Waypoint Public has been open for a few weeks now in the former Linkery spot in North Park. We’d heard it’s been really busy, so Thanksgiving eve was a good opportunity for a less-than-packed dining experience. The bar’s been straightened out, the booths on the south side of the dining room have been removed and there’s a new rollup garage door in the southeast corner, all making the interior feel more open. Bonus points for precious dining space given over to a kids play area. The south wall has been decorated with reclaimed wood and various kitchen objects, but you won’t make them out in this blurry shot:
The first thing that stood out was the stellar draft list from the Bottlecraft folks who own Waypoint. I struggled to make a decision – from Lost Abbey’s Merry Taj IPA to Monkey Paw to Modern Times to Noble Ale to the Bruery’s Sour Autumn Maple (unfortunately out), it’s not the usual Ballast Point/Green Flash/Stone beers you see dominating taps all over town. That’s not a knock on the latter breweries, it’s just refreshing to see Waypoint’s wide-ranging options.
The food matched the high quality of the beers – the “Ancho Chili & Pickled Raisin Vinaigrette” on my nicely-seared albacore was addictive, and Jay’s Public Burger was no slouch. We enjoyed the mac & cheese and “tomato soup” potato chips appetizers, but the topper was the peanut butter brownie sundae with home made vanilla ice cream. Great service from friendly, knowledgeable servers rounded out our visit.
– After dinner we walked by the newly-opened Moncai Vegan, which had just closed for the night. I’m excited that there’s another vegan option in North Park… At the opposite end of the spectrum, an Arby’s and its requisite drive-thru are planned next door to the church at 30th and Gunn in North Park. There are several things that make this part of North Park great, and stand-alone fast food restaurants/drive-thrus aren’t one of them. Perhaps it’s time for a zoning review on this street… We ate at La Mesa’s Bo Beau last weekend and they were packing them in – a full patio on a chilly evening. Thankfully they’ve axed the ridiculous stool-chairs from former spot Gingham. I had a tasty hummus appetizer and a rich Beef Bourguignon, accompanied by a solid craft beer selection… In South Park, Belgian beer bar Brabant has opened in the former Vagabond spot… Over in Hillcrest, Celadon has morphed into a dim sum spot called The French Concession, Eater reports. Dim sum in Hillcrest? Oh yes. Inauthentic dim sum marked up for Hillcrest rent prices? Let’s hope not… We had another great dining experience at Heat recently, this time for dinner, where there’s an emphasis on healthy but tasty entrees. Our Suzie’s Farm salad and veggies benefitted from a delicious dijon mustard vinaigrette, and my roasted salmon came with an ample serving of veggies too. One of the better meals we’ve had in recent memory, and no post-meal guilt to contend with… Tiki Taka on University has closed. I enjoyed their Israeli cuisine, especially the Laffas, but that location should have row of tombstones out front.
– Speaking of challenging locations, the former Proper/Wine Steals spot in front of Petco Park has to rank near the top. Walking out of the ballpark and want grab a bite from the building next door? Sorry, you’ll have to do a silly 10 minute circle around the building to enter, just steps from where you started. If there’s anyone who can overcome that inanity, it’s the Consortium Holdings (Polite Provisions, Neighborhood, etc) folks, who are opening a new establishment there. And if there’s anyone else, it’s Stone Brewing, opening next door and giving them their second downtown location (the first opened recently next door to the Museum of Contemporary Art). I wish one or both locations could be open by the US/Britain Davis Cup tennis event at Petco, being held at the end of January.
– Finally, this Mission Times Courier article about Rolando residents suing the developers of the El Cajon Blvd mixed-use project BLVD63 pretty well sums up San Diego NIMBYism in 2013:
“It’s not something that I think anyone in the College Area is going to be very happy about,” (College Area Community Council president Rhea) Kuhlman said. “Trying to pack people in like sardines, which is what this project has done — it’s going to lead to quick deterioration… These are the kind of buildings that turn into slums in 20 years.”
To many San Diegans who’ve lived in single family homes all their lives and travelled exclusively by car, I’m sure living in a transit-oriented, mixed-use, multi-level apartment building must be an abomination. Unless you live in a house like them, you’re “packed in like sardines”, a quote I’ve seen used elsewhere by other no-growth advocates. And the slum quote is priceless; back in reality, there are mixed-use buildings all over San Diego and other cities that haven’t turned into slums, but rather made their communities more vibrant. But when you’re a low-density advocate and there’s no more room to build single family homes in your neighborhood, tough lock millenials – no more people allowed (how convenient for Kuhlman, who’s already a homeowner there). Anything else is a Cabrini-Green disaster bound to deteriorate.
El Cajon Boulevard is actually an ideal location to build mixed-use housing – there’s a rapid bus route going in, and you have a large student population in the area who don’t rely on cars for their every move. And surely the project (gallery) will be an improvement for this desolate stretch of El Cajon, a business corridor abandoned by the residents of Rolando when the Mission Valley malls were built:
To be fair, residents were justified in opposing original plans to rent by bed rather than by unit, but now that they’ve won that fight, they’ve revealed their true no-growth intentions for the area.