December Newsletter

Written on December 1, 2013 at 8:29 am, by

For those of you not on our more frequently published blog list, we recently announced that we have sold the business and will be closing on Sunday, December 8th.  You can read more about that here.


After our announcement, we received an outpouring of heartfelt messages from our long-standing guests.  We compiled a few of them here to share.  While some of them are difficult to read without getting emotional, we are truly grateful for your expressions of gratitude, and the time you took to communicate to us about what Sea Rocket has meant to you. It has been really fun hearing about your first visits and most memorable dinners, and to realize the meaningful histories we have developed with you over time!


For our last week, we will be tapering our menu down to just the basics as we run out of certain ingredients, and the last few nights we may only be able to offer a handful of options.  Because the new owner will close the space for remodeling for several months, she will be unable to use any of our foodstuffs so we are trying to avoid having to throw any food away after our last night.  If you want to make sure you can have your favorite dish one last time, please come in again sooner rather than later as we won’t be able to guarantee exactly how long we’ll have each specific item available!  We appreciate your understanding as we finish off our inventory of fresh, local foods.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Ackerman

On another note, several of you have asked about our cardboard fish, created by artist Matthew Mahoney for a North Park Nights event 4 years ago.  Some of you want to take a fish home as a momento of Sea Rocket, or have just been curious what will become of them when we’re gone.  Well, we’ll be able to honor your requests and let a few of you take one as a souvenir, but we are REALLY thrilled to announce that the rest of the installation will be transported to our long-standing seafood distributor Catalina Offshore Products to live on indefinitely in their warehouse/learning center as a reminder to eat local and sustainably harvested catch!  Thanks to Catalina for this wonderful offer.  (If you weren’t aware, they are open to the public, so when you feel yourself missing Sea Rocket you can head down there and pay the fish a visit while picking up some seafood for your own kitchen!)

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Sea Rocket Will Close Its Doors Next Month

Written on November 20, 2013 at 8:40 am, by

Hello there.  Elena writing here (as it has been for the last 5+ years, even though Dennis’ photo comes attached to these e-mails…)  I have some important news to share with you.  News that makes me sad, but that is also a good thing for us right now.


The time has come to bid this wonderful adventure known as Sea Rocket Bistro goodbye.  It pains me to tell you this because I will miss you all terribly – you, our friends, neighbors, and guests whom we’ve gotten to know so well over the years – but after over half a decade working to bring our locally-inspired menu to life, we’ve had to accept that the costs of doing business this way exceed the restaurant’s ability to make money.  It’s been the most amazing experience I’ve ever had and I have been honored to meet all of the people the bistro has brought into my life, but we’ve decided to accept an offer from a new restauranteur and allow our space to host a fresh new idea.  Our home in the Lynhurst will be remodeled and reconcepted into a totally different kind of eatery, but more info on that will follow in the coming weeks as it develops…


As it now stands, Sunday, December 8th will be our last day in business as Sea Rocket Bistro.

Dennis & Elena, New Year’s Eve 2008…our first year in business…good times!


Dennis and I have relished our culinary creation for many years, and are incredibly satisfied that we were able to bring our concept of local, sustainable foods to our little corner of North Park for the last 5.5 years.  The Rocket took some time to develop into what it is today, and it has often been a roller coaster of a ride (what other restauranteur won’t say the same thing!?) but when I think back on the last couple of years in particular, my heart swells with pride at what our baby has grown into.  Our team of hard working industry pros helped us bring our dream alive, and most of our staff have been with us for 2 or even 3 years now, which is a lifetime in this industry!


We are so grateful for all of the spirit and appreciation you have brought through our doors.  The years of long days and economic struggles were worth it because of you, because of your enjoyment of our menu, because of your support of all of the worthy organizations we’ve hosted fundraisers for, because of your shared love of real, hand-made foods and craft beer, and because of your commitment to community.  We would have been nothing without you, and we will remember you fondly and hope to run into you on the street, in our other local watering holes, or at the farmer’s markets.


