White Trash food, canning, pies, beets, turkey, bread pudding, asparagus, potlucks, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, spinach, Easter bunnies, jellybeans, ice cream, apricots, and dog food served as paté
3:58 p.m., Feb. 19
When speaking with local restaurateur Tracy Borkum over a half-decade ago, she was already regarded by many in her industry as one of San Diego’s most driven and with-it eatery owners. At the time, the venues within her Urban Kitchen Group were Banker’s Hill’s Laurel, Downtown’s Chive, and Kensington Grill (I don’t really need to tell you what neighborhood that last one’s located in, do I?). All were highly regarded by local foodies, but frankly, there were a lot less foodies back then. That’s the key reason why, today, those restaurants are gone.
Before those unfamiliar with Borkum groan out a sympathetic aaaaaaaawwww, allow me to inform you that she’s doing just fine. Better than ever, in fact. Realizing Laurel had no chance of making it, rather than riding it to the grave, she converted the modernly stylish, upscale gourmet resto more suited for NYC than SD to the constantly packed convivial Italian hub, Cucina Urbana. The runaway success of that local fave allowed her to open a spin-off Cucina Enoteca at the Irvine Spectrum Center, as well as break ground on a second Cucina Enoteca scheduled to hit the Flower Hill Promenade in Del Mar in the coming months.
Borkum’s ability to make the tough decision to close venues followed by smart choices in reconcepting have kept her among the top tier of restaurateurs in San Diego. So, it would seem her recent decision to replace Kensington Grill with an all-new eatery stands a good chance of panning out both for Borkum and her inner-city customers.
The new place will be called FISH PUBLIC. The seafood-focused restaurant will be helmed by executive chef Jordan Davis, a new arrival to San Diego County with some impressive eateries on his résumé including the well known nose-to-tail Animal in L.A. and San Francisco’s James Beard “Outstanding Restaurant” winner Boulevard.
FISH PUBLIC is scheduled to open in or just before June, so it’ll be awhile before Davis’ skills will be on display for the dining public. In the meantime, feel free to stalk the location (4055 Adams Avenue, Kensington) for a glimpse at the next chapter in the ever-changing story of Urban Kitchen Group.