If you’re a foodie who loves a good excuse to dine out, you’ll want to mark your calendar for Monday, March 12. That night several downtown restaurants will be offering $5 dishes as part of Encinitas Grub Sprawl — an event that encourages people to stroll from one eatery to the next, sampling food as they go.
The Grub Sprawl concept is similar to the and only this series travels to a new community just about every month or so. Since launching last year, the Grub Sprawl has worked its way through North Park, Coronado, La Jolla, Hillcrest, Little Italy, and East Village. Next week, the popular series will make its North County debut here in Encinitas.
“I think it really speaks to the fact that our community has become a vibrant dining scene, and shows that even people outside of Encinitas are really starting to look at us differently,” said Eric Leitstein, an Encinitas resident and owner of Union Kitchen & Tap, one of the participating restaurants. “It’s also an opportunity to get a deal on good food, whether that’s at one of your longtime favorites or a new place you’ve never been. I also think it’s fantastic that several local restaurants partnered for this, and we’re happy to be a part of it.”
If your curiosity and appetite are piqued, here’s how you can participate: On Monday, March 12, swing by Union Kitchen & Tap or Vigilucci’s Trattoria Italiana any time after 5:45 p.m. to pick up a free Encinitas Grub Sprawl wristband. Once you get that free wristband, you’re eligible for the $5 dinning deals at all of the participating restaurants, which will run from 6 to 10 p.m.
At the bottom of this story, you can find a complete list of all the participating restaurants, and the $5 specials they’ll be offering that night. Those $5 dishes are sample size, but because there’s a lot being offered, you’ll still want to pace yourself. Diners are also free to work their way down the list of restaurants in any order they’d like.
Grub Sprawl events have also been slated for Old Town in July, Del Mar in September, and Kensington in October. For more information about Grub Sprawl, you can visit
Want to get your Encinitas Grub Sprawl on? Here’s a rundown of where (and what) to chow-down:
- Shrimp and Grits: Andouille, roasted tomato, and cheese grits
- Cappellacci di Zucca: homemade hat shaped pastas filled with butternut squash, walnuts, ricotta and Parmigiano, all finished with brown butter, sage and a touch of marinara
- Polpette: a 100% prime beef meatballs braised in Vigilucci's tomato sauce
(Note: there will also be $5 desserts and a ‘prosecco sprawler’ available on the night of the event)
, 967 S. Coast Highway
- Spinach Salad: cucumber, tomato, and bacon, topped with sliced avocado and wasabi dressing
- Famous Pulled Pork Slider: Hawaiian bun with sweet potato fries and taster of Alesmith Nautical Nut Brown Ale
, 947 S, Coast Highway
- Monaco Panini: ciabatta with grilled chicken breast, pesto, mozzarella, lettuce and tomato
- Pasta Provencal: penne tossed with marinara sauce and ratatouille and topped with Parmesan cheese
(Note: there will also be $5 mini desserts available the night of the event)
- Lobster Mac and Cheese: penne pasta mixed with fresh house-made mozzarella and lobster in a brandy cream sauce, topped with bread crumbs and bake to perfection
- Pear Gorgonzola Pizza: a 7" pizza topped with candied walnuts, caramelized onions, dates, sliced pears, blue cheese crumbles, and mozzarella, drizzled with garlic basil oil, baked and topped with fresh arugula
- Ravioli al Erbette: ricotta and Swiss chard ravioli topped with chopped tomato sauce and parmigiano cheese
- Gnocchi Bianchi e Verdi: homemade, authentic Italian gnocchi made with spinach, ricotta cheese, & freshly grated parmesan cheese