Del Mar Highlands Town Center upgrade near completion

By Karen Billing

Staff Writer

The Del Mar Highlands Town Center remodel project is entering the home stretch. The re-imagining is nearly complete and the center is 98 percent leased.

“We’re very excited for the San Diego community to experience the new Del Mar Highlands Town Center,” said Elizabeth Schreiber, general manager. “We anticipate that the caliber of new restaurants and the opening of San Diego’s first luxury movie theatre will help the center become the new ‘it spot’ for dining and entertainment in North County.”

By July 15, the barricades will come down by the plaza and people will be able to walk through the upper and lower plazas and use the new escalator. Tenants will open up around the plazas through September, when there will be a big grand re-opening celebration on Sept. 9 and Sept. 10.

The new movie theater, Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas, is set to open in late July.

The center had renewed its lease with UltraStar with a new luxury theater concept but last November, UltraStar told them new buyers wanted to buy their lease and take over their renovation plan. Not only is Cinepolis taking over the plan but they even “stepped up the luxury level,” Schreiber said.

The new theater will feature reserved seating in eight auditoriums with state-of-the-art and 3D technologies.

Patrons can order food from their seat with a press of a button and the theater will offer a full bar, the first of its kind in San Diego.

Also opening in late July will be BURLAP, the new restaurant on the corner from Brian Malarkey and James Brennan of downtown San Diego’s Searsucker.

Carmel Valley resident Scott Harris, who was named “Restaurateur of the Year” in Chicago for his eateries in that city, will have two places in the Highlands with Mia Francesca and Davanti Enoteca. Mia Francesca will serve classic Italian entrees made from locally sourced ingredients in the old Los Cabos building. Next door, Davanti Enoteca will be a wine bar, offering pairings with fresh tapas. Both are slated to open in September.

Rounding out the five full-service, sit-down restaurants on the top floor will be Champagne Bakery, Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza (which is adding a full bar and cocktail menu) and Rimel’s Rotisserie, with its locally-sourced meals and sustainable seafood with a 40-seat outdoor patio and fire pit opening in August.

The popular Counter has already opened on the lower level, with build-your-own burgers. Urban Plate will be a casual take-in or take-out with an open kitchen concept. Its menu will include hand-carved meats, seafood and high-quality soups and salads.

Taverna Blu just opened next to Tilly’s two weeks ago, offering up Mediterranean food and Greek classics infused with American cuisine. Taverna Blu is the concept of George Katakalidis, who opened the first-ever Daphne’s Greek in Del Mar Highlands in 1991.

“The food is super fresh, super healthy and very, very tasty,” said Schreiber.

Another exciting new tenant was also just announced, a salon called Drybar that offers no cuts, no color, just blowouts.

All blowouts are $35 and come in different styles from the messy and beachy “Mai Tai” to the sleek and smooth “Manhattan.” A sweet blowout for girls 10 and under is called the “Shirley Temple.”

Drybar already has a decorative window in spot next to Jimbo’s to announce its arrival in mid-July.

“Based on the feedback and community support that we’ve already received, we know that these changes and this re-imagined town center are just what the Del Mar and Carmel Valley areas needed,” said Schreiber.

The Del Mar Highlands Town Center is located at 12925 El Camino Real, San Diego, CA 92130; Visit



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