North Park Stories

Umphrey's McGee hypnotizes Observatory

Reeling in the years with the progressive jam band

As far as concert performances go, Umphrey’s McGee can run hot and cold. Sunday night, they were on fire. Normally reminiscent of a free-form rock group like Phish, Umphrey’s McGee brought their sound down to ...

Cherokee Point is no North Park

“It’s misleading marketing, which is kind of obnoxious.”

“How many neighbors have realtors cold-calling them and sending them mail asking if we are interested in selling,” said Cherokee Point resident Frederick Simson in a Nextdoor post recently. “I get about one letter a ...

Attuned to ramen life

Exploring the Underbelly of North Park

Take a look at the noodle landscape surrounding San Diego’s urban core these days, and you’ll find a dozen dedicated ramen bars. But when Consortium Holdings opened Underbelly in Little Italy five years ago, most ...

Shins return to sound if not form

Indie rockers' Heartworms better than the band on this night

The Shins’ return to San Diego after a five-year hiatus — for two nights at the Observatory — was special for more reasons than just the long absence and mini residency. To start, for many ...

Tiny-house movement for the homeless

"We have so many people who are sleeping in tents...."

A group of homeless advocates has unveiled examples of a long-brewing plan to create extremely low-cost emergency housing as a temporary remedy while longer term solutions to regional homelessness are sought. "We've been trying to ...

North Park Main Street hits the road for Iowa

More people, bigger meetings required more space

North Park Main Street has vacated its office space at 3076 University Avenue in North Park and moved to new offices in the Iowa Street Seniors apartment building at 3939 Iowa Street. San Diego Housing ...

Where there's no smoke, there's no chicken

“The wind usually blows towards the east in the Pancho Villa parking lot."

“We just lost their main flagship,” said Mr. Robinson, a resident who lives one block away from the Pancho Villa supermarket at 3245 El Cajon Boulevard. Robinson said he is “bummed out” by the pollos ...

North Park Jack in the Box rebuild permit has yet to pop up

Cheeseburger, fries, and a long lawsuit, please

Jack in the Box and North Park neighbors return to court.

Pariah Brewing says no Fruity Pebbles here

But North Park's newest suds center serves up a milk-urchin stout

North Park's brewery count is up to ten. Pariah Brewing Company officially debuted its beers to the public at select taproom events the first weekend of February, followed by a ticketed grand opening scheduled for ...

Craft spirits heads to North Park

619 Vodka to open distillery, restaurant, and bar this spring

Craft spirits are coming soon to North Park. 619 Vodka has started building out a distillery at the former site of a produce shop just off 30th Street (3015 Lincoln Avenue). Slated to open by ...

Ready to fill with North Park foodies

Long empty and tagged, former movie theater gets spiffed up

The long-empty storefront at 3020 University Avenue in North Park may at last find a lessee. The building has been an eyesore for several years in the ever-growing, popular foodie district of North Park (in ...

Dessert still Heavenly in North Park

Just add gelato

It wasn’t much more than a year ago that longstanding North Park dessert spot Heaven Sent moved from its 30th and University corner location into a smaller space two doors down. So I was surprised ...

Beer, sports, and toddlers

Twisted, a bar for the whole family

Over the summer a new sports bar and restaurant opened in North Park, across from the Lafayette Hotel at the original corner location of Pomegranate, the Georgian restaurant that has since moved into a larger ...

You gotta use your noodle

Ah, the comforts of ramen

Once found mostly on Convoy Boulevard in Kearny Mesa, noodle spots have lately popped up in hipster neighborhoods such as Little Italy, North Park, Hillcrest, and University Heights. Tajima started as a small restaurant in ...

It’s not easy to do good bacon

Blackmarket nails it

A large, retro sign saying “Bakery” recently went up in North Park, the work of Blackmarket Bakery. The new restaurant represents the third installment and first San Diego entry of a small Orange County bakery ...

Mr. Robinson's frontier spirit

Psych-n-blues-rock band Chris Robinson Brotherhood takes the stage at the Observatory on Friday

Ex–Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson brings the Chris Robinson Brotherhood to the Observatory North Park on December 16. In between the phone signal cutting out in Appalachia, he took some questions. Where am I reaching ...

Juniper Canyon’s evidence of tectonic plate activity

Experience feeling alone with nature in the middle of the city

Juniper Canyon Open Space is mainly an urban remnant of the local native coastal sage scrub, with some intermingling of chaparral and some weedy growth along the trail. The trail itself varies from a narrow ...

Not all San Diego beer tasting rooms look alike

Six spots that go beyond reclaimed wood

They may range in size and scope, but most of the nearly 150 breweries and tasting rooms pouring across greater San Diego have at least one thing in common — their looks. Since the majority ...

