So Eat It, Just Eat It

The uptown pizza throw-down, the skinny on La Jolla takeout, and more restaurant small bites …

Here’s what’s happening in restaurant news all over town:

Lefty’s vs. Bronx When lip-smacking delicious Phil’s BBQ moved to Sports Arena Boulevard, it left a void in Mission Hills. But who-da thunk the space would be filled by a powerhouse pizza place? Especially with a pie titan roughly 10 blocks away in Hillcrest’s Bronx Pizza? This geographic juxtaposition presents the possibility of a big-city pizza-dough throw down. Will the thin-crusted New York style prevail? Will the Chicago deep-dish of Lefty’s come out on topping? This is a mouthwatering heavyweight match-up.

Corvette Diner The classic Corvette Diner has re-opened with an expanded Gamers Garage in Liberty Station. As reported here first, waitresses won’t be tossing Bazooka gum at patrons anymore. A grand-opening celebration will take place July 11-12. Lady Dottie and the Diamonds are one of several bands slated to hit the stage. Come in a retro costume and be eligible to win a $500 dinner package, or enter by e-mailing a photo of yourself at the former Corvette Diner.

Prepkitchen The brains behind Whisknladle in La Jolla have opened a new place in the tony seaside enclave. Prepkitchen (7556 Fay Avenue) will serve gourmet takeout for lunch and dinner. Whisknladle executive chef Ryan Johnston will also oversee the lunch small bites and full dinners at Prepkitchen. “Snacks” include chicken-stuffed piquillo peppers and squid escabeche cevice. Yep, that sounds like La Jolla takeout.

Casa de Bandini Back when Old Town was cool -- OK, it wasn’t as cool as much as it was acceptable to take your visiting tourons there -- it was home to Diane Powers’ Casa de Bandini. She got a bum deal -- had her lease revoked in 2005 -- but is finally reopening the restaurant at The Forum in Carlsbad. Back will be the strolling mariachis and the human-head-size margarita glasses.

Azucar I’m not a dessert person, but people are raving about Azucar in Ocean Beach. It’s a Cuban patisserie that serves cakes, cookies and all manner of sweets (azucar means “sugar” in Spanish). The place is the inspiration of Vivian Hernandez-Jackson, who was born to Cuban parents in Miami. A Buenos Dias bundt cake is made with carrots, apples, coconut, pineapple, walnuts … and plenty of azucar.

O’Brothers It’s home to a 100 percent organic beef hamburger. Everything is organic -- from the beef to the cheese to the buns to the condiments. O’Brothers is in Horton Plaza -- but like many storefronts there, it’s a little tough to find. If you’re desperate for all things organic, go to the northeast end of downtown’s phantasmagoric mall and ride the Broadway Circle escalator to just above the Levi’s store.

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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