Little Italy Stories

"Let's have them do it in La Jolla next year...."

Rock 'n' Roll Marathon nay-sayers

“I didn’t miss church [because] I’m the choir director – so it’s essential that I get there,” said Nina Gilbert. Gilbert was one of the prepared ones for the detours and roadblocks brought about by ...

Seaweed burritos

Pokirrito is more an upscale sub shop than a sushi bar

Locals love both Mexican food and Asian cuisine, so why not combine them? That is the idea behind Pokirrito, a restaurant that gained a reputation for its sushi burritos. If you’re not a foodie purist ...

Is this the end of Harbor Music Hall?

“The street traffic is louder than our saxophone player."

San Diego jazz fans might be on the verge of losing another music venue now that Harbor Music Hall (1506 India Street) has been threatened with the potential loss of their beer-and-wine license due to ...

Eat here, live longer

The idea of fig, gruyere, and sweet onion gets me.

"Shiny beans,” says Dave. “Sure sign.” He’s talking coffee beans. And he should know. He’s managing this new coffee place-café here kitty-corner to the Firehouse museum at Cedar and Columbia in Little Italy. “Uh, sure ...

Get control of the spice at Aaharn Thai

Street nuts

Nuts make you talk. Nuts make you cry. I’m chewing Thai nuts while Phon, Cheri, Lynn, and I talk on about the king of Thailand. King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He died six months ago, but for ...

Service stands out at Herb & Wood

A dining spot for the special occasion

After one of the hype-iest openings in recent history, Herb & Wood remained for many months a place I was afraid to visit, lest it disappoint me the way a few other big-money, big-hype restaurants ...

Bob Lights

"Underhero" of the San Diego music scene asks for help and gets it

“It started as a joke,” says veteran rock jock Mike Halloran about the fundraising concert he’s spearheading for a fellow veteran of the local music scene. “I announced on Facebook that Chris Cantore, Steven Woods, ...

Bird Rock Coffee merges with Kansas company, Lofty Coffee opens in Little Italy

February's coffee news

Points of origin In early February, San Diego’s award-winning Bird Rock Coffee Roasters announced a merger with the Topeka, Kansas, business PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. While each brand will retain its own identity, PT’s cofounder ...

Italian gets interesting

Get your pasta on — with or without cheese

Over the past few years, I've happily jumped on the pork belly trend, the game meat trend, cured and smoked meats, bone marrow, and pretty much anything confit. Creative chefs embracing unusual cuts and oleogustus ...

Mexican food in Little Italy — why not?

Brunch at Bracero Cocina de Raíz is worth the drive from anywhere

I felt like checking out Little Italy on a sleepy Sunday morning in January, so I drove the distance from North County to meet my cousin for brunch at Bracero Cocina de Raíz, a restaurant ...

Saturday night in San Diego

The chance for local musicians to get TV face time just got better

Tonight in San Diego, a Tonight Show-type variety show that has appeared on various cable outlets over its two-year history, has just been picked up by CW6, which will air it Saturdays at 11 p.m. ...

New Zealand in Little Italy, Spain in the Gaslamp

Overseas outposts

Water. Adam’s Ale. Hobo cocktail. Sky juice. Call it whatever, it’s one of the few things around that’s still actually free. And — hey hey! — today, water made it possible for me to finagle ...

Not just a gas station under the flight path

Beer and wine sales will be opposed by Little Italy group

While 2499 Pacific Highway in the Little Italy neighborhood is currently an empty lot with a former car-rental office building, it could become a Valero service station. Civic San Diego has started the approval process ...

The Bar One sausage saps Ed's resistance

“That one is really good,” says Alex. “I like the spicy.”

We’re walking, walking — hold it! Swear this used to be a hair salon. But now we’re looking at a kind of Italian bar that spills out onto the sidewalk. I try to figure out ...

Sausage nostalgia in Little Italy

Bar One has to settle for “almost as good”

Two things I like as a mid-brow food writer: house-made sausages and wordplay. I found both at Little Italy’s recently opened pub, Bar One. The place is owned by real estate developer Jim Barone, you ...

A top chef opened a lunch counter

Some have waited for an elevated tuna melt for a lifetime

When Brian Malarkey opened Herb & Wood this summer, its wood-fired cuisine and killer ingredients instantly put it on the shortlist of restaurants I want to dine at on special occasions. But I can’t afford ...

All the hip foods in one place

And that place is Little Italy

If you were to chart the key terms used by San Diego food writers in 2016, top of the list would be ramen, poke, sushi burrito, and Little Italy. Enter Rakiraki. The ramen (and ramen ...

