Downtown San Diego Stories

San Diego's Seaport Village slows down

Selfies replace souvenirs

Pat and her two children noted the closure of Seaport Cookie Company at Seaport Village. “I cannot believe it’s closed,” she said, “and what happened with all of these other shops?” Pat’s been visiting Seaport ...

Lima Restaurant has heart

New Gaslamp sit-down remains authentic to the Peru’s capital city

At first glance, the name Lima Restaurant struck me as generic. But in between serving tables the married owners of the new Gaslamp eatery got to telling us about how they want it to remain ...

The 17th Street stolen bike economy

Bicycle parts from the corner of Imperial to K Street.

Within the last week, fashion-photographer Ron Morales and I rolled downtown to see if we could locate a stolen $1900 Raleigh iE e-bike. I drove down 17th Street and pulled over before it turns into ...

Steak with benefits at Lou & Mickey's

A new dry-aging room gives Gaslamp prime steakhouse an edge

Because of its plum location across the street from the Convention Center, at the left leg of the gateway arch welcoming visitors to the Gaslamp Quarter, prime steakhouse Lou & Mickey’s struck me as a ...

Could be wood frame house in Alabama, but it's El Cajon Blvd. storefront

Why would anyone sing in church these days?

“If you want, I’ll give you a hug,” a tall man with silver hair says to a seated congregant. “I give man hugs,” the silver-haired man says after the two have bro-hugged. It’s noon on ...

Hawkins Way uses San Diego's Procopio lawyers to lobby city hall for downtown evictions

Beverly Hill firm behind the closing of the Plaza Hotel

As the rush to gentrify downtown San Diego by evicting low-income residents continues apace, the specter of lobbyists pushing clients' projects through city hall and picking up sizable public subsidies is growing. A prime example ...

Breakfast flight at The Morning After

Cocktails and breakfast food fuel new Gaslamp concept

You spent last night drinking and clubbing, and now your best bet to escape a hangover is a dose of breakfast food and cocktails. At least that’s the thinking behind The Morning After, a new ...

First public meeting on San Diego's surveillance via streetlight

Move comes after months of inside turmoil, cop concerns

Following months of uncertainty regarding the low-profile rollout of San Diego's so-called smart streetlights, equipped with spy cams, shot-spotters, and related intelligence gathering gear, officials have called a community meeting in Southeastern San Diego to ...

Dockless bikes and scooters in San Diego get new rules in June

3 mph on Embarcadero, geofencing on Mission Beach boardwalk, and the 4X40 rule

It's not all coasting as San Diego works out new rules for dockless rides. The city has to balance climate action goals with the needs of citizens who feel they've been pushed off the sidewalk ...

Whatever Lola's got

Six months in and already a taco destination

San Diegans rejoice, because we are experiencing a golden age of tacos. Great tacos are nothing new here. Taco shops are one of the things people miss most when they move away. But new taco ...

Mac & cheese with black truffles stirs up memories

Crunchy on the outside and hot and soft on the inside

Bertrand at Mister A's isn’t exactly a place for children, and their macaroni and cheese is probably too fancy schmancy for a child, but for me, it brought back fond memories of my childhood. My ...

Double rainbows over downtown San Diego

Alexander's band helps

In the last couple of weeks, the elusive “double rainbows” have been spotted throughout San Diego County. “It was surreal,” said Chris Mannerino, “On February 5, I saw it out of my new office and ...

The continuous still of Storyhouse Spirits

East Village's shiny new distillery was made to make whiskey

San Diego’s newest craft spirit maker opened for business in early February, updating a vintage industrial space in East Village. In lieu of tasting room, Storyhouse Spirits offers an appealing bar and restaurant, with a ...

East Village's birdman loses Sydney, run over by trolley

"Get out of here with your dirty clothes"

Victor Vasquez holds his head in his hands. His white parakeet Ginger sits on his shoulder. Coocooberry, his 25-year-old red-lored green Amazon parrot, sits atop his cage, looking at Vasquez, unblinking, silent. “It’s really painful,” ...

A fault line Made in Kitchen

There are better options within walking distance

The mixed veggies in my curry look right out of a can or freezer bag: identically chopped sections of green beans, cubes of diced carrot, and faded peas. Like the potato chunks, they’re all fairly ...

Theatre Box – one sweet splurge

Luxury and sugar in San Diego's Gaslamp

I love seeing movies in theaters, but it’s hard to leave home when you have a big screen TV, streaming and DVD options, big easy chairs, and food available for delivery. That cruel fact has ...

