Memorable, Mouthwatering Moments in San Diego’s Dining Scene in 2016

From sweet treats and new foodie experiences, to the promise of delicious chicken and waffles and juicy burgers on the horizon, San Diego’s dining scene cooked up some tasty tales in 2016. Here are some of those memorable, mouthwatering moments.

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Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles/Facebook
Robert Benson
In March, the highly-anticipated public marketplace long in the works, Liberty Public Market, finally opened at Liberty Station. The indoor and outdoor market features more than two dozen local merchants and plenty of places to sit and dine. The food emporium is ending the year on a high note, too, having been recently ranked No. 13 among the top food halls in the country.
THE LOT at Liberty Station
In May, Liberty Station saw the debut of THE LOT, a luxury movie theater boasting cozy recliner chairs and gourmet food service. The venue includes a full-fledged restaurant, plus craft coffee, artisan pastries and wine, beer and spirits. You can order your dinner and have it delivered right to your seat inside the movie theater.
Andrew Jorgensen Photography
Tiki culture is trending in today’s dining scene and the campy, colorful theme spawned many cool, new bars and lounges across San Diego in 2016. Some standouts: Miss B’s Coconut Club, which opened on Mission Boulevard in Mission Beach in April, serving tropical drinks in punch bowls and real coconuts; False Idol the hidden, 1,000-square-foot gem that opened in September inside the newly revamped Craft & Commerce restaurant in Little Italy; The Grass Skirt, which opened in November on Grand Avenue in Pacific Beach, serving elevated Polynesian fare and cocktails with a flare. Along with Herb & Wood, The Grass Skirt is in the running to be named the Best New Restaurant in the U.S., as voted on by travelers in a USA Today 10Best poll.
Becca Batista
In the spring of 2016, San Diego-based celebrity chef Brian Malarkey opened his newest project, Herb & Wood, an upscale foodie haven on Kettner Boulevard in Little Italy. Over the past seven months or so, the restaurant has not stopped buzzing as patrons delight in the menu, which includes dishes crafted in a custom, wood-fired oven and a bar menu focused on fresh herbs. Both Malarkey and his eatery took home top honors at <a target="_blank" href=” Eater San Diego’s 2016 Awards; Herb & Wood is also in the running to be named the Best New Restaurant in the country in USA Today’s <a target="_blank" href=”” 10Best poll. “It’s been a phenomenal ride,” Malarkey told NBC 7 in a December interview, adding that he’s “never been so proud” of a culinary endeavor.
Monica Garske
The highly-anticipated chicken and eggs eatery, The Crack Shack, opened to long lines and rave reviews in November 2015 in Little Italy. In 2016, The Crack Shack began hatching plans for a spinoffs in San Diego’s North County, this time in Encinitas. Now, that second location – which opens next month – is so close, we can practically taste it.
Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles/Facebook
After many months of rumors, Eater San Diego was able to confirm over the summer that the famed Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles is, in fact, spreading its wings and coming to San Diego. The soul food eatery plans to open a location in Barrio Logan, at 1678 National Ave. As the New Year unfolds, delicious details on this big opening are forthcoming and, with the restaurant’s cult following, surely all of San Diego will know about this.
Shake Shack/Facebook
Also highly rumored in 2016 was the expansion of Shake Shack into San Diego. In November, Eater San Diego was able to confirm the delicious news: the wildly popular burger chain will add San Diego to its West Coast expansion boom, with plans to open a location in Westfield UTC sometime in 2017.
NBC 7 San Diego
Over the summer, we learned of plans to open a new drive-thru Dunkin’ Donuts location in National City. Months later, those plans became a sweet reality as the 24-hour doughnut shop opened at 2139 East Plaza Blvd., off Interstate 805. This is San Diego’s first standalone Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru location (another drive-thru in Ramona is both a Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins combo restaurant) and the beginning of the East Coast chain’s major expansion into Southern California. When the restaurant opened on Dec. 7, eager patrons waited in long lines for a bite of those sweet treats; the eatery was expected to sell about 18,000 doughnuts that day, as well as thousands of cups of the chain’s famous coffee.
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