Plans Disclosed to Redevelop Grand Pacific Hotel Building


RMD Group, a development and management company, announced plans to redevelop the historic Grand Pacific Hotel, a 15,000-square-foot building in the heart of Downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. The plans include a long-term lease with San Diego-based real estate investment and management company HP investors.

The property, located at 360 Fifth Ave., benefits from its high-traffic location on the corner of Fifth and J Streets. It will be transformed into a multi-level, multi-concept restaurant and bar, according to the announcement.

RMD Group will begin its multimillion-dollar investment into the property starting spring 2018. The new, yet-to-be-named concept will open to the public in mid-2019.

“The Gaslamp truly is ‘home’ for us at RMD Group, so when we heard about the opportunity with this historic space located in our own backyard, we naturally jumped at the chance to work with HP Investors to develop an entertainment and dining destination unlike anything we’ve created before,” said RMD Group Partner Michael Georgopoulos. “Our goal is to establish a true entertainment hub where food, wine, beer, cocktails and music come together in a variety of unique spaces and experiences perfect for everyday dining, drinking and special large-scale meetings and events.”

“The Grand Pacific Hotel is a historic and important building for San Diego, so we wanted to focus on a thoughtful redevelopment of the site that kept the integrity of the building while offering a modern concept that reflects the future of the Gaslamp,” said HP Investors Managing Partner Sumeet Parekh. “In RMD, we got a partner who has the experience and knowledge to not only pull off the renovation but also be successful long-term.”

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Tacos and Tequila Fueling the Gaslamp’s New Volcano Rabbit


Set to reopen Friday, February 16 after temporarily shuttering last fall, the rebooted Don Chido is now called Volcano Rabbit. Named after a real animal — the world’s second-smallest rabbit which is native to Mexico — the restaurant from RMD Group (Rustic Root, Side Bar, Salvucci’s) has an all-new menu and bar program that positions it at as a fresh addition to the Gaslamp nightlife scene.

Reimagined by local firm Ocio Design Group to resemble a traditional Mexican hacienda with both playful and elegant touches, the Fifth Avenue restaurant’s menu revolves around tacos from executive chef Andre Alto that range from chili-rubbed octopus to seared ahi, sticky beef short rib and blackened-lime shrimp. And each month, Volcano Rabbit will rotate in a deluxe special taco; priced at $20, the over-the-top options will include baked lobster with katafi, poached quail egg, citrus aioli and sturgeon caviar; sea scallop with arancini cake, lemon coulis, crispy yam and bacon pop rock; and beef cheek with brioche toast, foie gras, marrow butter and mascarpone sauce. There are larger entrees too, such as a shareable meat board piled with carne asada, carnitas, a duck leg and more.

Bringing the party is menu of agave spirits menu that offers more than 175 selections from around the globe. Beyond craft cocktails, margarita variations and large-format drinks, the bar also has a bottle service program that includes a “mix-and-match” mini-bottle option which gives guests the choice of three mini spirits bottles from more than 30 options. And serious tequila collectors can even have their own tequila locker on-site, with memberships including discounted bottle pricing,

Volcano Rabbit will also host DJs every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; a weekly Saturday party brunch will feature build-your-own ceviche stations and brunch bottle service.

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RMD Group Partners With Hard Rock Hotel


If you’ve celebrated Halloween or New Year’s Eve at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego in the past year, you’ve already seen a glimpse of RMD’s work.

The team behind some of San Diego’s most popular venues such as FLUXX Nightclub, Rustic Root and Side Bar has entered a new full-time partnership with the musically-charged Hard Rock Hotel.

For the party people of San Diego, the news means this: RMD Group will take over managing 207 bar and Float Rooftop Lounge starting this month. You can expect more epic parties and updates to the hotel’s nightlife venues, as well as larger-than-life themes that the RMD Group has become most known for. For more information, visit

207 Fifth Ave., downtown.

Lamplighter Awards 2016

Congratulations to the 2016 Lamplighter Award Winners

Favorite Professional Service Provider
RMD Group Consulting

Favorite Brunch
Rustic Root

Favorite Pizza
Ciro’s Pizzeria & Beerhouse

Favorite Mexican, Latin, or Spanish Cuisine
Don Chido

2016 Sous Chef Showdown Winner
Michael Mora
Rustic Root

Black Friday Dining Deals

With Black Friday right around the corner, it’s time to start planning to get the best specials in town. Check out our picks for some of San Diego’s hottest Black Friday dining deals!

Rustic Root | San Diego, CA

A rooftop respite from the chaos of Black Friday, Rustic Root is an ideal place to rest those weary feet and enjoy half-priced appetizers and $2 off timeless cocktails and draft beers after shopping through the Gaslamp District. Serving fantastic rustic American / global comfort cuisine alongside drinks from an incredible craft cocktail program, Rustic Root is one of San Diego’s best destinations for Black Friday shoppers.

