Category Archives: Press

Batter up: Some baseball-themed drinks

The 1845 Cocktail at Rustic Root is named for the year when baseball appeared in the United States.

San Diego is quickly becoming as known for its cocktail culture as for its craft beer dominance on the national stage. All-Star Week is your chance to try some of the local mixologists’ favorite twists on the baseball theme, while visiting a few mandatory cocktail havens near Petco Park.

So put down that boring Jack & Coke, and pick up one of these concoctions:

1845 Cocktail, Rustic Root: This downtown locale mixed up a drink named after the year baseball made its appearance in the U.S. The 1845 is made with Grand Marnier, Fernet-Branca (a San Diego favorite), simple syrup and lemon juice, with an orange peel. Bask in our glorious weather while sipping this cocktail on the rustic-American rooftop lounge, just a few blocks away from Petco Park.

Good times light the nights in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter

By Irene Lechowitzky

Rustic-Root-LA-TImes-300x169 Rooftop Bar San Diego 92101

San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter, once home to gambling halls, saloons and bordellos, can still kick up its heels. Packed with cocktail lounges, restaurants and pulsating nightclubs, it’s a virtual playpen for partying. Best of all, it’s self-contained, and you can easily hopscotch from drinks to dinner to a nightclub. Plus, there’s a revolving door of fresh venues replacing ones that have fallen out of fashion. There are plenty of other activities as well: Padres games at Petco Park, Seaport Village, the bay and waterfront parks, and the ferry to Coronado are just a short walk. (There are homeless as well as partiers; the Gaslamp is very much an urban core.) The tab: My husband and I spent $179 for one night at the Hotel Z and about $120 for dinner and drinks.

The find

The Gaslamp takes its reputation seriously as a party town. Choosing which hot and trendy bars to sample was a tough job, but I was glad to do it. Two that stood out: The tastiest cocktail was at Blush Ice Bar + East-West Kitchen (555 Market St.; [619] 501-9158,, whichspecializes in “blushies.” You choose a spirit (vodka, rum, etc.) and add flavored, crushed ice and fruit purée: Voilà, a fortified slushie! My husband chose banana rum, lemon-lime ice and mixed berries; I had the house Vanilla Sky, which was like a piña colada. The jam-packed open-air lounge at Rustic Root (535 5th Ave.; [619] 232-1747, features strong drinks (the Manhattan craft cocktail shot was small but mighty), lamp-post lighting and animal-shaped topiary, and overlooks the action on 5th Avenue.

Top 10 Uber Destinations: San Diego Food + Drink

The summer warmth is settling in and San Diegans are headed out to explore the best bars and restaurants America’s Finest has to offer.

With so many trips happening every day all across San Diego County, it got us thinking—where is everyone going? When it comes to happy hour cocktails or dinner with friends, San Diegans have many options to choose from. Which bars and restaurants do they Uber to most? We used anonymized trip data to find answers.

And with the launch of uberPOOL in San Diego, exploring these options is now more affordable than ever.


Top-Ten-Destinations-in-San-Diego-Rustic-Root-300x200 Rooftop Bar San Diego 92101

The Best Food & Drink Events This Month: May-June 2016

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Dinner with Cookie Dutch

WHEN: May 22, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Rustic Root, 535 Fifth Ave., Downtown

Cookie Dutch, aside from having a fantastic name that all but guarantees stardom, is just 14 years old. But the Coronado resident can cook, as the judges and her competitors on Food Network’s Chopped Junior discovered. Dutch won the national TV cooking competition, netting a cool $10,000. For this guest chef dinner, she’ll partner with Rustic Root’s exec chef Marcel Childress for a three-course menu including poblano gazpacho, a trio of tacos, and a tequila chocolate mousse. Go support the young talent.

Top 10 must-sees in San Diego

Story provided and presented by our sponsor San Diego Tourism Authority

In a city like San Diego, which has resplendent beaches, world-class cultural experiences, a thriving culinary scene, and everything else a sophisticated metropolis could offer—not to mention unfailingly perfect weather—trying to decide what to do can be overwhelming. Still, to those who know the region, certain attractions stand out above the rest. These are the ten things you must do in San Diego.

Gaslamp Quarter. San Diego’s buzzy epicenter for dining and nightlife is a 16-block neighborhood where Victorian-era structures live beside modern skyscrapers. With how up-to-the-moment everything seems here, it’s easy to forget that this is a historic district—many of the buildings went up in the 1800s. Today, sleek rooftop bars like The Nolen are “dedicated to advancing the art of the cocktail,” while offering incredible views of the bay, Coronado Bridge, and the downtown skyline. Down on street level, hot new eateries like Rustic Root and Café 21 keep the food scene fresh. Plenty of the stellar dining rooms here, like the original Searsucker, run by Top Chef Brian Malarkey, turn into deejayed lounges after dark.

