Wow. Things are certainly taking off in East Village.
Stone Brewery's setting up another Company Store at 795 J Street in the century-old Simon Levi Company building, tucked right in by the ballpark, where Proper Pub used to be.
Chad White's Común Kitchen and Tavern is busy setting up at 935 J, also right near the ballpark.
And just up from the new library, where Island Avenue meets Park Avenue, Bottega Americano's fitting out in the Thomas Jefferson School of Law's building, at 1195 Island Avenue. It's kitty-corner to The Palms residential hotel, and promises to open as a "restaurant/market place/bar" in "early summer" under Giuseppe Ciuffa. Ciuffa's the man behind The Museum Café at La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, Sculpture Art Cafe at the museum of art in Balboa Park, and Caroline's Seaside Cafe at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
So I'm finding this out as I take a wander around the district, vaguely headed towards the trolley. But when I reach the Park and Market stop, 50 yards uphill from Bottega Americano, I find myself outside a little place I remember having a couple of cute sushi rolls at. Real cheap, plus a glass of vino. Oh yeah. Infuzon (550 Park Boulevard, Unit #2104), around the corner from Market Street. The "Infuzon" sign has been turned around, plus the windows are papered over, so you know they must have closed down.
So I cup my hands against the window. Huh. I can see people working away at a counter inside. Then I spot a Public Notice of Application to Sell Alcoholic Beverages. MGT Group Inc. wants to create "The Parlour" here.
I try the door. It's open! Inside, three guys and a gal are working away, setting up a bar, shuffling high counter chairs. Décor's kinda black on black. Somebody has painted giant Japanese-style silver fishes on the wall. I notice that the guys are wearing the black uniform of The District, the cool (their breakfasts go all day, for starters) sandwich shop a block away at 1021 Market Street.
"I'm the chef there," says Gustavo. He and the other two guys, Trong and Mike, are partners in all this. "We saw this come available, we knew the business could be run better, and we decided this would make a great neighborhood sushi bar-lounge, with lots of seating outside."
Their "District" place has certainly taken off, specially for health-freak EV types who work in the area. "This will be fast too. We want the to-go crowd," says Trong. "But it's also a hangout, where you can kick back and sip your glass of wine."
That's good, because these coming warm nights, colorful umbrellas, and a clump of tables and chairs and folks socializing on the street could transform the atmosphere on this area of Park Boulevard. And Gustavo says they'll be open till ten. He reckons ten buckeroos should fill your stomach.
Of course the wine and beer license is likely to take two, three months. But they say the sushi side will be up and running within a week or two. They hope to have a soft opening before the end of April.