customers. The owners also implemented a low partition to better define the space and they’ve added new dishes to the existing menu such as braised duck ravioli and pan-seared beef tenderloin. 1450 Kettner Blvd., 619-928-6157, panbon.us.
The owners of the dual-restaurant concept in East Village, Stella Public House and Halcyon, have brought on new Executive Chef Jade Griego, a native of Ohio who worked locally at Prepkitchen and Barbarella’s Restaurant & Bar. Griego will further develop Stella’s “farm-to-table” pizzas and evolving brunch fare while enhancing the café-style offerings at Halcyon. The restaurants are located in the same building and overlook Fault Line Park. They also offer patio seating. 1429 Island Ave., 619-234-0808, stellapublichouse.com.
Dungeness crabs from San Francisco Bay waters have returned after a temporary ban, arriving this month to Water Grill in the East Village, as well as to its sister restaurants, King’s Fish House in Mission Valley and Carlsbad. The ban began in November, when waters in and around the Bay Area showed high levels of domoic acid, a naturally occurring neurotoxin produced by algae that had infiltrated the crustaceans.
The ban, however, was lifted for safe consumption in early April, and the crabs are now available on cold shellfish platters, in cioppino soup and as entrées at Water Grill. They also appear several ways at both locations of King’s Fish House. A company rep said the seasonal crabs should hopefully stick around through the end of spring, or while supplies last. 615 J St., 619-717-6992, watergrill.com.
The menu at Brian’s 24 just became a little plumper with new dishes involving pork. They include herb-roasted pork loin Benedict, roast pork hash, pork loin dinners, and Cuban sandwiches on pressed hoagie rolls containing pork loin, hickory-smoked ham, pickles and Swiss cheese. The restaurant is open 24/7. 828 Sixth Ave., 619-702-8410, brians24.com.
It isn’t Memorial Day weekend without SummerSalt Pool Bar & Lounge’s annual pig roast, which will be held from 4 – 7 p.m. in the pool area atop Hotel Palomar. Admission is $15, which includes the pork and several side dishes. Price specials on drinks using Cruz Tequila, Amador Whiskey and Sugar Island Rum will be in the offing as well. 1047 Fifth Ave., 619-515-3000, hotelpalomar-sandiego.com.
Coming perhaps to the Gaslamp Quarter is Potbelly Sandwich Shop, a national chain born in Chicago during the 1970s that is preparing to debut in San Diego later this year. Jackson Lewis of the public relations team said the company is eyeballing a host of locations throughout metro San Diego, including a space near the corner of Sixth Avenue and B Street. In addition to a plethora of made-to-order sandwiches such as mushroom melts, meatball, and smoked ham, the shops also serve soups, salads and milkshakes. potbelly.com.