Dinner and a Movie

| July 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

Concept Two Seven Eight

Have you ever dreamed of opening and owning a restaurant? So many people, especially men with outgoing personalities and even the slightest culinary background, often fantasize about the thrill of commanding a kitchen and with greeting old friends and customers as they enjoy the food and ambiance of one’s establishment. But it is a lot of work to run a restaurant, demanding an amazing amount of time and commitment. Even so, restaurants pop open weekly into the dining landscape.

Jessica Fisher opened several restaurants for others, companies and individuals. Living in New York City, she put together large “fine dining” operations such as “Catch” and even small local neighborhood venues. Despite her young age, she had a lot of experience in the business.
Fisher returned to San Diego and inspired her mother, who worked in real estate, and a friend, a retired in-house counsel corporate attorney, with the dream of restaurant ownership. A few months ago, they opened Concept Two Seven Eight on upper Fifth Avenue. The symbolism of the name refers to Fisher’s old address in Brooklyn.

There are so many steps to opening a restaurant – finding the right location, planning the right menu, picking price points that are appealing to customers yet allowing for profitability, developing systems to generate good food quickly and, perhaps most important, creating an image and features that distinguish the business from its competitors. Every restaurant wants its name to pop into the minds of customers when they think of going out.

Concept Two Seven Eight was opened in a quaint building that feels like a converted home. The front door opens to a small dining room and bar, with a high-beamed ceiling. It has a small patio in the front. The venue has a tight, cozy, intimate feel.

After solving location and menu issues, Fisher and her partners came up with three concepts through which to build a clientele: dinner and a movie – on Wednesday evenings, a projector and screen are set up on the patio. Diners can enjoy the mellow San Diego evening, good food, and a movie. Titles are usually announced the day before. Occasionally, guests will bring films to screen; “yappy” hour – diners can bond with their pets, eating with them on the patio, with special treats for the animals. It is a great way to get to know fellow pet lovers; local distilleries – San Diego has a great reputation as home to many award-winning microbreweries. Not as many are aware that our city is also home to a number of award-winning micro-distilleries. The restaurant’s elaborate bar stocks many of their products.

For example, a Henebery Spirits “old fashion” is a 90 proof rye infused with botanicals and aged into a sweet delight that goes down smoothly, with a marvelous afterglow. And it tastes like a fabulous Old Fashion cocktail. The formula for the liquor is based on a Civil War drink but the label has been changed from “two warlike eagles” to two “peaceful peacocks.” Heneberry is distilled in Vista. Products of Malahat Spirits are also available. The bottle label shows a picture of the Malahat, a graceful four-masted vessel, which was a successful rum runner during prohibition, never caught. It just outran pursuers.

Marketing strategies can only bring customers in. It is the food that keeps them coming back. The menu is short, simple and interesting, leaning heavily on local produce. Available snacks include fried cauliflower florets and squash blossom. Diners may share charred brussels sprouts and roasted spring vegetables.

Among the salads, heirloom tomato salad comes in a large bowl, almost big enough for family style, with fresh mozzarella, pistachio and peach in a savory peach balsamic dressing.
Among the “mains”, several burgers are listed. The “8 oz” burger is full size, loaded with meaty flavor and drizzled with a “secret sauce” that pops the taste. The portabella burger brings wonderful faux-meat texture to a vegan dish, drizzled with an avocado and chimichurri sauce. Pasta dishes and a chicken dish are also offered.

The restaurant also features a weekend brunch and almost nightly happy hour. Price points are low to moderate. The food is interesting and excellent. Food and features will bring diners in and keep them coming back.

Reservations are recommended. Concept Two Seven Eight is located at 3687 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103. Call (619) 278-0080 for reservations and information.

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Category: Business, Local News

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