North Park Stories

Empanada Kitchen bakes hand pies on the Boulevard

A farmers market vendor adds empanada restaurant number two

Pierogi, sambusa, calzone, pupusa: the world has come up with a lot of cool sounding words to describe what the English would call a pasty, and what we here in America might rather mundanely call ...

Belgian Beer and Waffles (and fries)

Sweet, savory, vegan, gluten-free, and twice fried

As I approach what used to be a Starbucks on University Avenue, a corner unit of the historic North Park Theatre building, a sign written in large letters announces a welcome change: it’s now a ...

The Friendly gets friendlier

Cult burger spot stretches out into second North Park location

It’s not even two years since The Friendly dusted off an old pizza joint in North Park and started smashing patties for a legion of raving burger fans, but it feels like a lifetime when ...

Beachy Boho from Target, Marshalls, Forever 21

“Floral, beachy, casual look — and stylish.”

My weekends have become a series of food-driven escapades. As such, I spent a recent October Saturday with friends indulging in local cuisine during Taste of North Park. While sampling at one of the stops ...

Siamo Napoli embraces its Italian identity

Neapolitan pizza is only part of the coastal town’s cuisine

We are Naples. That’s what the name means of San Diego’s latest Italian restaurant operated by people from Italy, means. Siamo Napoli recently picked up where Il Postino left off in a large North Park ...

The Louisiana Purchase

Slick short-term rentals in North Park

The Louisiana is a mixed-use complex on the corner of Louisiana Street and University Avenue in North Park. There is a hip restaurant (Louisiana Purchase) on the bottom level that, according to its website, “was ...

Spiders and spider fear up in San Diego

The amount of rain in San Diego means they have more to eat

North Park and North Escondido dwellers have recently reported of “more” spiders crawling around their homes. Natelle Bracken lives in North Park closer to the 805 freeway. In 2019, she has seen seven black and ...

North Park storefronts take on Faulconer and Ward

But boycott threat by pro-bike lane customers gets the posters down

It’s tough to believe at this point, but North and South Park made it through about four months of 2019 before terms such as floating parking, sharrows, bollards, and NIMBY entered their daily lexicon. The ...

The Modern Vegan succeeds with classic meat dishes

A place for plant eaters who don’t want to sacrifice meaty textures and flavors

A hunk of thickly breaded, fried chicken sitting atop a pile of mashed potatoes, all smothered in gravy. A Rueben of marbled rye bread loaded with corned beef, melted cheese, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing. ...

San Diego rat tales

In spite of DeMaio report, it doesn't seem to be our homeless

A few weeks ago, I was startled to find an unwelcome visitor climbing up a wall inside our North Park garage—a rat. My wife and I had dealt with mice at our last house (also ...

The Original 40 raises the brewpub game

In 2019 breweries don’t just pour beer; they create a hospitality experience

Sales, production, and the proliferation of satellite tasting rooms may be on the rise in San Diego, but at least one aspect of the local brewery industry has slowed down considerably: new brewery openings. We’re ...

Ward-Faulconer parking plan to Adams Ave. and Mid City groups: drop dead

After several years of hard work developing bike lane plans, Normal Heights business groups and the city parking district were stunned when City Councilman Chris Ward – and then the mayor- launched their own plan ...

Going off the sajj at Mama's Bakery & Deli

No longer missing out on Manaeesh (Zatar)

For over thirty years, Mama's Bakery & Deli has been dishing up Lebanese food just off El Cajon Boulevard in North Park, and I’ve been ordering chicken shawarma there nearly half that time. However, it ...

Going beyond bratwurst at Veg'n Out

Vegan market stand grills sausages without any of the animal byproduct

The term meatless has got to be one of the biggest words of 2019. Every other time I check a news feed, or turn on the radio, there’s more news about the rise of meatless ...

Half a sandwich looks good at Son of a Toast

Cold brew cocktails and photogenic bread creations

If you’re going to like Son of a Toast, first you’ve got to appreciate the concept of toast. It’s the same thing we used to call an open faced sandwich, except, explicitly, the bread in ...

Mike Hess Brewing shaves heads

For pediatric cancer research

Over Memorial Day weekend, dozens of people gathered at North Park’s Mike Hess Brewing Company to shave their heads bald. And in doing so they raised over 60 thousand dollars for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a ...

They sell edible puppies at Q Cute Buns

Haunting realism makes it tough to eat this chocolate mousse

“That puppy is too cute, I just want to eat it up!” We’ve all heard someone say this and never taken them seriously. And then somebody went and made puppy-shaped mousse a thing. I found ...