Thank you for your enduring enthusiasm, your smiles, and your appetites!  It has been a pleasure and an honor to feed you, know you, and spend quality time with you.  We hope to see you one last time in the next few weeks as we prepare to close our doors – we may shed a tear as we near the end, but we’ll try to keep in mind the saying that begins “When one door closes…”


We hope to see you again through the next open door, wherever that may lead!

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October Newsletter

Written on October 15, 2013 at 8:36 pm, by

We’ve rolled out our new Fall Menu over the last few weeks (see photos from Part I & Part II here) and we’re getting great reviews on the new preparations of our market fish, broccoli soup and other seasonal goodies!


We’ve also started offering our Happy Hour specials all night long on Sundays!  Now you can get our $2 Street Tacos, $3 Tapas, and drink discounts from 5pm-close instead of just until 7pm.



This Sunday, October 20th we’ll be hosting a fundraiser the Living Coast Discovery Center in Chula Vista.  Fallen on hard financial times, like many, this organization is making the effort to remain open.  Please come dine with us and help support their operation for the future, “a fun, hands-on wildlife and nature experience for the whole family!”


[PLEASE NOTE: Since publishing this blog, this event has been rescheduled.  Please stay tuned for an update.]  On Saturday, October 26th, from 5-7pm, local food blogger and cookbook author Maria Desiderata Montana will be at the Rocket doing a book signing for her two San Diego local cookbooks, BOTH of which feature recipes from yours truly, aka Chef Tommy Fraioli.  (Our Mac & Cheese is in one and our Fisherman’s Stew is in the other!)


On Sunday, October 27th we’ll be hosing another pop-up brunch by Chef Mark Pelliccia.  Seatings are available from 9am-Noon and can be made on-line here.  Check out our previous blog here to see all of the menu details, and enjoy dining by day at the Rocket!



Halloween is always a fun time at the Rocket!  This year (Thursday, October 31st of course!) instead of our regular dinner service, we’ll be throwing a pre-party dinner party for you!  Meaning, we’ll be doing tray-passed hors d’oeuvres from 6-9pm for a flat fee at the door, and you can still make it to your “real” Halloween party afterwards too!  Entry will be $20 for those of you not in costume, and only $15 for those of you who dress up, so get with the program, and get into the spirit!  Drinks will be available at the bar, and we’ll run our Happy Hour drink specials all night for you (a select $3 draught beer, $2 sake shots and $5 house wines & sangrias.)







Aaaaand, last but not least, we’ve announced our San Diego Beer Week 2013 Schedule!!  Join us November 1st-10th for some awesome beer features and pairings in this year’s fun “10 Days of Beer Week” theme!  Click on the link above for all of the beery details!!  (And look forward to seeing all of your Sea Rocket servers in our special Beer Maid outfits all week long!)


Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook for other general news and daily updates!

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September Newsletter

Written on September 6, 2013 at 6:19 am, by

Sunday, September 15th: Pop Up brunch with Mark Pelliccia
Join local chef and baker Mark Pelliccia for a pop up brunch right here at Sea Rocket Bistro on Sunday, September 15th.  We will be seating from 9am-Noon and will be taking reservations as usual.  If it’s a hit, we’ll probably make it a regular thing, so come check it out and let us know how you like it!  Mark’s menu and other details will be posted soon on our blog.


Monday, September 16th: Mexican Independence Day
On September 16th, 1810, Mexican-born Spaniards started an 11-year rebellion to free themselves and the rest of the country from Spanish colonial rule.  Join us to celebrate Mexican Independence Day south-of-the-border style with some of Chef Tommy Fraioli’s specials including some Pork Belly Tacos and Chile Verde.  Specials will be available from open to close, along with our usual Monday Night $10 Grass Fed Burger special.



Friday, September 20th: Park(ing) Day
Park(ing) Day is “an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks.”  Last year we hosted a sit-in in a parking spot right outside of the bistro, so will probably be doing it again on the 20th, but either way it will be happening around town so look for the Park(ing) Day temporary parklet near you!