San Diego Venezuelans grateful to Trump

Drenched at Waterfront Park

During the rainstorm on February 2, Oceanside resident Ana Groening trekked down to Waterfront Park while "many others didn’t make it." That Saturday, many of Groening's fellow-Venezuelans were slated to meet at the waterfront park ...

Le Parfait Paris – beyond Paris

Authenticity doesn't get in the way of creativity

I’d never heard of the croissant and muffin hybrid called a cruffin. It seems to be a response to the cronut craze that had online breakfast pastry fans astir back in 2013. But I suppose ...

Women's March and Walk for Life – a mile or a world apart?

Abortion the litmus issue in San Diego

Two events drew out civic exhibitionists in San Diego on Saturday, January 19, each expressing a different view about what it means to be pro-woman. An estimated 20,000 participants in the Women’s March gathered at ...

San Diego beer turns 30

Karl Strauss co-founder reflects on the decision to launch

As of February 2, Karl Strauss Brewing Company has officially been open for business for 30 years. Karl Strauss Old Columbia Brewery and Grill opened on that date in 1989, serving three house beers: Amber ...

Wild Thyme Table: Turkey vs. roast beef

Each sandwich has a different thing going for it

Turkey or roast beef. How often do I find myself in this position? I’m visiting The Wild Thyme Table, a newish deli counter in between the train station and the courthouse downtown. There’s a lengthy ...

That's not the fish taco you're looking for

Don't believe everything you read in a restaurant window

Some places are just doomed to fail. Specifically this one place in East Village, right across the street from Petco Park. It seems like every time I walk by, there's a new restaurant at 317 ...

Best driving shortcuts for 2019

Kearny Villa to Ruffin as alternative to I-15

On Oct. 9, 1975, the Reader published a story on driving shortcuts. It was written by then cabbie Ray Lilly and contained 14 San Diego shortcuts when gas went for about $.57 per gallon. In ...

Coffee and lot to talk about

Toasts, pastries, and ice cream for breakfast downtown

It’s a coffee roaster right across the street from a Starbucks. Too many apostrophes and a forgettable name will forever doom it to misspelled branding (including on at least one of its own signs). Furthermore, ...

San Diego's tallest buildings – higher and higher

Downtown will never be the same

When I buy my ticket to True Romance at Rooftop Cinema Club, I have visions of vertigo from the thrill of the rise to the top of the Manchester Grand Hyatt. I am not yet ...

Manchester’s mystery money and Tom Barrack

San Diego-tied inaugural committee chief latest to face questions

Because of the Wall Street Journal's November 13 report that federal investigators are looking into spending and fundraising issues involving president Donald Trump's inaugural committee, eyes are returning to the two San Diego major money ...

Apartments for poor come to 13th and Broadway

Goodbye, lemon trees and chiles

273 affordable housing units are coming to the East Village. On the northeast corner on 13th and Broadway, the new homes will take their place amid developments by companies that chose to pay the in-lieu ...

Blankets, umbrellas, street food, and sun

The Sunday weekly that's not a farmers market

Here’s an awkward faux pas: I showed up at Lane Field Park Market last Sunday expecting to buy produce. It’s not a farmers market. For one thing, there are no farmers: this weekly market is ...

Dessert for your camera

Photographing — and eating — raindrop cakes

They’ve been labeled a “viral food,” and “cult dessert,” and been likened to silicone breast implants. The Japanese call them mizu shingen mochi, but the internet really fell in love with them in 2016, when ...

Four kinds of fish and chips

The third favorite may surprise you

Probably one of the most urban things about downtown San Diego is its motley accumulation of restaurants. Most of the press goes to well-financed, high-volume eateries with glossy interiors, PR representation, and “up and coming” ...

Honeymoon at the San Diego county building

Hanky panky on Pacific Highway

For an $88 fee, a couple can opt to have a civil marriage ceremony overlooking the San Diego Bay in front of the San Diego County Administration Center at 1600 Pacific Highway. On the westside ...

False alarm brings out police ingenuity

Birds for security tape, Birds for homeless tents

On the morning of October 24, Sam saw a photo tweeted by John Gibbins from the U-T. The photo depicted two San Diego police officers propping up yellow police tape on two Bird motorized scooters ...

John Cox or Venezuela

Alpine Chamber gets $75K for Snow Festival, Christmas Parade, and honey event

Bombs away San Diego’s bigger-than-life public art world is in turmoil. A proposed million-dollar pair of oversized plastic straws designed in Los Angeles to grace the entrance of San Diego’s new toilet-to-tap water plant has ...

Free Ride Day – a few left behind

How many trolley riders will end up buying fares?

On Oct. 2, a Tuesday, everyone could board public transit and go all over the region – how about El Cajon to San Marcos and back? – for nothing; yes, no fare, no tickets, no ...

