Are you hungry? You will be after reading our roundup of local restaurant news. Dig into the latest on our new açaí café, the transformation taking place at the old When in Rome and much more.
About 11 years ago, Sambazon sold its first case of its açaí berry juice products in Cardiff. So when the time came to launch the Sambazon Açaí Café, it was only natural to come full circle. Last week, the San Clemente-based company opened the café in the former Red Mango spot in the Seaside Market center. The eco-friendly design, created with sustainable reclaimed materials, matches up with the organic, fair-trade açaí berries that are a staple of the café’s bowls.
“People [in Cardiff] not only know what açaí is, they can tell you how they make it themselves,” says manager Johnny Castanha. The café offers a selection of smoothies and hot drinks as well as the açaí bowls, which customers can order off the menu (two of the most popular bowls are named after Sambazon team members Rob Machado and Bob Burnquist) or use to create their own blends.
Comfortable seating and free Wi-Fi encourage customers to linger while they polish off their food and drink, but even then you don’t have to leave empty-handed—buy one of the açaí-seed bracelets in the display case and the proceeds are plowed back into Amazon rainforest management.
Sambazon Açaí Café is located at 2031 San Elijo Ave. in Cardiff. For more information, call 760-230-2380 or visit sambazon.com or facebook.com/sambazon.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the replacement for When in Rome. But about a year’s worth of labor will yield Union Kitchen and Tap, which is slated to open at the end of April. (Editor's note: In an initial , the restaurant was called 101 Ale House. The name has been changed to Union.)
While owner Eric Leitstein also owns Pacific Beach Ale House, Union is its own concept, says spokesman Justin Brown. The name of the downtown Encinitas eatery is meant to convey strong connections with the hard-working, craftsmanship ethos of America.
Brown says the theme is “coastal new American,” with food sophisticated enough for discriminating diners in a casual setting and prices that are meant to encourage customers to visit often. The décor includes tables custom-made by local artisans and reclaimed barn siding. The food is overseen by chef Jason Gethin, who has worked at The Prado, among others—he’s also cooked in the South and Brown says the menu, still in development, will reflect the influences of that region.
One thing Union does share with PB Ale House is an emphasis on craft beer. According to Brown, there will be 16 to 20 beers on tap, plus more available by the bottle. In addition, Union will also serve artisan wine and spirits; expect a bevy of special dinners and other events to showcase them. The 5,500-square-foot restaurant will open the patio section at a later date.
Union Kitchen and Tap is located at 1108 First St. in Encinitas. For more information, call 760-323-BEER or visit localunion101.com.
Sushi aficionados will have a new spot to check out starting April 1, when HapiFish opens on the 101. Billed as a beach bar and restaurant, HapiFish also has a sushi room with a bar and two private tables. A private chef will create sushi rolls tableside and talk with patrons to help customize their order, says Jaclyn Spitz, marketing coordinator for HapiFish.
The restaurant also offers a daily happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. Takeout is available, and breakfast will be added about a month after opening.
HapiFish is located at 190 N. Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas. For more information, call 760-452-7245 or visit hapifish.com, facebook.com/HapiFishSD, or twitter.com/hapifishSD.
With spring on the way—and neighboring Pacific Station springing to life—it’s an ideal time for to expand its service. Starting this weekend, the restaurant will now be serving lunch, eventually rolling it out to every day of the week. And in early April, look for the new patio section to open as well.
Barracuda Grill is located at 641 S. Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas. For more information, call 760-230-1464 or visit barracudagrillrestaurant.com.
And speaking of Pacific Station, the long-awaited Whole Foods Market won’t be opening until its June target date, but you can get a taste of what will be in store at an inaugural cookout March 19. Whole Foods is providing all the fixings for the barbecue, including burgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, beer and wine. The free event, which also includes music and a raffle, takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. in the live/work complex’s community courtyard.
Pacific Station is located at 687 S. Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas. For more information, call 760-633-1476 or visit pacificstation.net.