Saturday, September 28th: Tour de Fat!
The annual Tour de Fat (“beer, biking & bemusement” festival) is happening on Saturday the 28th this year, at the same Golden Hill Park location as last year.  Come out for the parade (on your bike, of course!) at 11am or just hang out for an afternoon of crazy biking games and contraptions, cabaret shows, and music.  It’s a blast.  Come in to the Rocket for dinner afterwards and we’ll give you 10% Off your entire check!  Yes, we like biking just that much.


Monday, September 30th: 30th on 30th
30th on 30th continues with a community-wide tasting tour, where we always feature a special beer paired starter for $10-$15, announced on our facebook page the day before.



Heads up to Taste of North Park 2013!
Taste of North Park will be on Saturday, October 5th from 11am-4pm this year.  Get your tickets on-line here, and follow updates on facebook here!

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August Newsletter

Written on August 7, 2013 at 7:36 am, by

This Thursday (tomorrow!!) we’re featuring some beers from Acoustic Ales Experiment- four a la carte pairings created to highlight all of the wonderfully complex flavors of their brews.  Come meet the brewer or just stop in to sample these beers in our usual Thursday special $8 Beer Tasting Flight!

Our Gluten Free beer pairings went off famously last month and we will have all of these New Planet beers on our menu for a while, so if you need gluten-free beer options, keep Sea Rocket in mind!


An event that we’re really excited about and looking forward to being a part of is CiclosDias, a multi-community street event encouraging people to walk, bike, stroll, skate, etc. on streets unencumbered by vehicular traffic.  It’s gonna be an awesome, exhaust-free display of pedestrianism!

We will be open with a Lunch Menu + Drinks from 11am until dinner service resumes, Roast Coach Coffee will be operating as usual out front, from 1-3pm local author Stephanie Weaver will be setting up a table to promote her book and give out free doggie biscuits, and from 2-4pm we will have some amazing local music on the sidewalk for you from our friend and former employee Amanda Portela via her band Viva Apollo!  Our corner’s gonna rock, so stop by for a beverage, snack, or just to say hello on your way along the route!


For the August 30th on 30th tasting we will feature AleSmith Old Numbskull Barleywine paired with a fresh fig dish to be determined.  Figs have started to roll in from our South Park neighbor Nancy Tarbell, so you should be seeing figs on our menu in various forms hopefully for the next couple of months…nice sweet Black Mission Figs…yum!

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July Newsletter

Written on July 8, 2013 at 6:46 pm, by


We released our new Summer Menu last weekend!  Check out some of our newest preparations like Chef Tommy Fraioli’s Smoky Summer Gazpacho, the new veggie mix on our gnocchi and yellowtail plates which include grilled corn, baby squash, and grape tomatos, or what has already swiftly became a guest favorite: the Spicy Grilled Baja Shrimp with a pickled watermelon and cucumber salsa and blistered peppers.  Mmm mmm.  My personal favorite is our new stew base which is made with some of our cocktail sauce- nice and spicy with minced shallots and wine, plus the usual shellfish and house-made fish sausage.



On Thursday, July 11th we’ll be offering four summery sessionable beers from Green Flash Brewing Co. paired with small plates featuring our newest menu items.  Click here for details and come enjoy these beers in our 4-beer tasting flight as well for just $8 all night!



Sunday, July 21st from 3-6pm we have Guest Chef Jenn Felmley back in the house for a Moroccan-themed Vegan Cooking Class.  Check out the awesome menu on our blog here, and reserve a spot on-line!  Classes are $65 per person and all-inclusive of culinary instruction, food, tax, and a beverage pairing with the meal.


On Wednesday July 24th, we will be closed for a private event – a Women in Security Mixer hosted by the San Diego chapter of ASIS (American Society for Industrial Security).  If you are in the security industry and interested in a fun night of networking Sea Rocket style, feel free to register here and join in!


