Searsucker now open at Del Mar Highlands Town Center


By Karen Billing

Burlap has now officially become Searsucker.

The eatery in Del Mar Highlands Town Center opened on July 17, bringing a downtown San Diego hotspot up to North County.

Searsucker is in the same ownership group as its predecessor Burlap, the Enlightened Hospitality Group, headed up by James Brennan and Chef Brian Malarkey, the winning judge/mentor of ABC’s “The Taste” and BRAVO “Top Chef” season 4 finalist.

The aim with Searsucker is to return focus on “approachable food, unique twists on American classics and a laid-back atmosphere.”

Searsucker is one of the hospitality group’s most successful restaurant brands, opening in downtown San Diego in July 2010. The popular concept has since been brought to Scottsdale, Ariz., and Austin, Texas, and along with the group’s Herringbone is planned to expand on a more national level over the next five years.

“Many of our Searsucker San Diego clientele are North County residents who make the drive down south each weekend to enjoy the food, design and ambiance that makes Searsucker such a unique destination,” Malarkey said. “To be able to now put a Searsucker in their very own neighborhood is a win for everyone.”

Chef Andrew “Dizzle” Phillips will serve as the chef de cuisine in the kitchen, visible through large windows to the main restaurant. Phillips helped open the flagship Searsucker downtown. The Carmel Valley restaurant’s menu will mirror its downtown counterpart with “playful twists on New American classics,” such as mushrooms and burrata tuna with prosciutto, basil and balsamic, and the whiskey braised pork with grilled peaches and baconaise.

Open for lunch, Searsucker serves up salads and sandwiches such as the “two hand” burger, pastrami on rye ruebans, French dips and “drunken” chicken salad made with brown butter aioli, almonds, rosemary, orange zest, port cherries on ciabatta bread.

At dinner, Searsucker has a selection of small plates like short ribs, duck fat fries, mussels and beef tartare and entrée options fresh from ocean, ranch and farm. There is salmon with roasted tomato, kale and cippolini; steaks and succotash baked with seasonal vegetables, as well as side dishes, such as fried Brussels sprouts and walnuts and cauliflower and manchego cheese

Weekend brunch offers bottomless mimosas and man-mosas (a concoction of bourbon, blackberry, maple syrup and champagne) and unexpected spins on breakfast standards.

Designer Thomas Schoos, who created the Asian-inspired look of Burlap, has completed the restaurant’s makeover into vintage Americana and American West stylings. Light fills the space from new front windows that were covered in the previous restaurant’s design and an outdoor patio full of tables and cozy padded furniture beckons.

There is lots of natural wood and rope textures, playful animal art replaces Burlap’s dragons and the word “Eat” in vintage lit-up lettering appears in multiple spot.

Searsucker will serve lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5-10 p.m., and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday brunch will be served 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For reservations, call (858) 369-5700;