Belmont Park makes way for Draft South Mission and Cannonball
by FRANK SABATINI, Jr.
Aug 06, 2014 | 4031 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This rendering shows the inside of the Draft South Mission gastropub. Courtesy photo
This rendering shows the inside of the Draft South Mission gastropub. Courtesy photo
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One of the most ambitious enterprises to land on the Belmont Park boardwalk in years is Draft South Mission, a 12,000-square-foot beer-centric gastropub rigged with 60 taps, as well as a 31-foot-high LED wall used for projecting educational brewing videos and major sports games.

Draft was scheduled to open June 13 in the structure that formerly housed Canes Bar & Grill. In July, the roof was to be fully utilized for Cannonball, where sushi, sake and cocktails take center stage.

The double venture is being launched by Eat.Drink.Sleep. (EDS), which has a portfolio of properties throughout California and Arizona. Locally, they include Tower 23 and JRDN in Pacific Beach and the Lakehouse Hotel and Resort in San Marcos.

“We wanted to tap into San Diego’s budding craft-beer culture,” said Justin Lopez, director of operations for Belmont Park Entertainment, an entity of EDS. “And since we’re known also for beautiful weather, our slogan at Draft is ‘brews and views.’”

With a laid-back aesthetic that flows onto two boardwalk patios, Draft showcases dozens of tap selections, along with 50 bottle choices. About 70 percent of the inventory hails from San Diego and other California breweries while also embracing out-of-state labels and a list dedicated to Belgian beers.

“We’ll also have a strong brown-spirits program,” said Lopez, referring to an array of premium whiskeys slated for both classic and contemporary cocktails.

The food menu points to everything from pork-belly corn dogs and pistachio-crusted salmon sandwiches to bison burgers and ribeyes finished with bone marrow butter. For weekend brunch, which started in late June, the menu will usher in dishes such as lemon meringue pancakes and French toast BLTs.

Draft’s architectural team included renowned San Diego-based designer, Mauricio Couturier, whose local projects include Bang Bang and Super El Camino. For the giant LED wall incorporated into the blueprint, EDS produced videos of the brewing processes at Coronado Brewing Company and Saint Archer Brewery that will be shown regularly for public consumption.

“We’ll also capture big football and soccer games, but we won’t be using the wall to run ESPN and other sports channels when there are no major games occurring,” said Lopez. “We don’t want the moniker of a sports bar.”

In the meantime, rooftop construction for the indoor-outdoor Cannonball is in its final phase. Once open, a glass elevator will begin delivering guests to a 6,000-square-foot space that was previously underutilized by Canes.

“We’ve expanded and retrofitted the roof all the way from the south side of the building to the north side, overlooking WaveHouse,” said Lopez.

The layout will feature a glass-enclosed sushi bar, coined “the sushi cube,” along with a separate bar and kitchen and ocean-facing views.

In addition to sake, the drink list will focus heavily on white spirits — vodka, rum and gin – used in cocktails constructed with fresh fruits, herbs and house-made syrups.

Chef Brad Wise, director of culinary operations for EDS, is overseeing the menus at both venues, although well-known sushi caterer Chef Hugo Arreguin will take the reigns at Cannonball.

Arreguin also worked at Sushi on a Roll and JRDN.
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