North Park stroll

Business changes along University Avenue

Tobacco Rhoda’s dive bar closed down in June 2016. The bar had reportedly been a problem in the neighborhood for years. Artist Sam Ballard, who had a studio behind the bar for eight years, described ...

Rocket From the Crypt up from the crypt

Punk-rock big band headlines Casbah's Halloween bash at the Lafayette

Rocket From the Crypt played their “final concert ever” at the Casbah’s then-annual Halloween party at the Westin Horton Plaza in 2005…so it was only fitting that the beast be brought back to life to ...

Park-starved residents locked out of school playgrounds

"Responsibility for opening seems unclear and too often forgotten."

At least three of San Diego's joint-use playground parks have limited or eliminated public access to playgrounds in North Park, Normal Heights, and Kensington, and no one knows who is responsible. After three days of ...

New on the North Park beer block

Former Ballast Point brewers bring on the Eppig

North Park's status as a beer hub gets a major boost in the next few months as a trio of turnkey breweries leasing from HG Fenton's Brewery Igniter program begin to go online. Three ten-barrel ...

A cozy, out-of-the-way spot in the middle of North Park

Bangkok Spices Thai relocation a good move for old standby

The name seemed familiar, but when I walked past Bangkok Spices shortly after it opened on 30th Street, I couldn't quite place it. Eventually I realized I'd been to a restaurant of the same name ...

Hipster zone planned for North Park

Community plans for Golden Hill and South Park also laid out

Mid-city residents packed city-council chambers on Tuesday afternoon (October 25) as councilmembers convened to consider long-awaited updates to community plans for North Park and Golden Hill. The most contentious discussion centered around the North Park ...

Atmosphere casts its line at the Observatory

Slug and friends mix Fishing Blues with the classics

Atmosphere's tour began with a broken down van just outside of Saskatoon, but smoothed out quickly with a string of sold-out shows leading into Friday night's gig at Observatory North Park, which sold out weeks ...

North Park finds room for one more coffee shop

Biker cafe is surprisingly comfortable

I didn't think North Park needed another coffee shop, particularly along 30th Street. But when I walked into the newly opened Torque Moto Café, I immediately felt as though it scratched a neighborhood itch that's ...

What North Park's future will look like

"Our plan is for the millennials. If they can avoid having a car, they do."

The North Park Planning Committee on Tuesday (September 6) approved the area's draft community plan update — the roadmap for long-term growth and preservation for a neighborhood deemed one of America's hippest hipster neighborhoods in ...

Oh, those free-range birds

Late lunch in North Park

David and I finally made it to Encontro, in that magical empty hour between lunch and dinner. The restaurant is positioned at the corner of University Avenue and 30th Street, which puts it right in ...

Tribute pays tribute to the world’s best pizza

Get a slice of hospitality

Tribute Pizza has been in soft opening mode for the past month or so, but this review begins about two years earlier. The setting is BLVD Market, San Diego’s premier prepared-foods monthly on El Cajon ...

/ dun • ee • din / nrth • prk /

New Zealand gastropub hits North Park’s culinary corner

If you count the controversial Jack in the Box, there are now 14 restaurants and two bars within 500 feet of the doglegged intersection of 30th at Upas Street. Some food writers have taken to ...

Lil B's closes

El Cajon Boulevard restaurant had replaced long-running Johnny's R

Lil B’s Urban Eatery at 2611 El Cajon Boulevard in North Park has closed down. All the windows are covered. Their listed phone number doesn’t answer. More than a week ago when I ate there, ...

Georgia Street Bridge restoration begins

Demise of streetcars signaled beginning of decades-long demolition talk

After decades of back-and-forth about whether to demolish or restore the Georgia Street Bridge, restoration of the 102-year-old structure began on August 3. The project was supposed to break ground in the fall of 2015 ...

Dark-rock duo Blood Ponies tracking that fuzz all over town

Feral ponies

"Our music is dark, heavy post-punk, made by two people who make a surprising amount of noise," says Jeff Terich, who partners with Candice Renee in Blood Ponies. “It sounds best at night when our ...

North Park Kentucky Fried Chicken picket

"If we could get them to stop serving antibiotic-laced meat..."

Organizers with the consumer advocacy group CalPIRG gathered in front of a North Park fast-food outlet on Tuesday (August 9) to deliver signatures and entice passersby to pose for "photo petitions" aimed at ending the ...

Europeans and Asians eat mackerel and bonito

Americans have a narrow definition of what constitutes fine table fare

Fun Fact Number One: University Heights seafood counter Beerfish couldn’t get www.beerfish.com because some obscure rod and tackle outfit with the tagline “Worse for wear and overpriced” has it locked down. Fun Fact Number Two: ...

