Hillcrest Stories

Former diner to become beauty mall

The Hive to take the place of Harvey Milk's on University Avenue

When Harvey Milk's American Diner closed in October 2014, the space attracted interest from other restaurateurs, including Phil Pace (of Phil's BBQ fame), but nothing panned out. The building's interior has been gutted to its ...

Hillcrest hashes high-rise housing heights

Does this make uptown homes more affordable? Or less?

A group of property owners in Hillcrest want the freedom to build higher residential and commercial buildings. And if that freedom isn’t granted, members of the newly formed Uptown Gateway Council warn, local housing prices ...

Party's over, go to sleep

Former site of consecutive nightclub failures to become mattress store

The long-empty space that housed three former nightclubs in Hillcrest will open as a Sleep Train mattress store in April. This was confirmed December 31 by Jennifer Ritchie, with Sleep Train's PR firm, Revolution Public ...

Dutch Crunch and Dirty Sauce

San Francisco sends sandwiches via Ike's Place

I recall back in the mid-'90s, some Bay Area transplants I knew assured me the arrival of fast casual sandwich chain Togo's, expanding into southern California at the time, was going to change the way ...

All about that shawarma

Lunch (and leftovers) at Aladdin's

I’m not sure why I never made it into Aladdin before now. I walk by it at least once a week on my way to Trader Joe’s in Hillcrest, so it’s not like I didn’t ...

It’s like being in France

La Bonne Table brings Provence (and great cheese) to Hillcrest

When I think of France, I think of food: real food, fresh food, quality food. Freshly baked baguettes, perfectly ripened cheeses, savory charcuterie, and of course the Mother sauces: béchamel, espagnole, hollandaise, and allemande. Even ...

The Aliens is just part-time work

Slacker tale an uneven experience at Ion Theatre

“This is important,” playwright Annie Baker writes in a note for The Aliens, “at least a third – if not half – of this play is silence. Pauses should be at least three full seconds ...

Campy Kings

San Diego's drag Kings keep on keeping on

Halloween may be gone for a year, but dressing up and performing like famous singers is a nonstop pursuit for one of San Diego’s longest-running shows. “We are the oldest, continuously running drag-king show in ...

From thrift to spiff in Hillcrest

Apartments to take place of Thrift Trader building

The building in Hillcrest that previously housed Legends Furniture store, then a Revivals thrift shop, and currently a Thrift Trader, will be razed. No demolition date has been set. Property owner FoundationForForm, a San Diego ...

The first 100 to Rakitori get free ramen

Japanese Pub opens in Hillcrest

David and I have been meaning to stop by the new Rakitori Japanese Pub & Grill on University Avenue since we first saw the sign go up nearly three months ago. When we made it ...

About 145 more cars can jam into Hillcrest

Plan afoot to institute angled parking on wider streets

Parking has been the number-one problem expressed by Hillcrest residents for years. On October 2, Luke Terpstra, chair of the Hillcrest Town Council, talked to me about the problem. "We have a thriving business district ...

Teaching moments with the maestro

Ion Theatre's Master Class takes on Maria Callas

It’s 1971. We’re on a stage at the Juilliard School of Music, where Maria Callas will teach a master class on “The Lyric Tradition” to aspiring young singers. Callas is past her prime in art ...

Jackson Boone's hippie heart

Portlandian touring through town with his second set of psych-folk, Natural Changes

Starlit has been called one of the best new releases to come out of Portland in the past year. The song collection centers around Jackson Boone’s new-found sobriety, they say. Whatever. Here is a singer/songwriter ...

Longtime sex-toy shop shuts down in Hillcrest

The Crypt is sealed

The Crypt, a sex toy/fetish shop at 3847 Park Boulevard, has shut its doors. Today an eviction notice was seen on the front door of the establishment. The “pay rent or surrender possession” document indicates ...

Crêpe crap out

Stumbling upon Bino’s Bistro & Crêperie

When you circle the block a few times to find parking in Hillcrest and then find a 30-minute space for an errand that lasts all of five minutes, do you leave straight away? Me neither. ...

Poké Go brings Hawaii to Hillcrest

When it comes to poké, all that matters is that the fish is fresh and tasty

I’m probably not the only person in town with a poké-salad obsession, which should bode well for a new shop that soft opened in Hillcrest a couple of weeks ago. Poké Go turns the cubed ...

Last Call: West Side Story, Parlour Song

Two quality shows must close this Sunday. One enjoyed an extended run. The other deserved one.

