Restaurant and Bar Guide 2016
The Restaurant and Bar Guide has been a staple of The Daily Aztec for many years. This year, we’ve decided to spice it up. Instead of the ‘typical’ guide we partnered with several San Diego restaurants to highlight some local hotspots.
Please note the following content is sponsored.
Primos Public Corner
By Cami Buckman
The soon to be open Primos Public Corner will put a new spin on how people enjoy Mexican cuisine.
The Mission Valley Primos location is not yet open, but it will be available to the public on Friday, Nov. 4. Throughout Southern California, there are 20 locations of the popular Primos Mexican Food and Cantina to-go restaurants. However, this new establishment will provide a more casual, sit down experience for customers.
"The design and look is a very industrial, Mexican look," Chief Marketing Officer James Quijano said.
The new Primos casual dining concept will take authentic Mexican recipes and combine them with the San Diego community. The 5,000 square foot newly renovated restaurant will feature a full bar and sit down menu. The place is set to feature large television screens for displaying the latest sports broadcasts.
"The overall look of the restaurant is very cool, and people are going to be blown away," Quijano said.
While the visual appeal of Primos is fresh, the menu is as equally appealing. Unlike most restaurants, Primos uses New York cut steak for their tacos and burritos.
"I don’t believe anyone is doing this in San Diego," Quijano said.
Not only will Primos offer quality Mexican food, but there will also be a creative spin at the bar with their selection of craft brews. Primos provides a wide variety of hand-made craft beers from Baja California.
Chief Operations Officer and San Diego State alumni Esteban Arroyo, noticed that many of the craft beers served in San Diego are from San Diego.
"I have never seen craft beers in San Diego from Baja California before," Arroyo said. "I think a lot of people will be turned on to these craft brews."
The process of creating and developing Primos has been an exciting experience for both Quijano and Arroyo.
"I really enjoy the freedom and creativity we’re aloud to have at Primos," Arroyo said.
Primos is staffed with friendly employees eager to open its doors to the public Nov. 4. With the wide selection of craft cocktails, variety of sports and close location, Primos Public Corner is sure to delight any SDSU student or faculty member.
"I think the look and the ambience of Primos will have something for everyone," Arroyo said.
Primos Public Corner is located at 2401 Fenton Parkway, San Diego. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight every day. Phone 619-684-5777. For more information visit www.primospc.com
Dirty Birds Bar and Grill
By Nicole Sazegar
Voted Best Wings in San Diego by San Diego CityBeat every year since 2012, Dirty Birds Bar and Grill is a sports bar that focuses on sports, wings and beer.
With 37 different sauces, a majority of which are homemade, Dirty Birds offers a variety of flavor profiles for their wings.
“The whole process for cooking them: it’s unique, it’s different than anywhere else you’re going to go,” General Manager PJ Cagnina said. “The wings are a little bit crispier.”
Dirty Birds, has been open for 8 years and the College Area location is coming up on its 1-year anniversary in November.
Dirty Birds is also located in Pacific Beach, with a third location to open in Liberty Station.
With 24 beers on tap, 37 different selections of wings, pizzas, salads, sandwiches, burgers and sliders, this bar offers daily specials and happy hour specials that cut their already cheap prices in half.
Dirty Birds offers half price wings and select pitchers during happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.
They offer $13.99 all you can eat wings 6 p.m. to close on Mondays, Tuesday is all day happy hour, Wednesday is half price pizza and select pitchers, Thursday is $4 draft beers, Friday is $3 wells and domestic pints and weekends are $15 domestic beer buckets, $12 champagne bottles, $3 mimosas and $5 SVEDKA drinks.
Cagnina believes that word of mouth always brings new customers into the bar.
“We’ve got a great rapport with the city,” Cagnina said. “People know our brand. It’s been consistent, and they’ve learned to check us out if they haven’t before.”
SDSU alumnus Cagnina enjoys the fast paced, high-energy environment of Dirty Birds and hopes to stay with the company for a long time.
“We put together an awesome staff here, so I enjoy coming to work, which is kind of rare when people say that, but I thoroughly enjoy it,” Cagnina said.
Marshall Faulk, a hall of fame running back from San Diego State is an investor and owner of Dirty Birds, so this bar stays SDSU oriented.
“It’s kind of cool to be that close to San Diego State and have Marshall be part of the company,” Cagnina said. “It’s a good vibe in here: good music, lots of TVs for sports and we’re all about San Diego.”
