Burgerettes, two for $5 on special
1805 Newton Avenue, San Diego
There’s a lot of change in Barrio Logan. The building boom on César Chávez has brought several new places.
For starters there’s Mariscos El Pulpo, a Mexican-style sports bar-eatery. Then there’s Malane’s place, MishMash, this cool eatery with its own patio, right next to Iron Fist Brewing’s new downtown bar, also with its own patio. Ian Anderson previewed MishMash last year while they were still a food truck and pop-up.
MishMash is small but looks spacious with its high ceilings and big with its shared patio. The vibe is industrial concrete, gray with wild color graffiti art on the walls to tip the hat to barrio culture.
The menu’s basically burgers, tacos, and snacks such as pork belly bites. Not the cheapest, but you get a lot. The MishMash burger ($12) is a half pound of Brandt beef with mozzarella topped with crunchy onions. And on Sadie Rose buns, which I love, covered in garlic aioli.
I came thinking I had to try the “Triple D” duck fat fries with duck confit and duck gravy ($8) because Ian had gone ape for their “decadent” food truck version last year. But it turns out that this night they have a burger special going. Two sliders for $5. And I could have a beer here. They have plenty on tap, but I’m tempted by Iron Fist next door. They’re a brewery in Vista, and I see a blackboard full of beers I’ve never heard of.
Sliders and the Velvet Glove
“Not a problem,” says Raj, the gal taking my order. “We’ll bring it through. We have an arrangement.”
When the burgerettes come through to the Iron Fist bar, they look like they’re exact shrunken versions of the $12 model. The buns are smothered in garlic aioli, and a mozzarella and crunchy onion combo works well. I get a happy hour glass of Iron Fist’s Velvet Glove, a nice chocolatey stout for $4.
“I’m from Oceanside,” says Malane. “I’m an art major. I came out of school with an MFA. Then I spent ten years in the craft beer world. Go figure. Then I met Doug the chef, who’d created this pop-up tent/food truck business. We combined forces.
“What I like with the restaurant scene is that small is beautiful again. Big restaurant franchises are giving way to start-ups like us depending on social media. It’s like the music scene. Mega bands like the Beatles are giving way to 100,000 small bands putting their stuff online.”
Bottom line: This is a $9 burger-beer meal deal I’ll come back for. Only worry: Is this the start of a renaissance here in the barrio or the first ripples of an Anglo invasion that will take away Barrio Logan’s hard-won Chicano identity?
“No, I live here,” Malane says. “I’m very sensitive to feelings here. And actually, most of our customers are locals.”