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This cafeteria is unlike any you’ve ever seen

Green Acre is the place to be

Two kinds of pork offer differing flavor profiles that work well together in a Cubano, seen here with tomato soup
Two kinds of pork offer differing flavor profiles that work well together in a Cubano, seen here with tomato soup
Place

Green Acre Restaurant Campus Pointe

10300 Campus Point Drive, San Diego

I already liked Green Acre Campus Pointe on the approach. I went looking for the Brian Malarkey restaurant after enjoying the sandwiches at his new Little Italy spot, Herb & Eatery.

Green Acre is a little more out of the way for me, in Sorrento Valley atop a narrow triangle of mesa-top squeezed between the merging 5 and 805 freeways. A dedicated parking lot sits above the restaurant itself, near the mesa’s peak, with a view towards North County. I paused there a moment to enjoy the fresh air and the lifted spirits that come from literally looking down on the world.

The view from the parking lot may be spotted in the reflection of the shiny business campus housing this organic Malarkey restaurant.

It’s not something I’d have discovered by accident. The daytime restaurant occupies the north end of a sprawling assortment of business campuses housing biotech companies. Like its sister restaurant, Green Acre Nautilus, which sits across I- 5 on General Atomics Court, the organic eatery is designed to serve health-conscious tech professionals when they break for lunch.

I’m barely professional and certainly not tech, so I almost felt like an interloper going in. I figured it would be a little grab-and-go counter with harried white collar types loading their coffees with Splenda packets and eating packaged turkey wraps standing up. And here I am with a camera and critical palate, invading their turf.

Sure enough, a grab-and-go counter is a part of it, but only a small part. For those looking to sit and relax over a meal, you have the choice of a sprawling outdoor space featuring fire pits, cornhole, ping pong, and an on-site organic garden; an airy, verdant cafeteria; and a warm, comfortable dining room like you’d find in a midcentury hotel. There’s even a private dining room for events and a small bar.

This open dining room might be a little too nicely decorated to really call it a cafeteria.

I grabbed a seat in the cafeteria, which is unlike any I’ve ever seen. It’s been awhile since I’ve worked in a business park environment, but if I’d known one would evolve to feature a restaurant like this someday I might have paid more attention in science class. It’s the sort of place I might pick to catch up with an old friend or meet a blind date.

However, other than Thursday and Friday happy hour, the place is only open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. The beverage menu covers any time of day, including coffee, tea, craft soda, beer, wine, and craft cocktails. The breakfast menu features bowls, breads, eggs, and smoothies. The lunch menu primarily sticks to sandwiches, salads, and brick-oven flatbreads, with a couple of pasta dishes and burgers.

The comfortable interior dining room feels like a throwback to the midcentury — other than the giant TV screen.

The Cubano sandwich was my third choice. My first two, the rotisserie chicken and lamb gyro, tend to sell out fast each day, and when I showed up at 12:30 p.m., neither were available. So I “settled” for the Havana Affair with slow-roasted pork shoulder, Oregon ham, Roma tomato, pickles, and herbs, plus melted Gruyère and mozzarella. The pork shoulder had an earthy, umami appeal that complemented the saltier ham.The roll it was served on was light and crisp. Accompanying it was a small green salad, and I added a hearty, tangy cup of tomato soup.

All good. And I don’t think anybody thought less of me for not working in the sciences, so even if you don’t work in the area I think it’s safe to visit.

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Two kinds of pork offer differing flavor profiles that work well together in a Cubano, seen here with tomato soup
Two kinds of pork offer differing flavor profiles that work well together in a Cubano, seen here with tomato soup
Place

Green Acre Restaurant Campus Pointe

10300 Campus Point Drive, San Diego

I already liked Green Acre Campus Pointe on the approach. I went looking for the Brian Malarkey restaurant after enjoying the sandwiches at his new Little Italy spot, Herb & Eatery.

Green Acre is a little more out of the way for me, in Sorrento Valley atop a narrow triangle of mesa-top squeezed between the merging 5 and 805 freeways. A dedicated parking lot sits above the restaurant itself, near the mesa’s peak, with a view towards North County. I paused there a moment to enjoy the fresh air and the lifted spirits that come from literally looking down on the world.

The view from the parking lot may be spotted in the reflection of the shiny business campus housing this organic Malarkey restaurant.

It’s not something I’d have discovered by accident. The daytime restaurant occupies the north end of a sprawling assortment of business campuses housing biotech companies. Like its sister restaurant, Green Acre Nautilus, which sits across I- 5 on General Atomics Court, the organic eatery is designed to serve health-conscious tech professionals when they break for lunch.

I’m barely professional and certainly not tech, so I almost felt like an interloper going in. I figured it would be a little grab-and-go counter with harried white collar types loading their coffees with Splenda packets and eating packaged turkey wraps standing up. And here I am with a camera and critical palate, invading their turf.

Sure enough, a grab-and-go counter is a part of it, but only a small part. For those looking to sit and relax over a meal, you have the choice of a sprawling outdoor space featuring fire pits, cornhole, ping pong, and an on-site organic garden; an airy, verdant cafeteria; and a warm, comfortable dining room like you’d find in a midcentury hotel. There’s even a private dining room for events and a small bar.

This open dining room might be a little too nicely decorated to really call it a cafeteria.

I grabbed a seat in the cafeteria, which is unlike any I’ve ever seen. It’s been awhile since I’ve worked in a business park environment, but if I’d known one would evolve to feature a restaurant like this someday I might have paid more attention in science class. It’s the sort of place I might pick to catch up with an old friend or meet a blind date.

However, other than Thursday and Friday happy hour, the place is only open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. The beverage menu covers any time of day, including coffee, tea, craft soda, beer, wine, and craft cocktails. The breakfast menu features bowls, breads, eggs, and smoothies. The lunch menu primarily sticks to sandwiches, salads, and brick-oven flatbreads, with a couple of pasta dishes and burgers.

The comfortable interior dining room feels like a throwback to the midcentury — other than the giant TV screen.

The Cubano sandwich was my third choice. My first two, the rotisserie chicken and lamb gyro, tend to sell out fast each day, and when I showed up at 12:30 p.m., neither were available. So I “settled” for the Havana Affair with slow-roasted pork shoulder, Oregon ham, Roma tomato, pickles, and herbs, plus melted Gruyère and mozzarella. The pork shoulder had an earthy, umami appeal that complemented the saltier ham.The roll it was served on was light and crisp. Accompanying it was a small green salad, and I added a hearty, tangy cup of tomato soup.

All good. And I don’t think anybody thought less of me for not working in the sciences, so even if you don’t work in the area I think it’s safe to visit.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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