11 Thanksgiving Cocktail Recipes Straight from America’s Best Bartenders

With cozy Netflix movies queued up, late fall is finally upon us. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on a little happy hour fun. Sure, it might be time to say goodbye to breezy, beach-side drinks, but tasty Thanksgiving and fall-themed sippers are lovely in their own right. Read on for the best 11 fall cocktails from all over the country and get ready for some serious pumpkin-apple-squash-infused delights. Bonus: The bartenders spilled some of their pro secrets…

Hot Apple Toddy at Rustic Root in San Diego

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Don’t think you like bourbon? Allow this cocktail to prove you wrong. With apple cider and ginger-y goodness, it’s hard not to love this simple-to-prep beverage. Happy hour, indeed.
– 1 1/2 ounces vanilla-infused bourbon
– 3/4 ounce ginger-spiced simple syrup
– 6 ounces hot apple cider
Mix all ingredients and serve in tall coffee/tea glass and garnish with an apple slice, or candied apple slice, if you’re feeling fancy.
Click here for full article.

Rustic Root Takes Home Two Lamplighter Awards

Thank you to all that joined us on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at Parq Restaurant & Nightclub (615 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101) as we celebrated the best of the best at the Lamplighter Awards brought to you by RMD Group, an ultra-exclusive VIP cocktail affair where the 2015 Best of the Gaslamp award winners were announced.  This evening of whimsy and elegance featured craft cocktails, delicious hors d’oeuvres from the finest Gaslamp Quarter restaurants, exclusive items and gift packages available through our silent and live auction, and much more. 21+, GQA event.

Lamplighter-Gaslamp-Lamplighter-Awards Rooftop Bar San Diego 92101

Congratulations to the 2015 Lamplighter Award Winners

Special Recognition for Commitment to San Diego and the Gaslamp Quarter
Jimmy Parker
For his significant contributions and service to the Gaslamp Quarter community
Executive Director from 2004 – 2015
GQA Board of Directors from 1998 – 2004

Rustic Root
Best New Gaslamp Restaurant/Bar
Favorite American Cuisine – TIED
Other RMD Winners:
Favorite Pizza
Favorite Nightclub

New restaurant concepts in San Diego are big and ambitious

By JENNIFER McENTEE, Special to The Daily Transcript

Some of the biggest names in San Diego’s hospitality scene are revealing fresh offerings in the coming months, from big remodels to new construction.

The new rooftop restaurant Rustic Root is set to open on Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter in early June.

Rustic Root is a project by RMD Group, hospitality entrepreneur Ken Lovi and executive chef Antonio Friscia. The same bunch is behind Don Chido, a Mexican eatery that opened in the Gaslamp Quarter last summer.

Rustic Root is slated to offer “rustic” American cuisine, with dishes such as elk chops, fried chicken, lobster pappardelle and furikake-crusted hamachi.

The new venue is being billed as the Gaslamp Quarter’s only dedicated rooftop restaurant, though it will have multiple levels: a 2,500-square-foot rooftop space, and a 500-square-foot downstairs patio that opens to a 2,500-square-foot dining room and bar.

OCIO Design Group is the architect alongside RMD Group’s construction division RMD Development. Interior design for Rustic Root is by Davis Ink Ltd. and includes a giant Sudoku wall, life-sized animal topiary bushes and street-style lamps.

See full article.

Rustic Root Combines Classic Cuisine With Craft Cocktail Shots

by , photos by Bradley Schweit

Rustic-Root-Restaurant-Eater Rooftop Bar San Diego 92101

Another of Eater’s Most Anticipated Openings of 2015 has soft launched in the Gaslamp; RMD Group, local nightlife specialists (FLUXX, Sidebar) who’ve transitioned into restaurateurs, along with Ken Lovi of The Knotty Barrel and executive chef/partner Antonio Friscia, have reteamed up to open their second food-focused project, Rustic Root, in the 2,500-square-foot space adjacent to their Mexican-influenced Don Chido.

The Davis Ink Ltd-designed eatery, which is now open daily for dinner, opens up to a 500-square-foot sidewalk patio; inside, a collection of colanders hang above a lounge area that gives way a to a mirrored dining room holding a wall-sized crossword puzzle and communal table made of rolling pins.

Friscia’s menu is a mix of classic American dishes with modern twists. The surf & turf pairs quail egg-topped beef tartare with hamachi sashimi, steamed mussels get an addition of uni better and elk chops come with mole and almond-chili puree. For anyone who missing his take on Asian plates at the now-shuttered Gaijin, Friscia’s carnitas “bao bao” sliders reappear here.

The cocktail program include craftier versions of shots, from a gin Gimlet to Manhattan Brunch, that each come with a custom garnish and can be also ordered in regular cocktail sizes. A signature drink menu concentrates on the classics, including the 1930 Sazerac and the 1941 Moscow mule. Rustic Root will expand into brunch shortly, and in mid-June, will launch the second half of the restaurant, an equally-sized rooftop lounge space, perched above 5th Avenue, that will have its own bar, kitchen and menu.

