Hillcrest Stories

Business as usual for Local Habit

New ownership keeping Cali-Creole craft beer haven true to original vision

Last July, I reported the establishers of Local Habit (3827 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest) were selling the business. Immediately, regulars at the “Cali-Creole” spot were worried it would veer away from that unique style of cuisine ...

In for a sandwich, out with a slice

Nostalgic market turns up some nontraditional pizza

From the outside, The Market Place looks like a convenience store four or five decades past its heyday. But, like other nearby fixtures Hobnob Hill and Nunu's, the place must have been doing something right ...

The art of the spoon

Local twosome hope to bridge gap between art and commerce, one spoon at a time

Where does the line between art and industry lie? Rachel Eva and Shawn Michael, a Hillcrest couple who together make up Work of My Hands, are in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to fund ...

The best würst place to take your pup

A "very dog friendly" beer and sausage spot

When a restaurant describes itself as having "a new dining concept based on the ancient art of sausage making," a lot of thoughts pass through my head, but two words that don't leap to mind ...

Arm candy

Purses worn in San Diego

“You're never too fat for a new purse.” ― Nia Vardalos I gained a couple of pounds over the holiday season. As a result of my refusal to go up a dress size, I have ...

Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo

What brought you to this bookstore? “I found it on the internet and thought I’d like to come.” Have you found anything interesting? “Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo. It looks like a Russian story. ...

Hillcrest’s Uptown shopping center due for “re-do”

Makeover prompted by business closures?

The Uptown District Shopping Center at 1030 University Avenue in Hillcrest, built in the early ’90s, is a busy location. But vacancies have been popping up in the 148,638-square-foot urban center, anchored by Ralphs. The ...

Food as entertainment at Hash House a Go Go

Dinner in Hillcrest with a week's worth of leftovers

For me, Hash House has always been a scene-y brunch spot for the not-hungover-so-much-as-still-drunk group of friends. There’s a somewhat-annoying, but “fun to mingle in if you know a bunch of people in the hood” ...

Claudio Raygoza: the acting process at Ion Theatre, part two

Read part one of this interview. Claudio Raygoza, artistic director of Ion Theatre, and Glenn Paris, the producing director, stage plays in a 49-seat theater, with obviously special demands. They include others for the plays ...

Claudio Raygoza: the acting process at Ion Theatre, part one

Ion Theatre has earned an impressive reputation — and a number of Craig Noel Awards to back it up — for quality acting. I asked Claudio Raygoza, the artistic director, to provide a behind-the-scenes look ...

Bino's Bistro adds full dinner service

Hillcrest crêperie lands beer and wine license, expands menu, still makes lots of French pancakes

As happens with so many restaurants, Bino’s Bistro fell victim to protracted delays as the Hillcrest crêperie sought a beer and wine license. Kudos to the restaurant for soldiering through a drawn-out permitting process (which ...

Bug at Ion Theatre

A rogue male aphid’s dining on Agnes and her new friend Peter? No, he says. Must be a female, a “matriarchal aphid,” and she isn’t just slicing skin, she’s spawning a world-wide infestation from a ...

Miguelito’s Rye Manhattan

Uptown Tavern’s bar back Miguel Duran is in the advanced placement class of bartenders-in-training. Observing Uptown’s bartenders at work, he’s come up with his own signature cocktail. When he began creating what’s now known as ...

Nunu's, the hoppingest place

“Gimme the basic burger,” I say. “Uh, no,” says Leighanne.

Ed gets punched by a nubbly, crunchy, and salty burger at Nunu’s in Hillcrest.

First look at Hillcrest East Village Asian Diner

North County bistro expands to Uptown, and delicious fusion burritos remain an elusive impossibility.

It took forever to remodel Pink Noodle and turn it into East Village Asian Diner (406 University Avenue), a second location for the successful, Encinitas restaurant. Reportedly, permitting troubles plagued the buildout, but the construction ...

French Concession open in Hillcrest

Celadon closed down, got a makeover, and re-opened as French Concession, a dim sum restaurant on 5th Avenue

While everybody has been obsessing over the protracted buildout process for Lucky Liu’s (Alex Thao’s new Downtown Chinese restaurant), the restaurateur quietly renovated Celadon, his Hillcrest Thai restaurant. Reborn as French Concession (3671 5th Avenue) ...

