Bushfire Kitchen opened on Nov. 1 in Beachside Del Mar, specializing in farm fresh food made the old fashioned way. Dishes on the menu are made from scratch using only the “best of the best” ingredients, cooked simply with bold flavors.
“We just tried to focus on good, quality healthy food that is affordable,” said Clive Barwin, who owns the restaurant with his cousin Brandon Barwin.
The Barwins opened their first Bushfire in Temecula in 2012 and a second in La Costa in 2015.
The original concept was “healthy take home,” catering to people coming home from work and picking up food for their families on their way home. Rather than go for fast food, Brandon said they wanted to offer “healthy food that people would cook if they had time.”
The menu includes bowls and slow-cooked braises like free-range chicken, salmon or natural tri-tip with choice of rice, potatoes, grilled veggies or roasted squash. A Bushfire favorite is the Panang Chicken Curry, an authentic Thai curry slow-cooked with chilies, lemon grass, coconut milk and spices.
Sandwiches are served on fresh, organic home-baked focaccia bread and their selection of burgers are fresh, never frozen with organic grass-fed beef. Bushfire does a vegetarian burger made of quinoa with house pickled red onions, local avocado, basil pesto aioli and grilled zucchini.
Entrees also include free-range, antibiotic free chicken (sold by leg and thigh, breast and wing, half and whole), as well as baby back ribs and fresh British Columbia salmon. Family packs can be ordered to go.
“When you order a burger, the bun it is on is made from scratch every morning,” Brandon said, noting they also make all of their own sauces. “We want to have the absolute highest quality ingredients we can have and have control over them. There are no chemicals or preservatives. We limit fat and salt and use herbs and spices to give flavor.”
“Everything is very, very fresh. The whole concept is cooking homey food the way that our grandparents cooked it 50 years ago,” Clive said.
At Beachside Del Mar, the Barwins converted a building that was once Navy Federal Credit Union. All signs of the bank that was before are gone, replaced with a modern-rustic look—150-year-old barn wood from Minnesota lines the walls and industrial light fixtures are suspended from a high exposed ceiling.
A spacious outdoor patio wraps around the front and the side of the restaurant. The covered side patio is heated, plants dangle overhead and a back bar serves up 12 craft beers and eight wines on tap.
“We felt that the local audience needed something new,” Clive said. “It’s a perfect location.”
The breakfast menu is something uniquely Del Mar — it is the only Bushfire location to offer morning eats until noon every day.
Items include the Bushfire Burrito with slow-braised carnitas and organic scrambled eggs, Eggs Benedict, breakfast sandwiches and toasts, pancakes and a loaded oatmeal bowl with steel-cut oats, hemp seed, red quinoa and faro with fresh berries, almonds and pure maple syrup.
Always with the emphasis on fresh, the coffee beans aren’t ground until the customer orders a cup and Bushfire has partnered with Zumbar Coffee in Sorrento Valley, “which we think is the best coffee in San Diego,” Clive said.
“Generally people love our food and customers come back multiple times a month,” Clive said, pointing out one Del Mar customer who has come in nearly every day since they opened. “Our whole business is built on a repeat customer base. People know they are getting good food for a good value that is incredibly tasty.”
Bushfire offers online ordering at bushfirekitchen.com or through the Bushfire Kitchen app. Enter promo code BUSHFIRE to receive 25 percent off the first online order. Bushfire is located at 2602 Del Mar Heights Road, Del Mar 92014.