What’s in a name? To some in Solana Beach, a lot.
After agreeing to a new name, among other concessions, local restaurateur Bradley Evarts finally received the required permits to move forward with a “high-end” farm-to-table restaurant and tequileria on Highway 101.
“We’re excited about coming to Solana Beach,” Evarts said before the unanimous vote at the July 13 meeting.
Originally called Distillery 101, the restaurant and tequileria will replace Java Depot and Juicers in The Boardwalk shopping center. The restaurant will open every day at 10 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, midnight Friday and Saturday and 10 p.m. Sunday. The patio will close at 9 p.m. on Sunday and 10 p.m. all other nights.
Plans for the project, which will specialize in Southwestern cuisine and handcrafted tequilas, were originally presented at the June 22 meeting. However, after hearing community concerns about the name, as well as potential problems with noise, lighting, trash, traffic, parking and public safety, the council continued the hearing so the applicant could meet with neighbors to address their concerns.
About three dozen people attended the July 6 meeting, including residents, shopping center tenants, city staff and the applicant and his team.
“We were able to discuss the food that we’re going to be serving,” Evarts said. “We were able to discuss the beauty of the restaurant and raising the bar and bringing a wonderful dining establishment into the community that complies with the neighbors.”
When project plans were originally presented, Evarts agreed that the restaurant would not have live entertainment or speakers on the outdoor patio. He also planned to reduce noise by placing a wall of organ pipe cactus along the back patio.
After the community meeting, Evarts also agreed to install a 12-foot-one-inch wall, which he said will block 95 percent of the sound, with an alarm-equipped, emergency-only door on the west side rather than a gate, as originally proposed.
He agreed to cover the cost of valet parking to avoid noise and loitering in the parking lot.
Finally, Evarts also said he was flexible to a variety of other recommendations, including adding signs to remind patrons the the restaurant is near a residential neighborhood, minimizing lighting and prohibiting trash removal late at night.
“I feel like this could be a very good project,” said resident Vicki Cypherd, who offered several recommendations to the applicant. Evarts said he settled on the restaurant hours she suggested.
“We don’t have any really good restaurants in town,” she added. “I think this is an upscale restaurant.”
Still, some residents continued to request the applicant change the name of the restaurant, arguing it would attract a drinking crowd.
“The name Distillery 101 seems quite squarely aimed at a drinking crowd rather than a fine-dining experience,” said resident Craig Williams. “We request a non-alcohol themed replacement.”
Although he did not announce the new name, Evarts agreed to change it.
“We have a name that is not involving anything to do with liquor,” he said. “It’s culinary, it’s Napa, it’s Southwestern and it’s a beautiful name.”
Evarts said he had to talk with his business partners before publicly announcing the new name.
“I’m here to work together, completely with everybody,” he said.
“I was really happy to hear you just say that,” Councilwoman Lesa Heebner said in response. “I think that would solve a lot of problems.
“I know there’s not 100 percent agreement with everybody in this room, but I think we’ve come to an agreement that will work,” she added. “I do feel that Mr. Evarts is true to his word. He’s going to put together a farm-to-table restaurant that’s not going to be a bar and it’s going to be an asset to the community.”