Food and Drink Blotter: March 2017

Posted: March 3rd, 2017 | Featured, Food & Drink, Food & Drink Blotter | No Comments

By Frank Sabatini Jr. | Food and Drink Blotter

After a short six months of greeting Gaslamp Quarter customers with 24/7 meal service and fresh-baked pies, Du-Par’s Restaurant & Bakery closed its doors last month to a spacious dining room designed with vintage features to reflect the era it was originally founded during the late 1930s in Los Angeles.

“We were in over our heads and had to file for bankruptcy,” said “Biff” Naylor, who purchased the company in 2004 and remained privy to operations after selling it to different owners last year. His son, Anthony, served as general manager for the San Diego restaurant.

Du-Par’s in Encino also closed recently, leaving three locations in the Los Angeles area, plus a new outpost inside Sun Coast Casino in Las Vegas.

Shrimp and grits at a new Louisiana-style café (Photo by Rob Adams)

“Those are all doing very good, much better than how we performed in San Diego,” Naylor said. 440 J St.,

A taste of New Orleans has arrived to the East Village, where Bake Sale Bakery previously stood.

Now, Bud’s Louisiana Express owners Bud Deslatte and Rob Adams have introduced an abbreviated menu of Creole and Cajun classics they established at Bud’s Louisiana Café in Kearny Mesa.

Dishes include crawfish etouffee, shrimp po’boys and pasta jambalaya.

The cozy eatery features indoor seating plus a few tables on the front sidewalk. 815 F St., 619-542-9002,

Como Ceviche at 317 10th Ave. in the East Village has ceased operations, according to a statement issued by co-owner William Lopez, who opened the casual seafood eatery in October with Johan Engman of the Rise and Shine Restaurant Group.

Lopez owns the public relations firm, Alternative Strategies, and cited in the statement “an influx of new clients” as a factor for closing the restaurant.

Engman, in the meantime, stated that he is currently focusing on the opening of two additional locations of Breakfast Republic (in Ocean Beach and Carmel Valley), which he first launched in North Park before expanding the concept recently to Liberty Station and East Village. He also plans to open North Park Breakfast Company in July.

Baja fare at Sabor Latino Food, Beer and Wine Festival (Courtesy of Media Arts Center San Diego)

Chef Martin San Roman of Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant at 956 Broadway Circle is among a list of top chefs taking part in the second annual Sabor Latino Food, Beer and Wine Festival, from 1 to 5 p.m., March 18 at Fashion Valley Mall’s River Plaza.

The event, which ties into the San Diego Latino Film Festival (March 16-26), will afford guests unlimited tastings of Latino foods and beverages from dozens of regional and Baja restaurants, breweries and wineries.

Other participants include Harrah’s Resort Southern California, Mi Casa Supper Club, Mantou Pub, Baja Brew Lab, Adobe Guadalupe Winery and more.

Tickets are $50 (for 1 p.m. VIP admission) and $40 (for 2 p.m. general admission). All proceeds will benefit youth education and outreach programs at Media Arts Center San Diego. 7007 Friars Road, 619-230-1938,

After a three-year run, the seafood-centric Sirena Cocina Latina at 1901 Columbia St. in Little Italy has closed. Its executive chef, Jaime Chavez is headed to Mazatlan, Mexico, where he will head the culinary program for Hoteles Inn de Mexico.

Within a week of its closure, the nearby Cheese Store at 1980 Kettner Blvd. also closed it doors, citing financial issues as the reason after a two-year stint.

(l to r) Brad Kraten and Emiliano Najera at Curadero (Courtesy of The Nth Element)

A culinary team was recently appointed for the upcoming Curadero, a Mexican-coastal seafood concept slated to open in early April in the space previously occupied by Saltbox.

Brad Kraten will serve as executive chef after maintaining the same title at Saltbox. He plans on introducing recipes containing locally sourced beans and chilies. Second in command is sous chef Emiliano Najera, a native of Mexico City who worked in both small and modern kitchens south of the border.

Their collaborative menu is shaping up with dishes such as sopas in mushroom broth, chili-rubbed hiramasa fish, whole charcoal-grilled fish and a crudo bar. 1047 Fifth Ave., 619-515-3003,

An anniversary veggie burger at Café 222 (Courtesy of Café 222)

In the lead-up to its 25th anniversary in early September, Café 222 will introduce a series of new dishes to its breakfast and lunch menus.

The latest rollout is an ultra-healthy burger made with black beans, quinoa, brown rice, dried chickpeas, carrots, onions and garlic, and topped with Swiss cheese and curry aioli.

The Downtown café, owned by restaurateur Terryl Gavre, is famous for its pumpkin waffles and “green eggs and ham.” 222 Island Ave., 619-236-9902,

—Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at

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