West Side Story. “Here come the Jets like a bat out of hell, someone gets in our way, someone don’t feel so well!” Lamb’s Players excellent show has enjoyed an extended run with good reason: ...

No buffer zones

In Parlour Song at Backyard Renaissance, sea beasts lurk and rove below a mirror-still surface

Toward the end of Jez Butterworth’s eerie, Pinteresque Parlour Song, Dale ruminates. What if you find a door in your house you never knew was there before. “Would you open it?” Ned blows up buildings ...

Vinyl ruins

There may be some gold records to be found in Thrift Trader's giveaways

As previously reported by the Reader, the mezzanine in the Hillcrest location of Thrift Trader collapsed early in the morning (around 4 a.m.) on June 22. The collapse was due to the weight of vinyl ...

Annual Shame parade attracts record number of participants, but no spectators

Parade organizer: "Frankly, we'd prefer to keep it that way."

SOMETIME AFTER PRIDE, HILLCREST — There are no banners at the Shame parade. No floats. No music. No smiling politicians, eager to latch on to the general good feeling. And no spectators, save for the ...

Pernicano's out

Hotel likely to fill space now occupied by longtime-closed restaurants

If all goes according to plan, a new hotel will eventually rise on the Hillcrest property where once stood Pernicano's and Casa di Baffi restaurants. The property fronts on both Fifth and Sixth avenues in ...

Vinyl avalanche!

Hillcrest Thrift Trader breaks records — a lot of them

Around 4 a.m. on Monday, June 22, a mezzanine in the Hillcrest location of Thrift Trader (1644 University Avenue) collapsed — apparently due to excessive weight from old, boxed vinyl records. Merchandise and debris from ...

Between rock and an earthquake

San Diego musicians gather at the Merrow on a night for Nepal

“I wanted to get involved in putting together a benefit for Nepal when I learned that a second large earthquake had hit the area, only two weeks after the first,” Steph Johnson informs the Reader, ...

Miles away from the legend

Ion Theatre searches for the reality behind the drama with Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

Were she still alive, Billie Holiday would have turned 100 last April. That would have surprised the hell out of “Lady Day,” since she lived an epic life and died July 17, 1959, of complications ...

The Mole Grail

Ortega’s chicken mole is the gold standard

Each time I am seated right away upon arriving at Ortega’s (which is every time), I’m amazed I didn’t have to make my way through a crush of people waiting to get in. I can ...

Hillcrest loves them some cars

Revised Uptown bike corridor plan up for a vote June 5

The business owners and small group of residents who opposed turning University Avenue into a more pedestrian-friendly street appear to have won over planners of the San Diego Association of Governments. During a June 5 ...

Some Fresh Catch catches better than others

Salmon burger satisfies, oysters not so much

Casual fish counters have become San Diego’s signature seafood concept. With the longtime success and rising Food Network profiles of shops such as Blue Water Seafood Market and Point Loma Seafoods, similar restaurants have sprung ...

Ion goes all-out

Hillcrest-based company plans quadruple-header to select NYC-bound work — plus BBQ

The idea could cause vertigo: on Saturday, April 25, Ion Theatre will stage-read four new plays starting at 11:00 a.m. Each script has already been work-shopped with readings and feedback from preview audiences. And it’s ...

Get away, stay local: a weekend in Uptown

Staycation in Hillcrest, Balboa, North Park and environs.

My best weekend getaway is when I leave my car parked on the street outside my apartment in Hillcrest from 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon til Monday morning at 7: Friday Friday afternoon I go ...

Hillcrest Business Association awards contracts to its own president

Business leader Johnathan Hale has no comment about the no-bid contracts for his business.

Mess Royale opens in Hillcrest

The bagel has landed, along with cheese curds

New York gets most of the good bagel press, but in my travels the bagel culture that’s made the most lasting impression belongs to Montreal. The denser wood-fired bagels trade a hint of salt for ...

Pedestrian-unfriendly in Hillcrest?

Alleged sabotage of signage announcing University Ave. planning meeting

A plan to install dedicated bicycle lanes to Uptown communities of Mission Hills, Hillcrest, and Bankers Hill and close University Avenue to traffic in an attempt to make Uptown more pedestrian-friendly has divided the community ...

Divided, disconnected

Made and missed connections in story and on stage in Kin at Ion Theatre

Anna didn’t get her wish. She wanted to write her doctoral dissertation on punctuation in Emily Dickenson’s poems but couldn’t. So she wrote on how John Keats punctuated his. Bathsheba Doran’s Kin begins with Anna’s ...