"Art Speaks" salons debut at Thumbprint Gallery 2

New panel series aims to give fans access to artists, and artists access to each other, to foster a sense of artistic community.

The first goal of the new “Art Speaks” salon series at Thumbprint Gallery 2, at the back of Hillcrest’s Bamboo Lounge, is to “provide a platform for artists to engage in dialogue with their community ...

Commonwealth Ultra Lounge already ailing?

Newest entry in a series of unsuccessful ventures at 1263 University Avenue doesn't seem to have what it takes.

There’s just something about 1263 University Avenue. Restaurants there are always already doomed to failure. How many have come and come in recent years? Most recently, the Range (which wasn’t any good) made a go ...

Sticks and stones

“I can yell at the food court...because I don’t know anyone here!”

Neil LaBute’s reasons to be pretty begins, before it starts, with a single word. Asked to compare Steph, his girlfriend of four years, to the new “hottie” at the warehouse, Greg said Steph has a ...

RB Sushi invades Hillcrest

North County sushi establishment brings its vaunted "all you can eat" deal to Uptown San Diego.

It took a while, but somebody finally moved into the spot, formerly Lotus Cafe, at 3955 Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest. That somebody is RB Sushi, a North County and College Area stalwart most known for ...

Hillcrest car-repair shop closure signals gentrification

Park Boulevard business “has indeed been an eyesore”

Town's Auto Repair at 3752 Park Boulevard in Hillcrest has repaired its last engine, carburetor, and transmission. The business was directly across from the DECA luxury condo development, on the northwest corner of Park Boulevard ...

Masquerade in Hillcrest

Masks of all types on the scene at Snooze charity event.

Last weekend I went to a masquerade party at Snooze in Hillcrest. It ended up being a bit of a disaster — not the event itself, as Snooze raised over $2,000 for Feeding America San ...

To Zak, by John Lennon

Zach Goode, formerly of Ghoulspoon, now fronting Secret Seven, tells the story of sending away for a John Lennon autograph before he was shot to death. The envelope came back in the mail — with the autographed photo — days after Lennon was assassinated.

Guadalupe Valley’s days of wine and tacos are now

Baja boutique

You don’t have to look far to find Baja California’s influence on San Diego’s food-and-drink scene. Family-owned taco shops and mariscos trucks are hallmarks of our city’s culinary landscape. Seasonal, sea-and-farm-to-table Baja Med cuisine is ...

Swim a little deeper at the Merrow

Hillcrest’s Ruby Room transforms into the Merrow -- a Gaelic-influenced bar with a nautical theme. You’ll figure it out. Start at the bar.

Last call

Two productions must close this weekend that illustrate the range of subjects and the skills of local theater. And do us proud.

When I went to Lamb’s Players, I’d already seen at least three productions of Margaret Edson’s Wit. I’d also read the play several times and wrote a feature about Jerry Patch, dramaturge extraordinaire. When he ...

Returning to the Snooty Asian

Hillcrest bistro is a worthy project, despite still trying to find its footing

The Snooty Asian (3925 Fourth Avenue) showed a lot of promise during its soft opening period. Making it work in the cut-throat restaurant quarter of Hillcrest is no easy task, and Snooty has yet to ...

Raw and Chad Deity: When chaos demands a cameo

Ion Theatre’s current production, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity spoofs and critiques The WWE’s Monday Night Raw, the TV wrestling show with ratings through the roof. As the playwright points out, the WWE shamelessly ...

Ion Theatre stages The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity

Jobber to the stars

The boss screams, “They’ll hate you,” which in pro wrestling is “the best news you can hear.”

MC Lars: Halloween post-punk laptop rap

The Merrow hosts a cosplay and Nerdcore extravaganza for All Hallows' Eve

Fresh off a UK tour with Wheatus and summer’s Warped Tour, MC Lars is bringing his tongue-in-cheek white-boy rhymes (he calls it “post-punk laptop rap”) to The Merrow (1271 University Avenue, Hillcrest) on Thursday, October ...

Dead air reigns in The Shining City

Conor McPherson’s The Shining City takes some amazing theatrical risks. No, wait, make that anti-theatrical. Imagine the exact opposite of a blockbuster movie: frantic cuts, pulse-drubbing pace, blaring sounds that belt you daffy. Shining City ...

