What made you decide on the neighborhood of North Park to open Urban Solace 11 years ago?
It was clearly in the infancy of a rebirth when we first visited the neighborhood to look for a space. The signs were there but there was still a lot of improvement needed. But we loved the artistic, independent vibe of ray street. And because it was still an “emerging” neighborhood the rent was reasonable for a first restaurant!
The food scene has increased in North Park over the years, what makes your menu unique and different?
Well, we take the origin of all of our products very seriously. We try not to get to preachy or political about it, but we are extremely stringent on the quality and origin of everything that comes in our door, from food to beverages. It has to be 100% natural, produced in a responsible, ethical and ecological manner, and also taste delicious
Was there an inspiration about the popular “Bluegrass Brunch” on the weekends?
Well, the idea actually started a couple years before we opened.. I was running a restaurant up in Healdsburg, CA and we didn’t do brunch on Sundays. I have always been a musician as well as a chef and at that time was listening to alot of bluegrass music. I originally had the idea to form a bluegrass band of my own to play on Sunday’s at that restaurant which just wasn’t that busy in the mornings. I never got around to doing it, and when we opened Urban Solace, I decided to just give it a shot here, but with real bands playing. It also fits the motif of the restaurant in a way.
Any exciting food trends you’ve seen in San Diego/coming up on the Urban Solace menu?
I like that more and more restaurants and even large chains are adopting the natural trend without it being overtly viewed as health food. It’s better for all of us when more and more natural products are readily available. For us at Urban Solace, we’ve just turned eleven years old. We’ve planned some changes that may mean saying goodbye to some of our long time staple dishes, but after 11 years, evolution has to happen to stay relevant!
What have you seen changed to the neighborhood over the years?
So much! So many new restaurants and gathering spots. It’s a lot cleaner and safer feeling as well. Though we do see less and less of the true sit down restaurant establishments opening. I don’t want to lose that aspect of our neighborhood and have it all be quick service spots.
What is your favorite thing about being in North Park?
The diversity, the business community, the friendships we’ve made over the years, and most of all, our loyal patrons.
Why is North Park a go-to staycation destination?
It has a great vibe to it if you are not looking for that classic beach town vacation. Such a wide variety of things to do now in North Park.
What do you like to do when you “staycation” in San Diego?
I wish I could say I had time to staycation! Our kids are in their early teens now so our time is filled up with sports, schoolwork, and other kid oriented functions!
What is one thing anyone visiting from out of town should do in North Park?