Savages turn Observatory into a cauldron of punk-metal

British band riding a mighty, high wave behind this year's Adore Life

What to say about Savages…these are some badass ladies. The English quartet is known for their fierce and eerie delivery. Atmospheric guitar feedback, constant rumbling of bass and drums, topped off by Jehnny Beth’s maniacal ...

The soft, loud, soft, really loud Wye Oak

Baltimore indie-rock duo packs 'em in at the Irenic

Wye Oak is a Baltimore indie-rock duo formed in 2006 whose music ranges from laid-back and spare to noisy guitar freak-outs. They showcased these dynamics mid-set at the Irenic with the galloping soft/loud/soft/really loud structure ...

You’ve got to try dukkah

This North Park spot is too easy to miss

While there are a lot of big, notable restaurants lining 30th Street as it winds through North Park, there are a handful of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them spots as well. Apparently I didn’t blink overly much while driving ...

Wang’s North Park restaurant space in escrow

Failed eatery had been "everything the community was looking for"

In 2011, restaurateurs Joel Herzer and Tom Eads got approval from the San Diego City Council to loan them $500,000 in redevelopment funds to assist with costs of opening Wang’s North Park restaurant. Housed in ...

Groundbreaking for apartments to house LGBT seniors

Completion targeted for December 2017

A large crowd gathered at the northwest corner of Texas Street and Howard Avenue on July 13 for a groundbreaking ceremony marking construction of affordable apartments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender seniors. The housing ...

SDPD wife helped crack case of North Park attacker

"We do care, cops do care. I live in the neighborhood."

Though she was instrumental in cracking the 2014 case of the serial attacker in North Park and Normal Heights, Carrie Spillane didn't feel right about accepting the $10,000 reward. So she asked the city to ...

Craft beer rich in North Park

Talents converge to construct San Diego's urban brewery ideal

One of the beer community's most anticipated brewery debuts hit University Avenue at the end of June when North Park Beer Co. officially opened for business — an opening that resonates in urban culture as ...

North Park's next brewery has 19th-century roots

Eppig Brewery revives a 150-year-old Bavarian brand out of Brooklyn

Last August, HG Fenton's turnkey brewhouse division Brewery Igniter announced plans to convert a former North Park strip club into a trio of small breweries, and in February West Coaster magazine reported the first tenant ...

Beer and weed bridge to Thorn Brewery

OG HighPA — at 4.20% ABV (wink, wink) — ventures into dank territory

Thorn Street Brewery is taking steps to become the first brewery in the country to package a beer flavored with marijuana. The microbrewer debuted its OG HighPA last month in its North Park tasting room, ...

Pierced the radio veil

Local post-core quartet is blowing up

It pays to play well. Even if there aren’t many people there to see you. “The other day I went to the Ché Café and there were, like, ten kids there,” says singer/songwriter/guitarist Vic Fuentes ...

Before there was reggae there was reggay — and there was Toots

Toots & the Maytals take the stage at the Observatory Wednesday night

Toots and the Maytals have been coming around for so long now that news of their arrival is taken in stride, much like the way one might embrace a change of season or impending weather. ...

Four kinds of pretzel

California Tap Room has snack food for North Park’s beer scene

There’s a new shop in North Park called California Tap Room, and it makes excellent use of water, yeast, and grain. But maybe not the way you’d expect. This tap room isn’t specifically in the ...

Coffee + flowers = sensory benefits

Flowers to the right, coffee to the left

Its large, painted outside wall says Coffee + Flowers, but inside the storefront on the southwest corner of Texas and University there are actually two distinct businesses: Communal Coffee and Native Poppy flower shop. "In ...

Signature-gatherer falsely claims petition will save Comic-Con

Who the guy was working for remains a mystery

On June 2 in front of Vons in North Park, at 30th Street and Howard, a paid signature-gatherer stood next to a sign. It read: "Please sign the new Comic-Con petition." Reader contributor Dryw Keltz ...

North Park Woolworth's re-do on hold

Meantime, same developer constructs 35 apartments off alley

While the long-delayed renovation of the historic F.W. Woolworth Co. building at 3067–3075 University Avenue still has no start date, the developer is constructing apartments behind that building. Built in 1949, the Streamline Moderne structure ...

Hot Gouda and cold IPA

Venissimo Cheese at Bottlecraft

Since I live in the area and regularly “research” craft beer, I probably visit North Park’s Bottlecraft shop more than the average customer. While the Venissimo counter has been selling globally sourced cheeses out of ...

Abstract works by NASA science illustrator on display in North Park Gallery

A New Stellar Order shows through June 18

There’s a an artistic universe squeezed into a little gallery space tucked between a residential home and a tattoo parlor on the eastern edge of North Park. The space is called Teros Gallery, the same ...

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