Zane Zillner paints with scent

Hillcrest aromatherapist goes way beyond the idea of scented candles as he makes art for the sense of smell.

Painters blend and layer pigments to make their art. Musicians layer sound. Zane Zillner, working in his fantastic-smelling little office at Hapenstans Salon, layers smells. While he earns his living as a massage therapist, it’s ...

Turban Love

Turbans are making the rounds out and about in San Diego. The fashionable headpieces aren’t only for bad hair days. Fashionistas in SD are taking their cues from the likes of Joan Crawford and Carrie ...

Lisa Mendez: 21st-century zinester

Hillcrest artist has a DIY aesthetic and an eye for bringing things and ideas together.

To paraphrase a certain late-twentieth-century alt-rock one-hit-wonder, Lisa Mendez wants to publish zines and rage against machines. The second part of that is an assumption based on the artist’s punk rock style, but the part ...

Goodwill hunting for donations at new Hillcrest store

Formidable competition in this area of town

Goodwill Industries of San Diego has leased space previously occupied by Legends Home Furnishings, at 1219 University Avenue. While not open for business, the store is accepting donations at the back door from 8:30 a.m. ...

Lost dog hit by car in Hillcrest

Rescued by good samaritans

Hillcrest is a danger zone for any lost pet or stray. So, when my dog Ina ran away from home on August 11, I was consumed by worry. My roommate and I searched for her ...

Local Habit & Vagabond selling, Brabant coming

Two resto sales and a new, beery Belgian identity for one of them

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 ...

Former Ruby Room reopens as The Merrow

Hillcrest art and music institution The Ruby Room recently reopened doors as nautical-themed lounge.

Toxic Fairy

Jenny, my wittiest sister, recently discovered a new app for her iPhone that has made group-texting with my sisters far more interesting. Though Heather and I benefit from the potentially endless supply of hilarity, the ...

Vermont Street bridge gets a paint job

Work to be completed by end of July

A makeover is under way for the Vermont Street bridge, which crosses Washington Street from University Heights to reach the Uptown shopping center in Hillcrest. The City of San Diego is overseeing the work, being ...

Hillcrest residents stay at home during termite tenting

Computer, carpets, 12-pack, facilitate “glamping”

Alicia and Robert, the owners of a single-family house on Lewis Street in Hillcrest, had heard of people wearing gas masks and robbing houses while they were being tented for termites. So, they decided to ...

Protest of Bradley Manning imprisonment in Hillcrest

“The guilty people are George Bush's administration”

About 70 loud, enthusiastic, chanting individuals, many blowing whistles, took over the four corners of Sixth and University avenues in Hillcrest on June 1. Mostly from the LGBT community and Occupy movement, they called on ...

Ombres and Mermaid Hair

Every summer, my daughter's hair turns green. No matter how much I spend on chlorine-fighting shampoo or how religiously I rinse her white-blonde tresses after swimming, it inevitably develops an aqua tint. I worry that ...

New Walgreens store rises on University Ave. in Hillcrest

Community leaders hope for a good neighbor

The long-planned, controversial Walgreens store in Hillcrest is well under construction at 301 University Avenue. The former vacant structure, last used for medical offices, was on the site located directly across University from Urban Mo's ...

Will Barton thought he was dead

Will Barton was walking home late one night in October 2012 when Philip Martin Hernandez, on a crime rampage with his young wife (Cindy Altamirano Garcia), shot him a few times and left him for dead. As he struggles to heal, health insurance companies create barriers.

Fender-bender on University Avenue

Parking meter the only casualty

Police and emergency personnel were called to the scene of an accident on Thursday, April 18, at approximately 4:50 p.m., after an elderly woman drove her car over the curb on the north side of ...

She Bangs

How women in San Diego wear the fringe

2013 is the year of the bang. Fringe hairstyles are showing up on everyone from Zooey Deschanel to Katy Perry to Jessica Biel. Below, four local ladies show off their fringes. 33-year-old Erin Jackson told ...

Stepping into Mission Valley from Hillcrest

Heymatt: About 30 years ago I heard about some concrete stairs leading from the area around UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest down to Mission Valley. I went exploring and found them, but I only went ...

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