Don Chido | San Diego, CA

Set in the heart of the downtown and the Gaslamp District, Don Chido invites Black Friday shoppers to come in for half-off entradas and half-off all drinks from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. on Friday, November 25. Sip on an ice cold margarita in the sunshine on the patio, or raise a glass (or shot glass!) filled with a specially selected tequila recommended from Gabe Garza, the restaurant’s resident “Tequila Enthusiast.” Don Chido pairs home-style Mexican cuisine with a diverse, electric atmosphere that Black Friday shoppers will enjoy.

Let Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti Serenade You at Rustic Root

Come See Sal Valentinetti from America’s Got Talent on Nov. 12

Written By: Jordan Ligons Sal Valentinetti

Arrive at Rustic Root this Saturday Nov. 12 and prepare to be blown away. Starting at 10 p.m., Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti from NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” will put on an intimate concert in support of San Diego charities Songs for Shelter and It’s All About the Kids.

Valentinetti’s voice is truly unforgettable. He rocked the stage with at his audition and throughout his time on the hit singing series. Valentinetti’s Frank Sinatra-esque vibes shocked the crowd and the judges and he instantly became known as Heidi Klum’s “Golden Boy.” Klum was so moved by his performance that she hit the golden buzzer to send him straight through to Los Angeles.

Guest can enjoy an evening with the star performer as Rustic Root’s downstairs dining room will be turned into an intimate concert hall. Get ready to sip on specialty cocktails in honor of this special performance. Try the Heidi Klum’s Golden Boy cocktail, mixed with lemon juice, orange liqueur, Ketel One vodka, and blueberry syrup for $11. Other specialty drink options include: The Rat Pack, a blend of tin cup whiskey, angostura bitters, ginger beer, lemon juice, simple syrup and a lemon twist priced at $11; and The Dirty Martini Shot, Russian standard and olive juice garnished with a bleu cheese stuffed olive, priced at $7.

In honor of the season of giving, Rustic Root will be donating $2 from each specialty cocktail purchase as well as a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales to San Diego charities Songs for Shelter—a local non-profit started by San Diego teen Ava Parisi that puts on concerts for teens by teens to shine light on youth homelessness in San Diego—and It’s All About The Kids, a non-profit organization that aids other children-focused charities to enhance the lives of less fortunate children and their families. Table minimums begin at $100 and reservations may be made by calling 619.878.3277.

Rustic Root
535 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

Where to drink and dine on your days off

by Keri Bridgwater

New Seasonal Menu: Rustic Root


Highlights from executive chef Marcel Childress’ new fall menu at this popular downtown destination include a bacon-wrapped Opah belly served with lobster cream sauce and Okinawan potato chips, steamed oxtail dumpling served with pork jus and a rustic shepherd’s pie made with braised lamb shoulder, mushroom, peas, carrot, pearl onion and Gruyere mash – perfect for when the weather eventually turns a little chillier. 535 5th Ave (619) 232 1747

Two-Ingredient Tequila Cocktails

The Mexican Cure-All

“In the old days, Mexican doctors would prescribe tequila to cure illnesses and colds. A common cold recipe would be tequila, cayenne, and lemon juice. It definitely works, tried and true many times over.” — Booze enchanter and manager at Rustic Root in San Diego, California.

1.5 oz Fortaleza Reposado tequila
.75 oz cayenne-infused lemon juice

1. Combine ingredients and pour over rocks.

San Diego is now one of our favorite restaurant and food cities and here’s why…

San Diego’s food scene officially rules. It was not so long ago that Southern California, the birthplace of fast food, once offered a pretty dismal showing in the way of awesome eating, but the time has now come when proud locals can tell food snobs visiting from San Francisco to go shove it. This list only scratches the surface, but it’s a worthy starting point. So do yourself a favor and ditch the In ‘n’ Out Burger (hint: they’re overrated) and check out one of these San Diego food hot spots instead.

Rustic Root

Places like Hooters and the Hard Rock Cafe are looking increasingly out of step in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, a former tourist trap turned turned hot spot thanks to new nightlife options and eateries like Searsucker, Double Standard and Rustic Root. The handsome, loft-like dining room at Rustic Root is the perfect place to settle in for a fine meal consisting of standards like a half-roasted chicken or double cut pork chop, but the mad stampede is for the generous and playful rooftop patio, a dream space for lounge lizards, booze hounds and, yes, topiary aficionados. Snag a spot on a balmy evening (hint: there are about 300 a year) or come for a scenic brunch consisting of scrambles, benedicts and lots of cocktails.

Batter up: Some baseball-themed drinks

The 1845 Cocktail at Rustic Root is named for the year when baseball appeared in the United States.

San Diego is quickly becoming as known for its cocktail culture as for its craft beer dominance on the national stage. All-Star Week is your chance to try some of the local mixologists’ favorite twists on the baseball theme, while visiting a few mandatory cocktail havens near Petco Park.

So put down that boring Jack & Coke, and pick up one of these concoctions:

1845 Cocktail, Rustic Root: This downtown locale mixed up a drink named after the year baseball made its appearance in the U.S. The 1845 is made with Grand Marnier, Fernet-Branca (a San Diego favorite), simple syrup and lemon juice, with an orange peel. Bask in our glorious weather while sipping this cocktail on the rustic-American rooftop lounge, just a few blocks away from Petco Park.