Are you trying to avoid gluten?  Did you know that we always carry at least one gluten-free beer on our drink list?  For 30th on 3oth this month (Tuesday, July 30th) we’ll be featuring several gluten free beers from Colorado brewery New Planet.  Chef Tommy will create special gluten-free small plates to pair with them, and/or you can also just try them all in our four beer tasting flight!  We’ll feature their Pale Ale, Amber Ale, Belgian Ale, and Raspberry Ale.

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June Newsletter

Written on June 17, 2013 at 2:10 pm, by

Thanks so much to everyone who came out to celebrate our 5 Year Anniversary June 1st!  We had a blast celebrating with you and Chef Tommy Fraioli’s 5 for $55 pairing menu went over quite famously!  Next up, we will be throwing an even bigger party to show our appreciation for the building that we inhabit- the Lynhurst is 100 years old this year and we’ve collaborated with all of our colleagues to throw a block party of sorts on Saturday, June 29th from 12-5pm.  There will be quite a bit going on, so make sure to check the details on our blog here and put it on your calendar now in advance so you don’t forget!



Thursday, June 20thArtist’s Reception with Randy Crawford
We’re hosting a reception and wine tasting to celebrate the new art that is now on our walls!  $15 at the door will include a variety of hors d’oeuvres + 4 tastes of wine courtesy of Titan Wine & Spirits.  There will be several additional pieces at the show available for purchase that are not part of our installation, but the items we have hung will be on display through July.  All pieces are for sale (at very reasonable prices) and we think they look amazing on our walls!  Click here to read about the wines we’ll be sampling and learn more about Randy.

Saturday, June 29thLynhurst 100 Year Anniversary Celebration
Don’t miss out on a fun block party celebrating the cornerstone building of commerce and camaraderie that is the Lynhurst!  At 2pm Todd Gloria along with folks from various historical societies, North Park Main Street, and the current landlord will join us for a brief recognition ceremony and all current businesses in the building will offer different anniversary specials from 12-5pm.  At 3pm the North Park Historical Society will give a tour of the area.  We hope you’ll come out and join us for this unique and collaborative event!

Sunday, June 30th30th on 30th
This monthly taste of the neighborhood continues every 30th of the month.  Our beer pairing special will be announced later on our blog and via facebook.



We are now using SeatMe for on-line reservations instead of Open Table.  It’s still as easy as ever to make reservations on-line…just click the “reserve now” link at the top right of any of our web pages and you get a very similar, straightforward process of booking a table any night you like!  The only significant thing about it being that if you try to book directly through an existing Open Table account now, you will no longer see us on their restaurant list, so all reservations must now be booked directly through our website rather than theirs! Please let us know if you have any questions or comments on this change.


We’ve started a “Cocktail of the Week” program at Sea Rocket which will feature a different mixed drink special using wine-based spirits on a rotating basis.  Featured drinks will be announced every Wednesday via facebook, so stay tuned there!


IRC New Roots Farm has started their own CSA (Community Support Agriculture) program and Sea Rocket will be one of their pick-up points! Sign up for a weekly box of fresh, local produce, farmed by refugees here in San Diego, and collect your box at the Rocket every Friday from 5-10pm.  Click here to sign up! 


Sea Rocket has been participating in a series of food tours lately.  Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon we host 15-20 restaurant hopping foodies who are on a guided tour of the neighborhood with the local company Bite San Diego.  It really is quite fun- both Dennis and I (Elena) have taken their tours in other areas to check it out!  You get a little history, trivia, and of course samples from a handful of businesses that make for an enjoyable, and filling, few hours’ stroll.  Right now you can buy tickets to one of their North Park tours and get 30% OFF using “SEAROCKET” as a discount code at checkout!


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5 Year Anniversary & Clam Bake!

Written on May 14, 2013 at 3:48 am, by

Our 5 Year Anniversary is coming up!!  This is what we’ll be doing to celebrate, and we really hope you can join us!