Fleet Week's celebration on Broadway Pier

Ship visits plus Notre Dame-Annapolis party

It was the water that brought them. Since the first forays of Europeans, San Diego’s natural harbor offered a strategic naval location. Silts carried by runoff and outflow from the inland mountains could not fill ...

The daughter who eats anchovies and huitlacoche

Well, it was the Westgate

It was time for a little father-daughter bonding and what better place than a drag show? Exactly! That’s why I had no problem when my daughter asked to go to Werq The World, featuring drag ...

Marriott strike – from both sides

San Diego film festival proceeds with sidelong glance

On October 13, as we neared The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, next door to Horton Plaza, the chants of the strikers in red shirts became louder. At the glass door entrances by the hotel ...

Downtown dog owners point fingers at homeless

14th and Market could use more waste bags

On October 6, I saw Emma walking her corgi and lab-hound mix dogs in front of the downtown Albertsons. As I approached her, her corgi defecated on the sidewalk; Emma was quick to pick up. ...

Oceanaire a chain, but with some local nuance

$55 seabass, $49 halibut

“Not all chain restaurants are the same,” my friend told me while biting into a crispy piece of calamari. “Some chains just go for the quick buck with mega-meals. Others want that fast casual meal ...

The fate of Ofo bikes in San Diego

Still serving in one form or another

On September 21, between 12 noon and 2 pm, I noticed over 75 yellow Ofo bikes around town; about half were still being used. “It’s a score,” Joey G. said, “if you find them unlocked, ...

Back to the brewpub life

A good hard day of making beer beats your desk job

Fifteen years ago, recent college grad Ignacio Cervantes moved to San Diego for what was supposed to be a six-month adventure living rent-free near the beach at a friend’s place around Del Mar. He didn’t ...

Uber glitch not paying drivers

Who will drive to Kaaboo?

A glitch within the Uber driver payment system is forcing San Diego drivers off the road, and riders are paying for it with higher charges. Uber drivers earn a commission on each drive that they ...

Fancy Hot Pockets?

What's worth savoring at Empanada Kitchen

I wanted my family to try something different, but it was a hot night and we wanted something casual. Knowing the family liked tacos, I thought empanadas might be a nice alternative, since they are ...

Why everybody's talkin bout tacos

A shiny new place for taco fiends and vegans

Even in this city, it’s rare for a taco shop to emerge as a city’s must-visit dining destination. Still only weeks removed from its first day in East Village, counter restaurant Lola 55 has proven ...

They spend thousands on Nike on Market Street

Not too much burning here

On September 5, Dante Rowley from Golden Hill posted an Instagram photo of the billboard that sits atop the Nike store in San Francisco. He captioned it: “How do you feel about the @kaepernick7 Nike ...

Spit at in Del Taco

Don't expect the cops to help with misdemeanors

On Friday (August 24) I had lunch at Del Taco on C and 11th downtown. I used the restroom and came out to see a tall middle-aged homeless man yelling at the restaurant’s security guard. ...

Ice creamery in summertime meltdown

Court scoops downtown's Cali Cream out the door

On June 22, a federal judge ordered a newly-opened ice cream shop in the Gaslamp to close down, citing a "high likelihood" that a venerable ice cream parlor chain based in Youngstown, Ohio, would otherwise ...

Underdressed at the donut shop

Nomad stakes out a fancy presence downtown

Whether its original location on 30th Street, or its larger, newer spot on University, North Park donut purveyor Nomad Donuts has not been one to fuss over design elements. When the latter took over what ...

Good morning, Ma'am. I'm your Uber driver today.

A San Diego guide to how it works

At no time previously did I ever have aspirations to have an Uber career. On the last Friday in March, Good Friday, I arrived at my corporate office shortly before 6 am. Friday is always ...

City leaders don’t mention “convention center”

In plea for convention center expansion vote

Local media are reporting this morning (August 9) that the initiative to raise the hotel tax to expand the convention center and purportedly fix the roads and help the homeless doesn’t have enough valid signatures ...

A cool patio on a hot day

Parkside property in East Village gets Amplified

When two-headed business Halcyon Coffee and Stella Public House launched in a new East Village construction in 2014, it created one of the best outdoor drinking spaces in all of downtown. Its perch overlooking Fault ...

Comic-con not great for Uber and Lyft drivers

L.A. drivers moved in on the territory

Ava Valentine averages $1200 a week driving for Uber and Lyft; Comic-Con last week might’ve slowed down her bankroll. “There was a lot of short fares downtown that took up a lot of time,” she ...

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader

Close