By Frank Sabatini Jr
We encountered a full house of cheerful diners on a recent weekday afternoon at the newly reopened Red Fox Steakhouse & Piano Bar, which closed two years ago after losing its lease at the Lafayette Hotel in North Park. The restaurant had operated in that location since 1954.
It now resides directly across the street in a freshly built structure whose generic facade hardly matches the inside.
To the delight of devoted patrons who flocked to the Red Fox for chilled salads, jumbo shrimp cocktail, surf-and-turf and broiled pork chops, the lunch and dinner menus have remained pretty much the same, except of course for inflationary price increases.
And so does the low-lit ambiance, which captures the tufted burgundy-red booths and Tudor wood paneling utilized from the restaurant’s former location. Much of that woodwork, including carved figures and an ornate fireplace mantelpiece, date back to 1642. They originated from an old inn in Surrey, England. Some of the pieces once belonged to actress Marion Davies before they were acquired by the Red Fox in the 1950s.
Until staffing shortages are resolved, the restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to midnight Tuesday through Friday, and from 4 p.m. to midnight on Saturdays. A keyboardist-singer performs in the bar area from 7:30 to 11 p.m. each evening. 2200 El Cajon Blvd., 619-297-1313, redfoxsd.com.
The rooftop of Theatre Box in the Gaslamp Quarter is making way for Villa One Tequila Gardens, a concept that will offer more than 160 types of tequila and mezcal as well as modern Mexican cuisine crafted by restaurateur Jorge Cueva (a.k.a., Mr. Tempo). Cueva also operates King & Queen Cantina in Little Italy.
Villa One will greet with a 5,000-square-foot open-air space with shades of green, fire pits, and accent walls lit by neon signage. It will also afford customers views of the Downtown skyline and Coronado Bridge as they savor fresh seafood cocktails, wet burritos and cocktails made tableside. Live DJs will spring into action on Friday and Saturday nights.
The venture is due to open by early summer. 701 Fifth Ave., 619-814-2225, villaonetequilagardens.com.
Pies and Ice Cream coming to South Park
Pop Pie Co. owners Steven Torres and Gan Suebsarakham have set their sights on the space where South Park Brewing (1517 30th St.) previously operated to open another location of their popular pie shop. The concept will be combined with their subsidiary business, Stella Jean’s Ice Cream.
The couple’s original location for both businesses is in University Heights (4440 Park Blvd.), where customers can enjoy a variety of sweet and savory butter-crust pies as well as uniquely flavored ice cream made in small batches in their adjoining shop.
Since launching Pop Pie Co. in 2016, additional outlets have sprung up in Costa Mesa (270 East 17th St.) and Point Loma (4195 Voltaire St.). For more information call 619-501-4440 or visit poppieco.com.
Taste of Hillcrest
Tickets are now on sale for the annual Taste of Hillcrest, to be held from noon to 4 p.m. on April 9. Presented by the Hillcrest Business Association and Fabulous Hillcrest, organizers are expecting participation from nearly 40 restaurants and eateries, which will dole out samples of their latest and greatest fare.
The event will take place over multiple blocks. Free shuttle service for customers will run every 15 minutes between various marked points.
The cost is $35 in advance or $40 the day of the event. Tickets include up to 35 food and beverage samples, an app and map of participating businesses, and access to shuttles. For more information visit fabuloushillcrest.com.
Fine Latin meals sizzle into Downtown
National restaurateur and chef Misael Guerrero has opened La Conde Latin American Cuisine in the Gaslamp Quarter. The menu shows off Guerrero’s vast cooking talents acquired ever since he started a garage-based sushi shop decades ago. A native of Sinaloa, Mexico, he went onto opening a chain of 15-plus Mexican-style sushi kitchens called CulichiTown throughout the U.S.
La Conde’s offerings are vast, ranging from tacos, sushi rolls and carpaccio to Peruvian ceviche, Pacific lobster and grilled Tomahawk steaks.
A large variety of tropical-style drinks are worth exploring too, such as the rum-based El Conde made with Mahina Coco liqueur, lemon juice and horchata Giffard. 570 K St., 619-795-0502, laconderestaurants.com.
— Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.