Heart & Trotter has a new toy

A pastrami fix whets the appetite for a summer of grilled meat galore

It had been too long since I’d come around to visit my favorite neighborhood butcher shop, North Park’s Heart & Trotter. In addition to the whole animal cuts and house-made sausages found in their butcher ...

Get a Taste of Poland wherever you can

Stuffed cabbage tastes way more exciting than it sounds

While cruising North Park’s Festival of Arts last weekend, I was surprised and happy to stumble upon a vendor serving authentic Polish food. To my knowledge, no dedicated Polish restaurants currently operate in San Diego; ...

North Park and South Park – say goodbye to 30th Street as it is

Plans to delete parking in favor of bike lanes

The main roadway connecting North and South Park may be on the eve of a massive transformation. Councilmember Chris Ward is spearheading an ambitious plan to improve the bikeways on 30th Street that run from ...

Craft brew spot goes Anthem Vegan

Plant-based bar menu replaces meat where beer fans eat

Sausage. Steak. Burgers. Those are the kinds of meals beer fans have grown accustomed to eating at craft beer bar Toronado over the past decade or so. But times have changed. When I bellied up ...

A flight of vodka at 619 Spirits

Local craft spirits have a home at North Park’s first urban distillery

If you walk into 619 Spirits without knowing better, it’s easy to mistake the place with any other North Park bar and restaurant. A kitchen turns out dishes including wings, loaded fries, burgers, and wraps. ...

Pig changes at Porchetta Shack

North Park's Snack Shack rebrands with a new pork obsession

The first food story I ever wrote in San Diego covered then newly opened hole in the wall Carnitas Snack Shack. That’s hole in the wall in the original sense: just a window facing the ...

Who's sleeping on the Orange Avenue bridge over 805?

Not a problem on Adams Ave. overpass

On April 5, motorists traveling southbound on the 805 prior to exiting on El Cajon Boulevard were greeted by a Caltrans changeable message sign that reads “FEELING DROWSY? EXIT AND REST.” Some drivers may have ...

New North Park Target starts debate on grab-and-dashes

The Ralph's approach vs. Costco's

Joan LaRose has been to the new Target store in North Park three times since it opened on March 12. She and her neighbors "love" the convenience of having a 35,200 sq./ft. "small-format" Target nearby; ...

Just caveman desserts for Paleo Treats

Cakes and chocolates taste better than canned jokes

It’s just too easy to make fun of the paleo diet, otherwise known as the paleolithic diet or the stone age diet. Blame whoever started calling it the caveman diet for the jokes. The term ...

North Park locals patrol the neighborhood

“It’s a freak show out there”

The last time there was a seemingly life threatening conflict behind Claudia’s Spanish Revival home in North Park, she didn’t swipe her smartphone to dial 911 — instead, she pumped her 12-gauge shotgun. “Expecting the ...

Late night visits to The Nood Bar

Pan Asian counter offers soups, stir fries, and every type of noodle

I like a good pun almost as much as a good bowlful of noodles, so when The Nood Bar opened in North Park a couple months back, I grabbed a stack of one dollar bills ...

Poetry on the menu at Medina

North African meets Baja at new North Park bar and restaurant

The poet Ezra Pound coined the word melopoiea as a way to describe how verses or even individual words may charged with musical properties, bringing their own sense of rhythm and melody to spoken language. ...

The lively last days of Peking Restaurant

A final visit for chop suey and egg foo yung

It doesn’t look like a restaurant that’s about to close. Four parties have shown up at once during lunch rush, and the staff hustles to turn over red leather booths as they become available. But ...

619 Spirits uses local spirits including own vodka brand

North Park's first urban distillery

Has there been a better time to be a boozehound in San Diego? As the craft beer scene has matured, some locals are branching out into other liquor areas and creating an intoxicating distillery scene ...

North Park garage art delayed – but on its way

Kris Moore and Don Masse art to go up at 29th and University

The art competition launched last year to add new murals to the North Park parking garage had a stated installation of Fall 2018. Obviously that did not happen. The fading original artworks by artist Blair ...

The value of prime tacos

Baja inspired eatery makes a case for better Mexican food

The value of Mexican food in San Diego keeps rising. I don’t mean the cost, because the costs at all our restaurants have been going up alongside property values, energy costs, and minimum wage hikes ...

Shyrehl Wesley leaves best friend's body on Twin Oaks Valley Rd.

