Solana Beach council continues hearing on Highway 101 restaurant


After hearing concerns from several community members, the Solana Beach City Council postponed its decision on a proposed “high-end” restaurant and bar on Highway 101.

Specializing in Southwestern cuisine and handcrafted tequilas, Distillery 101 tequileria and kitchen would be located in the spaces currently leased by Java Depot and Juicers in The Boardwalk shopping center. By improving and utilizing the two spaces, along with adding 155 square feet from an existing adjacent office space, the restaurant would total 2,673 square feet and feature a full bar and two outdoor patios.

“Our intention is to bring a fine, wonderful restaurant into the community,” said applicant and local restaurateur Bradley Evarts. “The name is just to create an aesthetic with a casual elegance.”

Six residents near the site, however, said they were worried about potential crime and noise, as well as an increase in trash and traffic around the restaurant and in the community.

“I’m not opposed to a commercial venture at all — I am a capitalist myself,” said Greg Thomas, a resident who lives across the street from the site. “I’d be happy to patronize the restaurant, but I would also like to enjoy my residence.”

Other nearby neighbors shared his concerns and called for the council to delay its decision. Some said they had not learned about the project until just prior to the meeting.

“I have no problem with a restaurant,” said resident Lynne Zimet, who owns two houses on Acacia Avenue. “My problem is with the tequila bar that’s going in.”

“It sounds like a bar,” agreed Kelly Harless, who has a home on North Sierra Avenue. “I really don’t want another bar in our neighborhood.”

After hearing concerns from the neighbors, the council voted 5-0 on June 22 to continue the hearing to the July 13 meeting. Evarts was encouraged to meet with community members to address their concerns before returning to the council.

“I totally understand homeowners and I want to work with them,” said Evarts, an Encinitas resident who has owned several restaurants, including Cilantros and Epazote, both of which opened in the late 1980s and operated for years in Del Mar.

Evarts said he intended to meet with neighbors and explain the measures he has planned to control noise. The plan for the project includes a wall of organ pipe cactus along the back patio to work as a sound barrier. If needed, Evarts said he would also install a glass barrier.

He reiterated, however, that the restaurant won’t have live music and won’t stay open late.

“It’s not a bar; it is a restaurant,” said Evarts, who noted that the restaurant is named after his brand of tequila, which is made in Mexico. “We are all about the cuisine. We want to bring wonderful food into the area.”

In discussion with council, Evarts said he was open to a variety of other solutions, including having no speakers outside, monitoring the western parking lot and using valet service for overflow parking.

Distillery 101, Evarts said, will have a Napa Valley style, specializing in Southwestern farm-to-table cuisine and handcrafted tequilas that will “raise the bar” for North County restaurants.

“We require a high level of service, attention to detail and quality food,” Evarts said.

“We have a track record and we have a good plan,” he added. “We’re seasoned veterans in this industry. We’re experts.”