It’s not all that abnormal, but it is unheard of — a combination restaurant, winery, and brewery all under one roof. Such will be the concept behind The Cork and Craft (16990 Via Tazon, Suite 123, Rancho Bernardo), a new business opening on RB’s west side, which will also be home to Abnormal Beer Company, an offshoot of Abnormal Wine Company. Former Karl Strauss Brewing Company sales guy (who also worked for the company in a brewing capacity), homebrewer, and bottle-share enthusiast Derek Gallanosa will be in charge of a 10-barrel brewhouse that, initially at least, will be churning out a varied selection of session beers.
In branching into the resto and brewing industries, Abnormal owners Matt DeLoach, Elvin Lai, and James Malone are instituting a “Disney-esque” design strategy, placing several small structures and areas under a single roof. A recent visit to the unfinished property, which is set to debut mid-to-late September, turned up a sharp-looking place. Antique and pulley-equipped lighting fixtures make great touches against layered slate walls, dark wood, marble, shingles, and barrel tops. It’s a smart mixture of materials that one would never expect, especially from the outside. The Cork and Craft is located in an industrial complex that’s as nondescript as this restaurant is out of place. With plenty of residences and highly populated businesses as neighbors, it’s a great option for the immediate area, but it’s hard to get one’s head around.
The Cork and Craft will feature a menu of shared plates and entrees, all of which will be “refined comfort food” from executive chef Mike Arquines, co-owner of Mostra Coffee. The full menu will be available in the 88-seat dining room (which features a stage for musical acts as well as a very cool chef’s table with its own personal pass-through) or the tasting room. The latter will include a communal table and seat roughly 25 visitors. The beers and wines from both arms of the Abnormal brand will be available for sampling. The tap system, which is outfitted with two nitro taps (one of which will be dedicated to serving Mostra Coffee), will include 40 taps. There is also a beer engine for cask ale and a bottled beer list will be offered as well.
Initially, the beer and wine tasting room will be open from mid-day into the evening, but the dining room will not open for lunch. However, nearby businesses will be able to call in orders for pick-up during lunch hours. The main problem is a lack of parking during the day. Again, the business is in an industrial suite, which means there isn’t the number of parking spaces that accompanies a traditional restaurant. Ownership is working to figure out how to make weekday lunch service happen, and will adjust as soon as they find a solution. At dinner time, the plan is to have Gallanosa brewing in the windowed brewhouse the staff playfully refers to as his "fishbowl."