Of leather kilts and opposing bulwarks

Human rights groups enter fray over public nudity at Hillcrest Pride parade

Human rights activists and gay and lesbian advocacy groups are urging appellate court judges to overturn a previous court's decision to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit brought by Will Walters, a gay man who was arrested ...

Best slow-smoked meat in San Diego?

Brazen BBQ has reason to B.R.A.G.

When it comes to meat, I like it lean — no chewy gristle, no greasy globules of fat, I just want that succulent muscle. Meat-wise, I’m a bad foodie — I prefer filet mignon over ...

It's a Big Front Door, so open wide

BFD's immense offerings may best be enjoyed out of sight

I learned my lesson the hard way about eating in, rather than taking food to go, at the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious deli that is jokingly named for its entrance, Big Front Door (and also for its titillating ...

They said, he said

Nonprofit Desert AIDS Project thrift shop in Hillcrest shuttering

Revivals, the nonprofit thrift store at 1644 University Avenue in Hillcrest, will close down on February 28. It will not be relocating. Opened February 7, 2011, by Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) in Palm Springs, Revivals ...

Poor Radio Shack

Corp. files Chapter 11, issues list of planned closures

The RadioShack Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing will result in store closings across the U.S. The company has posted a “potential store closure list” that includes nine stores in San Diego and the surrounding metro area. ...

Lucky stroke

Victim has blood clot removed from brain, reverts to able-bodied

Last summer, Stefan Reisch was driving west on the I-8 near Waring Road at 9:30 in the morning when it hit. "I thought, Are you having a stroke? But that couldn't be,” he says. "So ...

Jesse will kill herself tonight

Ion Theatre stages the Pulitzer-winning 'night, Mother

No theatrical enterprise is risk-free. But staged readings come close. They’re low-priced, come-as-you-are, one-night-only affairs. And actors can read plays too expensive to mount otherwise. Staged readings also have an added bonus — a “what ...

Voilà, instant burger

Smoked pineapples and nuked burgers not so bad.

“This place is old-fashioned, like a Cairo café. We don’t do loud music and DJs.”

Hillcrest boba station open on Fifth Ave

Trinitea Tea expands service, decorates with glorious artworks

Does anyone remember when “bubble tea” was the new hotness? The raging popularity of milk tea loaded with swollen tapioca balls created a niche market overnight, and opened the gate for a bubble bubble, so ...

Hearty garden at Great Maple

A meal both naughty and nice

When I hit up Great Maple, on the easier-to-park side of Hillcrest, it's usually mid-morning and I have two items on the brain: salad and doughnuts. I don’t even look at the menu anymore. Rather ...

Can the Buffalo Public House work in Hillcrest?

Brazilian-influenced restaurant faces stiff conceptual challenges in competitive neighborhood scene

Brazilian cuisine receives little exposure in the US. Churrascaria restaurants, like Rei do Gado and Fogo de Chao, contribute to the popular image of South American carnivorism, where diners disappear beneath mountains of roast meat. ...

First Look: Whole Hog soft opens in Hillcrest

Celebrates America's "original art form" — BBQ

Being a fan of pork, passing by a restaurant called the Whole Hog was bound to stir up some cravings. The place practically sits in the middle of the intersection of Robinson Avenue and Park ...

Artists not residents

The city is getting ready to spend $280,000 for “artwork design, fabrication, and installation” to decorate the soon-to-be constructed Hillcrest and Mission Hills library. “The budget is all-inclusive and must cover all costs associated with ...

Spare, direct contact

Language reigns supreme in an "unreviewable," masterful reading of Night, Mother at Ion Theatre.

By definition, staged readings are not reviewable. They have no set, little lighting, few rehearsals. They’re actors seated behind music stands reading a play, maybe a bottled water to one side, maybe a costume that ...

East Coast Pizza open in Hillcrest

Successful North County pizza joint expands to Hillcrest, sells OK pizza, stays open late on weekends.

Cardiff-based East Coast Pizza’s Hillcrest location is up and running regular hours now, including moderately late-night service (till 2:30 a.m.) on Fridays and Saturdays. ECP closes before midnight other days, but being able to get ...

Thrift pros and scores

Dedicated thrifters know how to take advantage of the deals in SD's many vintage and discount shops.

San Diego is known for its great weather, beaches, and craft beer. I think we need to add another item to that list — thrift stores. From the row of resale shops in Hillcrest on ...

The parking problem again

Audit Committee to look into better management of program

There's a shortage of parking in some San Diego communities and the city's community parking district program isn't much help addressing that shortage. In a recent audit, the city auditor's office found holes in the ...

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