Everything but the kitchen sink from Stanley Clarke

Jazz-fusion bassist brings down the house at Music Box

Jazz-fusion bass man Stanley Clarke, fronting a well-oiled band that included a second bassist (Cameroonian Armand Sabal-Lecco), Ruslan Sirota and Lincoln Cleary on keyboards, and 21-year-old drum prodigy Mike Mitchell, delivered an incendiary set to ...

Cloudy, juicy, with a chance of bitterness

San Diego brewers craft Vermont's IPA style

West Coast IPAs famously established San Diego breweries as major players in the American — and eventually global — craft-beer scene. But lately another regional IPA style has emerged as the contemporary favorite. Some call ...

Demolition of historic Little Italy house likely

“Yes, sigh; anything ‘affordable’ you can waive almost anything.”

Architect/developer Jonathan Segal has applied to Civic San Diego to construct a 36-unit, 87-foot-tall, eight-story, all-studio apartment complex at a presumed historic site, at 320 W. Cedar Street in Little Italy. It would also include ...

Civic San Diego sued by Little Italy restaurant

Owners of Mexican restaurant claim inept handling of noise complaints

The owner of a Little Italy Mexican restaurant and lounge, Entrada Taqueria, says the city-owned and privately run nonprofit Civic San Diego cost him $2 million in damages by closing his restaurant down over noise ...

Like the real chitlin

“They’re pasta, not actual pork rinds,” Amy warns. But, three bucks, so I get them anyway.

It’s Winona! Winona Ryder! You would swear. Straight out of The Age of Innocence. Those eyes, that quizzical smile. Okay, Winona turns out to be Amy. She’s helping run the bar of this terrazza in ...

Staycation chronicles

Civico 1845 is good for vegetarians and carnivores alike

My in-laws took my kids to Florida for a week, so my wife and I decided to do a “staycation” of sorts by eating out every night while they were gone. Some restaurants we had ...

Buckethead — mad scientist of electric guitar

Worshippers wore buckets on their heads, played along on air guitars

Without a live band, Buckethead kept the packed Music Box of hardcore fans salivating over his axe handling. A souped-up guitar capable of making you breakfast and doing the dishes, buzzed, ripped, soared, and dominated ...

Fusion nostalgia with Al Di Meola

...and there's no better band leader to get you there

Jazz-rock guitarist Al Di Meola brought his Romantic Warrior Meets Elegant Gypsy Tour to the Music Box for a standing-room-only exercise in fusion nostalgia that leaned heavily on crowd favorites. Di Meola’s concept has always ...

From Europe to Elysium

Al Di Meola talks fusion music and its classical ties

From the streets of Jersey City came guitarist Al Di Meola, who toiled in the fusion group Return to Forever, at age 20, and eventually went solo, combining rock, jazz, classical, and electronic approaches. He ...

Sidewalk casualty vs. the City vs. Little Italy

Maintenance assessment district said not to have done its job

On May 24, city-council members will consider whether to end a yearlong legal fight over a broken sidewalk in Little Italy that caused a woman to fall and break both of her ankles. According to ...

O, sue me

O-Town pop star comes home to San Diego

A lot of musicians feel they have to leave San Diego in order to “make it.” Jacob Underwood felt he made it when he was able to move back. “I live in the Gaslamp, but ...

Resurrect the bird

The Crack Shack is all things chicken and egg

For decades, chicken has gotten a bad rap. Looked down upon by sophisticated palates, this lean and mild meat is routinely dismissed as the vodka of proteins. Growing up, all of the chicken that I ...

Glass Door fails to grab my gut

Wham and so-so

You know the theory: restaurants with great views rest on their location laurels.

Little Italy restaurant makes noise over Civic San Diego tactics

Red-line the audio!

Civic San Diego's handling of permitting and planning functions for downtown and neighboring communities is under fire in a new lawsuit from a Little Italy restaurant owner. The lawsuit is another challenge to the City ...

Entrada may be shown the salida if they can't keep noise down

Big noise in Little Italy

A Little Italy restaurant and club that had been keeping neighbors up at night with loud music will have to fight to stay open at a Civic San Diego hearing. On Wednesday (March 16), the ...

Steep Canyon Rangers minus Steve

Well-traveled bluegrass band on the road without "that dead weight"

Grammy-winning bluegrass group Steep Canyon Rangers played their first San Diego show March 9 — that is, their first without a certain actor-comedian. The Asheville, North Carolina–based band has appeared here several times backing up ...

Little Italy (n) - area of luxury high-rise apartments

California International Business University must move

The downtown construction pace continues unabated, and Little Italy is a good part of that development. Approved last May by Civic San Diego, the “520 W Ash” apartment project is moving ahead. While this will ...

