It’s been fun to watch all the positive changes in North Park and Normal Heights the past several years, but over here in Kensington it’s been pretty sleepy. Apart from Village Vino and Clem’s Tasting Room, there haven’t been a lot of new dining options. And with the mixed-use Kensington Terrace project still in limbo (maybe modify the residential units from condos to rentals and that loan will come through?), that’s one less possibility for now. So while it’s good to see the Haven pizza and craft beer concept coming to the former photography studio space on Adams, it’s next door at Kensington Grill where the big changes are finally going to happen. Owner Tracy Borkum will be “rebooting” the 18 year-old restaurant with a sustainable seafood concept and an approach that borrows from her very successful Cucina Urbana. We’ve lived here for 13 of those years, and while there was a makeover several years back, it will be nice to see Borkum finally giving the restaurant its due. Kensington Grill closes in April for the re-branding.
Other restaurant news: American Voodoo, from a former Bread and Cie baker, is planned for the spot next door to Plumeria in University Heights… Blue Ribbon Rustic Kitchen will bring pasta and seafood to the former Bayu’s Ethiopian location at 5th and University in Hillcrest… and while it’s hardly new at this point, we got over to Counter Burger downtown at 6th and G this weekend. The burger trend may be subsiding but it was still fun to build your own creation; we’re just happy to see this mixed-use space finally getting filled:
Speaking of downtown, they’re still tearing down cool old buildings to put in surface parking lots; the most recent case is at F and 7th. Personal property rights aside, I can’t think of a worse land use for a walkable neighborhood like this. If you agree, sign the protest petition.
There was a discussion on Voice of San Diego a couple weeks back about why the trolley doesn’t go to the airport, and several commenters pointed out that a connection isn’t necessary because the 992 bus will take you to the trolley stop at the Santa Fe Depot. Yes, that’s just what a visitor wants after a long trip – to take a mile-long bus a to a trolley stop when the line actually runs just across the street from the airport. How come every other major west coast city has a direct trolley connection to the airport (or is studying one [LAX]), but we have to settle for a bus connection to the trolley? As one commenter pointed out, it’s time to get past the “we can’t because…” mindset prevalent in San Diego to one of “why not”, because that’s what great cities do. Fortunately there’s a short-term plan to get trolley riders from the Washington Street trolley stop to the terminal via a new pedestrian bridge and shuttle.
Some smarter urban planning is going on out in Lemon Grove. Citronica One is one of two mixed-use projects they’re putting downtown next to the trolley line:
Meanwhile, Main Street Promenade will “transform the existing Main Street, between Broadway and North Avenue, into a walkable, linear park and bustling transit plaza”, the city’s historic Trolley Depot has been updated for low-riding trolley cars, and here’s the city’s land use plan for growth – amazing what a city’s planning department can come up with when it hasn’t been disbanded, like San Diego’s.
You Are Here looks nearly complete on 25th in Golden Hill; you can keep up to date on the mixed-use project on their Facebook page:
Lots of cycling news:
- CicloSDias will close 30th Street from Grant Hill to North Park and Landis to City Heights, for the exclusive use of cyclists, pedestrians and driving residents of those streets. Look for it Sunday August 18th from 10AM to 4PM.
- There’s a new rainbow-colored bike corral in front of Filter in Hillcrest:
- Hanging a pedestrian/cyclist tube under the Coronado Bridge sure sounds cool but I feel like I’m wasting time even talking about it (I know, I should be saying “why not”)… but to the commenter who fears that the tube will bring “street people” and “petty thugs”, I see your small-minded fear and raise it with an Atlantic article that dismisses it: The Myth of the Commuting Criminal. Keeping communities “insulated from the real world” by making them only accessible via car is all-too-common in this region.
- Lots of press for the forthcoming (summer) Modern Times Brewing, which will be located near the Sports Arena, including the Reader and San Diego Magazine. We’ve chatted with founder Jacob McKean and were really impressed with the attention to detail that he brings to the brewery.
- San Diego Free Press calls out wealthy hoteliers for demanding the corporate welfare they got by buying off the city council and city attorney; after all, these “entitled private interests … have run San Diego for its entire history”. The fact that they’re wasting precious San Diego tax dollars to sue the city is particularly galling.