Why do good girls love bad boys?

“I attracted a lot of women, yes,” Shyrehl Wesley testified in October of 2018. “I do believe that men are the dominant ones in a relationship with a woman.” Wesley turned in the witness box ...

What the heck is a lichtenhainer?

How a San Diego dentist’s historical German beer became an American medal winner

There’s nothing easier to find in North Park than a good IPA. But a good lichtenhainer? Only one place that I know about. So, what’s a lichtenhainer? I wondered too. The unsurprising answer would be ...

Photogenic, but still comfortable

North Park's new coffee shop has it both ways

In the food item as bowl domain, few have impressed me so much as the caramel apple dessert offered by the new North Park coffee shop, Deja Brew Lounge. Situated in a converted craftsman bungalow ...

Solace for breakfast

A North Park restaurant changes its weekday game

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 ...

The world’s first hard kombucha bar

The flavor possibilities are infinite

They call this North Park tasting room the “world’s first hard kombucha bar.” Not hard to believe given high alcohol kombucha didn’t really exist prior to spring 2016. That’s when Chula Vista-based Boochcraft took kombucha, ...

What's the market price on that fish?

Grilled local beats fried anything, despite the cost

I should have been ordering the local catch all along. When North Park’s Beerfish first opened a couple years ago, I went for the fish and chips. They were all right. After it retooled a ...

Smells bad on 30th and University

New lessees watch and wait

Some empty businesses in North Park squat for years, while homeless park outside on the sidewalk. Two particular storefronts have had a rough time lately finding lessees. One is the former Discount International Fashions on ...

$500 apartment in North Park? – dream on

Craigslist scams grow like Topsy

As North Park property values increase to an all-time high, so have scams on renters. “My husband and I had already rented this [North Park] unit in May,” Kersu Dalal said on November 15, “and ...

North Park tear-downs push infill

Developers cranking out pricey apartments

Developers can’t seem to acquire building sites in North Park fast enough. Vacant lots are rare, so old structures have to come tumbling down. The latest case in point: The Progressive Health Services building, a ...

Behind the $15 lunch

North Park's Encontro serves steak from Cardiff

I’ve gotten used to paying 15 dollars for lunch. I remember days that would seem outlandish, but these days I’m unfazed by $15, when that charge includes tax and tip. That’s usually for a sandwich ...

Not that firm

Big-box mattress companies wobble

Some San Diego area stores owned by Mattress Firm, Inc. may be closed as part of the recently announced Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by the company, which is owned by Steinhoff International Holdings, a South ...

The most flavor for your buck

All-you-can-eat East African food

Flavors of East Africa was already known to sambusa-loving farmers market regulars when it opened a permanent restaurant on El Cajon Boulevard about eight years back. Since that time, it’s moved a couple doors down ...

Meatball sliders, hold the meat

New menu items and a bottle of soda

Nearly six years ago, I paid my first visit to the original, Adams Avenue, location of meatball-centric eatery, Soda & Swine. I ordered a couple of meatball sliders, with sides of brussels sprouts and mac’n’cheese. ...

When one door closes, another opens

North Park businesses come in and go out

In North Park the views never cease to change, and in a drastic way. Old businesses that are way past their prime continue to hang in there. Failed restaurants turn into something totally different. Closed-down ...

America has guns

SDSU exchange student robbed

On August 15 at about 3 p.m., Thomas, a San Diego State University exchange student was robbed for $60 on 30th Street in North Park. “I’m feeling okay now,” he said, “I decided I wasn’t ...

This week keeps on rolling

A North Park rolled taco specialist with family roots

It seems like just yesterday I was writing about a new hand roll-only sushi bar, and finding a way to compare its seaweed wrapped fish and vegetables to tacos. But here I am, today, stumbling ...

7-Eleven store in North Park shuts down suddenly

Hard to make it as franchise owner

A 7-Eleven store closed its doors around the end of July, and is now boarded up. It was located on University Avenue at Herman Avenue in North Park, across the street from CVS Pharmacy. Before ...

Drink 'em while we've got 'em

A pair of beloved local breweries to sell last beers this summer

Every time the San Diego brewery count starts to creep toward the 160 mark, word breaks that another local brewery or two are closing. Sure enough, even as a handful of new beer companies have ...

Sorry, done with your murals

North Park parking garage call for entries — or maybe not

While the San Diego Redevelopment Agency existed, it wanted original artworks installed at the new North Park parking garage. Longtime artist and North Park resident Blair Thornley responded to submission requests from North Park Main ...

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