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The Coast News

News and observations on the North County dining scene

David Boylan

Calypso owner Gilles Knafo is now sourcing local ingredients
Calypso owner Gilles Knafo is now sourcing local ingredients. Photo by David Boylan

New restaurants and food events are happening and showing no signs of slowing down in North County. I will get right into it with the soon to reopen Pacific Coast Grill at its Cardiff oceanfront location announcing their final culinary lineup of Executive Chef Israel “Izzy” Balderas, Sous Chef Jorge Benitez and newcomer Chef Mark Ridener. I’ve been told to expect the new PCG location to be opening in late May.

Firefly Grill & Wine bar is excited to introduce their new chef, Justin Braly. Justin is an International Culinary School at the Art Institute of San Diego graduate who has cut his chops at Fresh, Blackhorse Grille, West Steak and Seafood, Bistro West, Nico’s Steak and Chophouse, and most recently at Café Chloe. An impressive resume and the fact that Jason spent time at Café Chloe, one of my favorite restaurants anywhere, is good news for North County diners.

I was very bummed out to hear that Savory, which was forerunner of the Encinitas dining explosion will be closing shortly after Mother’s Day after a wonderful 8 year run. Owner, Pascal Vignau will be moving to Chandler’s Restaurant in the soon-to-open Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa. Savory will then be transformed into The Craftsman New American Tavern, Wade and Kristi Hageman’s new venture. If you are not familiar with the names, they are the couple behind the wildly successful Blue Ribbon in Encinitas which will continue on. Their second restaurant will take them to the other side of the 5 and is slated to open this summer in late June or early July. The theme will be "Hand Crafted Comfort"; Wade’s take on comfort food with an emphasis on house made sausage, charcuterie, artisan cheese and his same farm to table approach that utilizes local farmers. They will have local craft beer on 16 Taps, along with local, organic sustainable wines, and classic/vintage cocktails. Prices will be moderate and they will have a daily happy hour. The new layout is expected to seat around 100. With the arrival of the new chef at Firefly Grill & Wine Bar across the parking lot, this shopping center will continue to be a dining destination.

Calypso Café has recently opened their doors for lunch and will offer it every day but Monday. They have also introduced a new menu that will feature fresh, local, organic ingredients along with gluten free and vegetarian options. But don’t worry, all your favorites from the Calypso menu will still be available. A canopy is being added to the patio dining area and owner Gilles Knafo is working with Stellar Solar to install solar panels on his roof as part of his efforts to be a more sustainable restaurant.

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