Since opening two years ago, locavore lair Local Habit (3827 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest) has gained a reputation as one of San Diego’s beeriest eateries. That reputation came on the back of numerous meet-the-brewer dinners, pairing events, flight nights, and the like organized by owner and craft beer enthusiast Barry Braden.
In addition to attending many of those well-done events, I often ran into Braden at beer bars and brewery tasting rooms. His has a real and refined interest in quality suds, which makes it all the more surprising to discover that Local Habit has been sold. Braden was unable to speak on the record about what this will mean for the eatery, but this is certainly something worth keeping an eye on.
There are far fewer question marks where another recently sold restaurant goes. That eatery, a short list entry for South Parkers and Francophiles alike, Vagabond (2310 30th Street, South Park) is changing hands. The cozy inner city French bistro will reemerge as a bastion for Belgian beer and cuisine dubbed Brabant Bar & Café.
It’s the vision of Adam Parker, who some may know from his beer exploits, which included procuring above average Belgian offerings in bottle and on draft, at Del Cerro’s KnB Wine Cellars (which, by the way, has been working on adding its own very small brewing component for several months).
Though it’s early, Parker plans to offer beers from 16 taps and an extensive bottle list. Rather than latch on to the latest, greatest, or weirdest beers on the market, he wants to focus on Belgian ales that have been “tried and true for centuries.” Those brews will be served at ideal temperatures in proper glassware, just as they are in Belgium.
Brabant will also offer wine, cocktails, and spirits. The focus for the latter will be on single malt Scotches, whiskies, gins, absinthes and cordials. As for food, classic Belgian dishes like mussels, frites, croquettes, sausages, roasted pork and fowl, soups and stews will be made traditionally using fresh, seasonal ingredients.