See original article.

Locally Sourced Fare at Rustic Root

Rustic Root to Boast Gaslamp Quarter’s Only Dedicated Rooftop Restaurant

Rustic-Root-San-Diego-Food-Finds Rooftop Bar San Diego 92101

Award-Winning RMD Group, Hospitality Expert Ken Lovi and Executive Chef/Partner Antonio Friscia to Launch Second Restaurant Venture in the Gaslamp Quarter

RMD Group, the innovative development and management team behind recognized venues including mega-club FLUXX, along with Ken Lovi, founder and CEO of Knotty Barrel Gastropub, and Executive Chef / Partner Antonio Friscia will open Rustic Root in May 2015 in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. Following the successful opening of their first venture, Don Chido, which opened in June 2014, Rustic Root is set to become the Gaslamp Quarter’s only dedicated rooftop restaurant.

“Rustic Root marks our second restaurant venture in Downtown San Diego, and it is important to us that we continue to showcase both our culinary creativity and conceptual range,” said Michael Georgopoulos, RMD Group partner. “Rustic Root combines our reputation for service with Ken Lovi’s expertise and Chef Antonio Friscia’s culinary talent, and we’re confident it will elevate Downtown San Diego’s dining scene with a unique menu and unparalleled guest experience.”

True to its name, Rustic Root will showcase a dynamic menu of rustic American cuisine with a spotlight on locally sourced meats, produce and seafood and house-made ingredients, from Executive Chef Antonio Friscia and his culinary team. The Rustic Root menu will be anchored by signature staples including the double cut, bone-in pork chop with apple rhubarb chutney and parsnip puree, other highlights from the menu will include the seared Hamachi, elk chops and a unique twist on the classic surf & turf dish, featuring steak tartar and Hamachi crudo.  With over 25 years of culinary industry experience, Executive Chef Friscia’s dedication to using local and regional purveyors, as well as organic and sustainable suppliers can be seen throughout his careful selection of ingredients.

Rustic-Root-San-DIego-Food-Finds-2 Rooftop Bar San Diego 92101

Signature dishes will complement a unique menu of craft cocktails thoughtfully created by Consulting Mixologist Garth Flood.  A member of the U.S. Bartenders Guild and most notably known for his current role as beverage director at San Diego hotspot Cowboy Star, Flood has created a unique cocktail menu that will include playful spins on timeless, iconic and classic cocktails.  Paying tribute to the year the cocktail was created, Rustic Root’s cocktail program will include timeless cocktails such as the “1980” cosmopolitan, the “1941” mule, the “1902” daiquiri and the “1830” sazarac, also known as America’s original cocktail, to name a few.  Another standout element of the new cocktail program will be signature craft cocktail shots—sip-size versions of cocktail classics, including the Manhattan, Negroni, Gimlet and Old Fashioned, finished with a variety of curated garnishes.

Designed by the visionary and nationally acclaimed interior design team at Davis Ink Ltd., the multi-level Rustic Root will include a 500 square-feet downstairs patio that opens to the main dining room on the lower floor as well as a rooftop space that will also serve food and be home to its own dedicated bar.  The 2,500 square-feet main dining area will feature a life-sized Sudoku wall, lighting features that include overhead colander lamps and street-style lamps that pay homage to the Gaslamp’s signature street lamps. The equally sized 2,500 square-feet rooftop space will be dotted with life-size animal topiary bushes, all set under glowing market lights. OCIO Design Group has also been hired on as the architect alongside RMD Development—RMD Group’s construction division.

Rustic Root will serve dinner daily starting at 4 p.m. in the restaurant and rooftop, and a late-night menu on the rooftop. Rustic Root is located at 535 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101.  For more information on Rustic Root, please visit:

Connect with Rustic Root on Facebook, or follow Rustic Root on Twitter @RusticRootSD and Instagram @RusticRootSD.

About RMD Group

With more than 50 years of combined experience in the industry, RMD Group has emerged as a driving force in the nightlife and entertainment industry.  They have designed and developed a thriving collection of hospitality and lifestyle destinations that include award-winning FLUXX nightclub in San Diego.  Venturing further into the hospitality industry, RMD Group opened their first restaurant, Don Chido, in May 2014 and looks forward to opening their second restaurant, Rustic Root almost one year later.  RMD’s extensive expertise in design, development, management and A-list talent continues to elevate the level of effectiveness the hospitality industry can attain.

About Ken Lovi

Ken Lovi, CEO and founder of The Knotty Barrel Gastropub, brings more than 25 years of experience in management and ownership.  Having opened over 12 pubs, fine dining restaurants and nightclubs over his career, Lovi’s focus on menu development, service and management recruiting led him to become vice president and managing partner of Moose Restaurant Group, where he served for 15 years, before moving on to establish The Knotty Barrel Gastropub.