More S'mores, Of Course

“Top Chef” contestant Rich Sweeney messed up the dessert on TV, but his new restaurant-to-be-named-soon will highlight them

Rich Sweeney, the latest San Diego chef to appear on the Bravo network’s “Top Chef” TV show, has officially departed from downtown’s Confidential Restaurant + Loft.

He plans to begin two new culinary ventures. One is ARC Hospitality, a joint-venture catering company that’ll do private events and in-house parties. The other is a restaurant opening, at a location in Hillcrest. Sweeney couldn’t say which already-established eatery he and his partners are taking over, “because the current owners haven’t had a chance to tell their staff, yet.”

Sweeney wouldn’t budge on announcing the location, but said it’s not the former site of Corvette Diner, or the Dish restaurant inside omni-sexual dance club Universal, which he had initially pursued.

The new restaurant will offer casual, upscale dining. “It’ll be my own take on classic American food,” Sweeney said. “And we’ll offer late-night dining in Hillcrest that’s not a drive-through taco shop.”

“Top Chef” viewers will recall that Sweeney was voted off the show after a debacle that involved serving Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl a s’mores dish he didn’t like. Sweeney will good-humoredly add the chocolaty dessert to his next menu.

“I’ve updated the recipe from what was done on the show,” said Sweeney. “We’re going to do a lot of different kind of s’mores. One will have bananas; one will be like a cheesecake. I can see us doing a ‘S’mores du jour.”

In your face, Grohl. 

Ron Donoho is a regular contributor to and a contributing editor to His Web site ( is dedicated to news, sports, culture, happy hours and all things downtown.

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