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Solace for breakfast

A North Park restaurant changes its weekday game

Embracing weekday breakfast hours
Embracing weekday breakfast hours

Credit Urban Solace as a building block to the lifestyle destination North Park has become. The neighborhood didn’t yet have that national press cachet when Solace rode a rising comfort food trend into what’s now considered a restaurant row along 30th Street. Its Bourbon Street façade, meatloaf, and Sunday bluegrass brunch have been staples of North Park culture. However, a dozen years later, a flood of craft beer, noodles, pizza, and scooters have changed the landscape, and Urban Solace is apparently changing right back.

Place

Urban Solace

3823 30th Street, San Diego

Don’t worry, the brunch isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the first change came about last month as the eatery took up weekday breakfast service. Actually, it’s a combined breakfast and lunch service, the same all encompassing menu running 8am til 2pm. That means you can order a pecan sicky bun at noon, or Solace’s vaunted burger at 9am.

Skillet cooked pecan sticky bun topped with whipped cream cheese

Personally, I am rather impressed how comprehensive the morning cocktail list turned out. In addition to mimosa and bloody standbys, the “leaded libations,” menu includes a cold brew black Russian with vanilla and sea salt, and a fernet-based sarsaparilla fizz.

Pork belly, spinach, and poached egg, drenched in ancho chili hollandaise, over a cheddar and chive biscuit

Looking back at the past ten years, I realize I’ve long viewed Urban Solace as a breakfast spot, having brunched here far more often than I’ve taken dinner. Even that’s fallen off, as weekend brunch dining has become the crowded domain of people who say stuff like, “Sunday Funday.” I can make fun of that, because I’m not a 9 to 5er, so may to go out to a breakfast spot on Monday and get the same food without the 40-minute wait.

Thanks to the gig economy, there are far more people like me out there, and we’re among those who benefit most from this change in hours. Are there enough of us who want shrimp and grits ($14.50) on a Wednesday morning, or orange mascarpone French toast ($13.50)?

There’s definitely some creative breakfast work on the new menu, such as gluten free buckwheat-zucchini-banana pancakes. But plenty of tried and true Solace brunch items remain, with or without embellishment. The kitchen sink biscuits and gravy ($15.50), still delivers eggs, brown sugar bacon, and Niman sausage, over cheddar chive biscuits. Instead of beef cheek hash, a rotating seasonal hash switches up proteins (and price). It could be chicken and mushroom hash, or who knows?

Most of the benedicts have been replaced with scrambles, but the one holdover suited me just fine: the Pork Belly Benny ($15.50), served on biscuits with spinach and ancho chili hollandaise. Since I’m not a fan of sugary bacon, this tender slab of fatty pork gets my breakfast attention here, and doesn’t disappoint.

The real question about weekday breakfast is whether a generation of weekday morning brunchers will be as willing to spend so readily as the Sunday crowd. Breakfast, coffee, and tip took me into the $20-plus range, and a taste for that $5.50 pecan sticky bun took it higher. It’s tough to see adding a ten or twelve dollar cocktail, on like a Tuesday, being in the stars.

But prices like this aren’t going anywhere. That’s something else that’s changed in North Park over the years: economic reality. Urban Solace has to respond to that as well, as do all its restaurant row neighbors. Owner and chef Matt Gordon promises a new dinner menu in the new year, so if you’d like to wax nostalgic about the Urban Solace of old, get in for dinner in December.

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Embracing weekday breakfast hours
Embracing weekday breakfast hours

Credit Urban Solace as a building block to the lifestyle destination North Park has become. The neighborhood didn’t yet have that national press cachet when Solace rode a rising comfort food trend into what’s now considered a restaurant row along 30th Street. Its Bourbon Street façade, meatloaf, and Sunday bluegrass brunch have been staples of North Park culture. However, a dozen years later, a flood of craft beer, noodles, pizza, and scooters have changed the landscape, and Urban Solace is apparently changing right back.

Place

Urban Solace

3823 30th Street, San Diego

Don’t worry, the brunch isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the first change came about last month as the eatery took up weekday breakfast service. Actually, it’s a combined breakfast and lunch service, the same all encompassing menu running 8am til 2pm. That means you can order a pecan sicky bun at noon, or Solace’s vaunted burger at 9am.

Skillet cooked pecan sticky bun topped with whipped cream cheese

Personally, I am rather impressed how comprehensive the morning cocktail list turned out. In addition to mimosa and bloody standbys, the “leaded libations,” menu includes a cold brew black Russian with vanilla and sea salt, and a fernet-based sarsaparilla fizz.

Pork belly, spinach, and poached egg, drenched in ancho chili hollandaise, over a cheddar and chive biscuit

Looking back at the past ten years, I realize I’ve long viewed Urban Solace as a breakfast spot, having brunched here far more often than I’ve taken dinner. Even that’s fallen off, as weekend brunch dining has become the crowded domain of people who say stuff like, “Sunday Funday.” I can make fun of that, because I’m not a 9 to 5er, so may to go out to a breakfast spot on Monday and get the same food without the 40-minute wait.

Thanks to the gig economy, there are far more people like me out there, and we’re among those who benefit most from this change in hours. Are there enough of us who want shrimp and grits ($14.50) on a Wednesday morning, or orange mascarpone French toast ($13.50)?

There’s definitely some creative breakfast work on the new menu, such as gluten free buckwheat-zucchini-banana pancakes. But plenty of tried and true Solace brunch items remain, with or without embellishment. The kitchen sink biscuits and gravy ($15.50), still delivers eggs, brown sugar bacon, and Niman sausage, over cheddar chive biscuits. Instead of beef cheek hash, a rotating seasonal hash switches up proteins (and price). It could be chicken and mushroom hash, or who knows?

Most of the benedicts have been replaced with scrambles, but the one holdover suited me just fine: the Pork Belly Benny ($15.50), served on biscuits with spinach and ancho chili hollandaise. Since I’m not a fan of sugary bacon, this tender slab of fatty pork gets my breakfast attention here, and doesn’t disappoint.

The real question about weekday breakfast is whether a generation of weekday morning brunchers will be as willing to spend so readily as the Sunday crowd. Breakfast, coffee, and tip took me into the $20-plus range, and a taste for that $5.50 pecan sticky bun took it higher. It’s tough to see adding a ten or twelve dollar cocktail, on like a Tuesday, being in the stars.

But prices like this aren’t going anywhere. That’s something else that’s changed in North Park over the years: economic reality. Urban Solace has to respond to that as well, as do all its restaurant row neighbors. Owner and chef Matt Gordon promises a new dinner menu in the new year, so if you’d like to wax nostalgic about the Urban Solace of old, get in for dinner in December.

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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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