Dirty Birds Bar and Grill is located at 6499 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego.
Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Phone: 619-265-2086.
Dirty Birds is open to all ages. For more information regarding menu and drink items please visit their website at www.dirtybirdsbarandgrill.com
Pesto Italian Craft Kitchen
By Julianna Ress
Pesto Italian Craft Kitchen prides itself on making the healthiest Italian dishes possible, without ever compromising quality.
Creating delicious Italian food runs in the veins of owner and chef Alexander Massire, as his Sicilian family has a lengthy history in the restaurant business. He worked in his family’s pizzeria throughout his childhood, but eventually started working with a more seasoned chef in a proper, sit-down restaurant environment.
He learned more advanced cooking techniques, and by age 19 he was managing a restaurant.
"One day I woke up and said, ‘If I’m this good at (managing a restaurant), I want to open my own. I want to give it a shot,’" Massire said.
After opening several pizzerias on the East Coast, Massire decided to move to San Diego and opened Pesto this past April, a restaurant which reflected his changing eating habits.
"I wanted to change my lifestyle," he said. "I wanted all my products to be organic and clean. I (didn’t) care if Italians (didn’t) do it. I (was) going to do it."
Massire decided to name the restaurant ‘Pesto’ due to the green color of pesto sauce and the fact that it is a healthy, organic sauce.
Pesto still takes from authentic Italian recipes, but the menu is well rounded and adds a healthy spin, incorporating quinoa and gluten-free options.
"We’re the first Italian, organic, healthy place and we actually are good as far as we know what we’re doing," Massire said. "We’re highest quality you can possibly find in anything that we do, from our coconut tea all the way to our linguine."
One of the most popular items on the menu is the Italian Chop salad, containing romaine lettuce, chicken breast, pesto, tomato, avocado, cucumber, olive mix, carrot, provolone and lemon.
Another popular dish is the Pestofredo, which is linguine topped with chicken breast, broccoli and a mixture of pesto and alfredo sauce.
In addition to creating, the best, healthiest Italian cuisine possible, the Pesto staff also aims to make personal connections to all customers.
"We know (our customers’) names, and they know our names. They’re like family to us," Massire said. "We’re not just here for the buck, we’re here to give service and make a lot of friends at the same time."
Pesto Italian Craft Kitchen is located at 6011 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. More information can be found on their website www.pestocraft.com
McGregor’s Grill and Ale House
By Nicole Sazegar
McGregor’s Grill & Ale House is a friendly neighborhood saloon with fresh ingredients and friendly customer service.
McGregor’s opened 20 years ago when managing partner Ian Linekin’s friend asked him for help opening the place. Linekin’s duty while opening the restaurant was putting together the menu.
Linekin started in the restaurant business when he was 15-years-old when he first started working at the Old Ocean Beach Café, and then started working at the Brigantine until he helped open McGregor’s. While working at the Brigantine, he made thousands of their beloved, famous fish tacos, so he tweaked their famous recipe and brought them to McGregor’s.
"Our fish tacos are the bomb," Linekin said. "I think (our fish tacos) are better than (Brigantine’s). I know they’re better."
Linekin’s inspiration for the menu came from the idea of "keeping things simple, keeping things fresh and offering enough of a variety without getting crazy."
McGregor’s offers Baja fish, grilled mahi, chicken quesadilla, carnitas and grilled shrimp tacos as well as burgers, nachos, salads, soups and wings. This bar only offers housemade salad dressings and soup. They also offer 14 beers on tap as well as 20 different types of bottled beer.
McGregor’s presents simple dishes with fresh ingredients.
"We’re a bar, and we don’t have to serve food but we do and we do a great job," Linekin said. "We take a lot of pride in it."
Linekin also makes sure to hire friendly people to ensure a fun environment and exceptional customer service.
"You can have a bar or restaurant, and you can serve a drink but unless the people you’re interacting with who are serving you make a connection, it’s not always a real experience."
Linekin hopes his bar’s customer service enhances the customer’s experience.
Meeting the different types of people McGregor’s welcoming environment attracts is the reason why Linekin loves his job.
"I like the fact that everyday is always a little bit different," Linekin said. "You know what to expect to a certain degree, but there’s always that certain element."
With 27 TVs and multiple pool tables, McGregror’s offers new customers and San Diego State students and staff a place to watch sporting events and have fun.