Bikers can take a hike

Business districts resist giving up parking spaces for bicycle lanes

Little Italy's Business Improvement District prefers to preserve parking spaces rather than allocate street space for bike lanes through the heart of the district. In a February 23 letter to business owners and residents, Little ...

Iggy did it...

Europe remasters "The Final Countdown," starts the hard-rock clock all over again

Two years ago it may have seemed that Europe, the metal band that gave the world “The Final Countdown,” was down for the count. But a Geico car insurance ad has changed things in ways ...

Respect the donut maker!

Devil’s Dozen Donut Shop

It’s easy to mock the emergence of the hipster donut shop. Donuts seem easy to make: raise some dough, deep fry, and sweeten it with glaze. Adding breakfast cereal, fruit slices, cured meats, or some ...

Entrada makes an entrance

New Little Italy taquería gets by on good looks

The first things I noticed when I walked into Entrada weren’t the Muertos murals, sea-tortoise-green booths, or Talavera tile patterns adorning the north wall. It was the pair of 18-foot faux olive trees bracketing the ...

The $11 cup of coffee

Bird Rock gets Geisha

I’ve had good reason to visit Little Italy lately, with Beer Week events at Bottlecraft and the opening of Juniper and Ivy’s casual spinoff The Crack Shack. But most surprising turned out to be a ...

Scott Weiland of old winds up the Music Box

The Wildabouts frontman conjures Stone Temple Pilots...and Bowie

Scott Weiland was on fire tonight! His performance at the Music Box was energetic and loud. Yes, Scott Weiland has issues. Yes, Scott Weiland has bad shows, and yes, he has had bad luck in ...

Polite as F**k

Mayor's friends on both sides of escalating Little Italy eatery war

A battle over the fate of a new restaurant and night spot for Little Italy has taken a controversial new turn as two top friends and associates of Kevin Faulconer have been drawn into a ...

Good for the gander?

This time the shoes are on the feet of Michael Hansen

Even a staffer for Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, uber-champion of the big-money real estate industry, can turn out to be a NIMBY, the acronym for “not in my backyard” used derisively by the mayor’s wealthy ...

Trolley Dances brings site-specific dance from Waterfront to Balboa

More walking than riding, but the annual event is still worth it

After many years of ogling cool images of dancers performing in unexpected locations, and even spreading the word both in this magazine and on the radio, I finally got the chance to experience the San ...

Get thrown a bone and ball at Po Pazzo

No time to dither if you are going to snatch that happy hour sugo deal

“This rib of yours is the bone they cut the ribeye steak out of.”

Go-slow dough: Secret weapon?

Napizza’s yeast lives longer

One thing I like about Napizza is that they were serious about going green from the get-go. They claim to be the first pizzeria in San Diego certified by the Green Restaurant Association. They try ...

Wine, nuts, and ghosts in Little Italy

Snacks and vasos de vino at M Winehouse

Wine. Because no great story starts with a salad. This is what stops me. It’s a sign scrawled on a chalkboard outside a beautiful old Victorian cottage, huddling between three concrete buildings. It makes you ...

In the land of tango and empanadas

Chomp 'n' charge in the pampas, or Little Italy

"I tell you,” says Patrick Brown, “San Diego has the most competitive happy hour on the whole coast. And I’ve researched happy hours from Seattle to San Francisco to L.A. We have the best.” I’m ...

Feast! Little Italy-Old Town

Middletown's best restaurants

These days Little Italy offers some of the best food in town, or at least the most photographed. The neighborhood keeps serving up hits, almost eclipsing the tried-and-true eateries that sit between its shiny new ...

A juice smoothie takes on pizza

Thick nutrient sludge at Juice Crafters

I’ve been running into a lot of cold-press juice places lately, which can be tough on the wallet, because however tantalizing and often organic the craze is, a 16-ounce bottle of juice tends to cost ...

The Bolt that won't bolt on you

East County beer meets the waterfront in Little Italy

August 21st marked the opening of Little Italy's latest beer-tasting room, as La Mesa–based Bolt Brewery began serving beer at the corner of India and Grape streets, in what used to be the North End ...

iPad your iDessert

I wound up with a pistachio shell, chocolate cake, vanilla cream...

When I hear the words Little Italy and dessert, I think of gelato or tiramisu. After my first visit to iDessert, I don’t know what to think. The high-concept dessert spot is the brainchild of ...

Music Box winding up, Avalon on the horizon

Latest news on the San Diego nightclub scene

After being dark for two-and-a-half years, the Little Italy space formerly known as Anthology has been renamed the Music Box and crews are racing to have the remodeled restaurant/bar/music venue opened in time for the ...

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