A food truck in San Diego is rolling into 2020 on a high note: it has just been named the No. 1 place in the United States to grab some grub, according to Yelp.
Yelp released Tuesday its annual list of the “Top Places to Eat in the U.S.” in 2020 and Shawarma Guys – an unassuming little food truck parked six days a week along Grape Street in South Park – took top honors.
The annual list highlights delicious dining destinations across the nation based on reviews from Yelp users, including both ratings and the number of reviews over the past year. The list is then curated “with the expertise of our community managers around the country to finalize the rankings,” a Yelp spokesperson told NBC 7.
The Scene in San Diego
“The result is a list as quirky, interesting and unique as the Yelp community itself – from white tablecloth restaurants to food trucks and gyro shops,” the spokesperson added.
Shawarma Guys is among three San Diego-area spots that landed on this year’s Top 100 list. The other two are Soichi Sushi – a sushi bar on Adams Avenue that cracked the top 10, landing at No. 9 – and Mr. Bibi, a Korean restaurant on North Coast Highway in Oceanside, which snagged the No. 26 spot.
Parked in an empty lot near at 3012 Grape Street in South Park (near the Bottle House and east of Grape Street Dog Park) the Shawarma Guys specializes in authentic Mediterranean cuisine which, as the small business’ website proudly proclaims is “made with love.”
The business is owned by Bryan Zeto and has only been there for about a year. Zeto told NBC 7 Tuesday that in his short time in South Park, the community has been incredibly supportive. In return, he works to patrons the best of the Shawarma Guys.
"We try to give everybody good customer service, like if you were to go to a fine dining restaurant -- without the fine dining, obviously," he explained.
Items on the menu range from $3 to $15 and include hummus, tabouli, Greek salad, and, of course – shawarma, including Wagyu Beef Shawarma and Chicken Shawarma. Yelpers rave about the pita and fresh falafels and many reviews tout the dishes as warm, tasty “comfort food.”
Shawarma Guys is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; it’s currently closed on Sundays but Zeto told NBC 7 he plans on opening the truck on Sundays starting Feb. 8.
There are a couple of tables set up in front of the food truck where, if you're lucky enough to snag a seat, you can relax and enjoy your food.
On Tuesday, the food truck was buzzing with patrons, many of whom visited for lunch after hearing about the eatery's prestigious Yelp ranking.
Zeto told NBC 7 he hopes to one day open a brick-and-mortar Shawarma Guys restaurant, but even if that happens, he still plans to keep the food truck that started it all up and running at its little spot on Grape Street.
By the way, the Shawarma Guys food truck is no stranger to accolades. Redbook and Yelp once named it the best food truck in California.
Soichi Sushi (No. 9)
Located at 2121 Adam Ave., Soichi Sushi specializes in authentic Japanese Omakase dining, artistically prepared and presented, course by course.
An Omakase experience includes eight courses personally selected by the restaurant’s namesake Chef Soichi himself, including sashimi, Nigiri sushi and Shirumono, a Japanese-style fish soup. This experience starts at $125 per person. Patrons can also order items a la carte – including tempura and oysters – ranging from $8 to $14. Yelpers say the fresh ingredients, friendly staff and authenticity of Soichi Sushi is what keeps them coming back for more.
Soichi Sushi is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is closed on Sundays. The restaurant is currently closed for a holiday break, but is set to reopen Jan. 15.
Up in San Diego’s North County, at 208 North Coast Highway, is the Korean hot spot, Mr. Bibi.
The menu here features make-your-own bowls, plus soups, salads and appetizers like pan-fried gyoza and all kinds of tempura options. Prices range from around $5 to $12, with a Mr. Bibi’s Way bowl costing around $8.99. Yelpers seem to enjoy the low prices, hearty portions and authentic flavors at this tiny spot.
Mr. Bibi is closed Tuesdays but open Monday and Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The restaurant’s website also offers carry-out service.
According to Yelp, the San Diego eateries that made the cut this year are in good company. Here’s a look at the restaurants across the U.S. that earned the top 10 spots on this year’s rankings:
- Shawarma Guys (San Diego)
- Pisces Poke & Ramen (Los Angeles)
- Farmbird (Washington, D.C.)
- Burgerama (Valley Village, California)
- Cocina Madrigal (Phoenix, Arizona)
- Fratellino (Coral Gables, Florida)
- Yardie Spice (Homestead, Florida)
- Sweet Rice (Gardena, California)
- Soichi Sushi (San Diego)
- Pikul Thai Bistro (Fairfield, California)
To see the full Top 100 list, click here.
Last year, six restaurants in San Diego County landed on Yelp’s Top 100 list: Crafted Greens (No. 17); Chuy’s Taco Shop (No. 29); Tahini (No. 69); Bud & Rob’s New Orleans Bistro (No. 72); Pho Guys (No. 75); Empanada Kitchen (No. 94). That represented 6% of the entire list for 2018, by the way.
Six local restaurants made the cut in 2018, too.
Is it lunchtime yet?