McGregor’s Grill & Ale House is located at 10475 San Diego Mission Rd., San Diego. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. all week. Phone: (619) 282-9797. For more information, please visit www.mcgregorssandiego.com
By Julianna Ress
Slater’s 50/50 is known for its outrageous burgers, but the menu as a whole is just as impressive as its most signature dishes.
Slater’s 50/50 currently has six locations, all in Southern California, the first of which opened in 2009. The San Diego location has been open since November 2011.
Other locations include: Anaheim Hills, Huntington Beach, Pasadena, Rancho Cucumonga and San Marcos.
Jeff Hall, general manager of the San Diego location, has worked in food service since he was 16, and his passion for bartending, serving high quality food and working with people led him to Slater’s 50/50.
One of Slater’s 50/50’s mission statements is, "Be authentic in everything that you do." Thus, it is known for continuously pushing the envelope in creating new dishes and improving upon it’s current ones.
"There’s always some unique new challenge," Hall said. "My favorite things to do are the ones we don’t have to do."
Hall describes Slater’s 50/50’s burgers as uniquely over-the-top.
Perhaps the most well-known item on the menu is the signature 50/50 patty, which is made up of 50 percent beef and 50 percent bacon. The patty is served on a number of the burgers on the menu.
Additionally, 50/50 furters were recently added to the menu. The furters are all natural meat hot dogs stuffed with bacon inside, and wrapped with bacon on the outside.
A number of burgers from the Slater’s 50/50 menu have been featured on various Food Network programs over the years, which helped increase the restaurant’s popularity.
"Since then, we’ve been able to cultivate a nationwide name of a place that people come and make a destination," Hall said.
People tend to associate Slater’s 50/50 with burgers, but everything on the menu is created with the same amount of thought and effort.
"Anything we do we’re going to do it great," Hall said. "If we’re going to put it on (the menu) we’re going to do it right."
Despite the burgers’ fame, salads, chicken sandwiches, craft beers and milkshakes are all big selling items as well, and are met with tremendous praise.
While the food remains a main priority, Hall credits the atmosphere of Slater’s 50/50 for its popularity.
"I always say that our hospitality caused our success more than our food has," he said.
Slater’s 50/50 is located at 2750 Dewey Rd., San Diego. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays.
More information can be found on their website www.slaters5050.com
Miss B’s Coconut Club
By Cami Buckman
Miss B’s Coconut Club is the spot where old school tiki flare and San Diego charm mix together to become one awesome destination.
Located in the heart of north Mission Beach, Miss B’s Coconut club opened in April 2016. This vibrant establishment can be described as an American kitchen with a touch of Caribbean spark.
"There’s nothing else around in San Diego like it," General Manager Natasha Ross said.
Miss B’s Coconut Club was the first project Ross was able to build from conception. She is proud to look around the restaurant and know she had a large part in creating it.
As a San Diego State alumni, Ross said college students will love the atmosphere of Miss B’s Coconut Club.
"It’s a good place to take a little study break," Ross said.
While the tiki atmosphere is memorable, the drinks served at Miss B’s Coconut Club are nothing shy of Instagram worthy.
Miss B’s Coconut Club fuses old school tiki cocktails with their own creative twist to create over the top, deliciously decorated drinks.
With the large tiki-inspired punches and bowls, sharing with friends is welcomed.
"Our drinks are like a vacation in a glass," Ross said.
Miss B’s Coconut Club also offers the best craft beers, with 20 local and microbrew tap handles.
To compliment these beers and cocktails, Miss B’s Coconut Club features a plethora of unique menu items. Popular options include meals like the one-of-a- kind jerk chicken and waffles, or the flavorful curry coconut chicken.
This establishment offers great deals for customers on a budget. Happy hour features specialty priced beer and cocktails served Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday nights at Miss B’s Coconut club feature $1 freshly shucked oysters.
Miss B’s Coconut Club welcomes all parties, large and small. This restaurant hosts many personalized events for groups and displays the latest sport showings.
"We’re definitely a fun spot to hang out at," Ross said.
Miss B’s Coconut Club is the place to go for a freeing and fun time. Customers will be transported to a vintage style tiki hang out spot, without the hassle of flying to the Caribbean.
Miss B’s Coconut Club is located at 3704 Mission Blvd, San Diego. Hours are 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. every day. Brunch is served daily until 2 p.m. Large reservations are accepted. Phone 858-381-0857. For more information, visit www.missbcoconutclub.com