Upscale Italian restaurant is coming to Gaslamp, taking over former Searsucker space

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Dining and entertainment giant Tao Group Hospitality will showcase its upscale dining concept, LAVO Italian Restaurant, in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter this summer.

The chic Italian restaurant is slated to open in mid-June in the former Searsucker restaurant space at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Market Street. Searsucker – once part of local chef Brian Malarkey’s Puffer Malarkey Collective – closed in the summer of 2020 after a decade in the Gaslamp.

Pavan Pardasani, chief marketing officer of Tao Group Hospitality, said the company chose San Diego for LAVO’s latest restaurant because of the city’s booming dining and nightlife scene as well as its appeal to travelers from all over the world.

“We are focused on growing our core brands and felt this legendary and dynamic location was the perfect place for LAVO,” Pardasani said in an email interview.

LAVO also has partner restaurants in New York, Las Vegas, Singapore and Los Angeles.

“We don’t take a cookie-cutter approach and consider each location in the context of its neighborhood so we can tailor brand offerings accordingly,” he said.

The new restaurant will feature artwork unique to the San Diego area that will be created by New York artist Peter Tunney.

The 235-seat restaurant space will have 15-foot-high ceilings, an open kitchen and dining room with lavish Hollywood banquettes. There’s also an outdoor sidewalk dining area and a three-sided bar where patrons can watch sports.

Rendering of LAVO San Diego dining room.

(Courtesy of Tao Group Hospitality)

The ambience will be brightened by olive trees, glowing amber pendants, parquet floors and antique wooden mirrors.

The company said the space will more closely resemble the aesthetics of LAVO’s Las Vegas and New York locations than its West Hollywood location.

Tao did not reveal the cost of the renovation, but shared that the transformation of the former Searsucker restaurant space took nearly six months.

With COVID closures over the past few years, Pardasani said Tao had more time to strategize and update custom design details for this new location, from floor plan to room layout. kitchen.

LAVO San Diego will join an extensive portfolio of more than 60 entertainment and nightlife concepts operated by the international hotel group, including Herringbone La Jolla. Last year, Tao Group Hospitality acquired Hakkasan Group, which has expanded its presence across five continents.

As downtown San Diego events and conventions return this summer after an extended absence due to the pandemic, Pardasani said Tao looks forward to welcoming locals and visitors alike to experience LAVO.

“With the desire to have a “night out” and be exponentially cared for these days, we are thrilled to bring our signature hospitality to San Diego where every detail is not only attended to, but amplified, from our food, cocktails and design to the overall ambiance-focused dining experience,” Pardasani said.

The menu will feature LAVO’s popular one-pound wagyu meatball, as well as brick-oven pizzas and homemade pastas. Other specialties include oregano with baked clams, bone-in veal cutlet Milanese, and the signature 20-layer chocolate cake with peanut butter mascarpone.

The cocktail menu will include both playful drinks like bubbles and berries with vodka, as well as a selection of old world wines.

LAVO San Diego will be open for dinner, then lunch and brunch later this summer.

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