Friday, May 31st – Sunday, June 2nd
5 for $55 5-Course Pairing Menu with your choice of beer or wine pairings (price is inclusive of food & beverages!)  Plus $5 Glasses of Champagne all weekend, any time!

On Saturday, June 1st, our official anniversary date, we’ll be throwing a party in the form of a Clam Bake.  From 12-5pm we’ll be outside grilling it up, and the restaurant will be open for casual seating and beverage service.  Our regular menu will then resume at 5pm so if you want to enjoy the clam bake, you need to come down during the day!


 5 for $55 PAIRING MENU
(choose from beer or wine pairings listed)

Oyster Shooter
with Rough Draft Brewing Weekday IPA & Grapefruit Jam
no additional alcohol is paired with this course

Spinach and Arugula Salad
orange segments, grilled sardine, and citrus vinaigrette
paired with Port Brewing Anniversary Ale (Strong Pale Ale/IPA) or Brander Wines Natalie Cuvee

mole, raisins, banana puree, and greens
paired with Cismontane 3rd Anniversary Strong Belgian Ale or Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon

Pork Belly
beets, beet greens, frisee, and apple chutney
paired with Stone Brewing 16th Anniversary Ale or Chacewater Winery Malbec

Peach Creamsicle
peaches, cream, and Chronic Cellars Spritz & Giggles sparkling wine
no additional alcohol is paired with this course

Also available all weekend long will be our Anniversary Beer Flight for just $10 any time, which will include the four beers listed above!  And, we had some super cool T-Shirts made by local printer Andy Loy of Extra Graphic, with graphic design courtesy of neighbor Clay Summers of Propoganda Creative.  They’ll be for sale for $15 if you’d like to own one!

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May Newsletter

Written on May 6, 2013 at 7:07 pm, by

Well, this is a very exciting time of the year for us here at the Rocket!  Our 5 Year Anniversary is coming up and we have some fun things planned for the weekend of 5/31-6/2 (June 1st being our official anniversary date.)  A few other events will be happening before then, and those are outlined below.  Just click on the active links for more detailed information about any events you are interested in, and please mark your calendars now so you don’t forget to stop by on June 1st for our special Anniversary Clam Bake!

Saturday, May 11th: Vegan Cooking Class with Chef Jenn

Sunday, May 12th: Mother’s Day Prix Fixe Menu

Thursday, May 16th: Grant & Roger Guest Bartending Night
Our good friends and neighbors Grant Ferrier and Roger Lewis of South Park will be guest bartending for us from 6-10pm, and each of them will be creating a special mixed drink featuring some of their favorite local ingredients.  Grant runs this farm in Fallbrook that we got our beautiful blood oranges from this spring, and Roger is a former restauranteur and current advocate for sustainable city planning and development. Grant and Roger will be mixing up several blood orange inspired drinks such as “martinis,” spritzers, a randy, and sangria.  Blood oranges are at the end of their season, so this will probably be your last chance to sample beverages made with these amazing little fruits!

Saturday, May 18th: North Park Festival of the Arts, 11am-6pm
Just a friendly reminder about this long-standing arts & music street fair!  Go, have fun, it’s your neighborhood!

Monday, May 27th: We will be CLOSED in observance of Memorial Day this year.

Thursday, May 30th: 30th on 30th will kick off our anniversary weekend with a cask-tapping of Rough Draft’s Weekday IPA with Grapefruit (brewed just for our special weekend!)  Guest Chef Rob Rubalcaba will prepare our food pairings for the night: Raw Ahi or Vegan Tostadas made with beans, sushi rice, wasabi-avocado, serrano, and sriracha topped with shredded cabbage and pico de gallo.



Friday, May 31st – Sunday, June 2nd: Sea Rocket Bistro 5 Year Anniversary Events!
We’ll be hosting a 5-hour long Clam Bake on Saturday, June 1st, a 5-Course Pairing Menu Friday through Sunday nights, and offering $5 Champagne all weekend long!  Can you see the theme??  ;-)  Our 5 for $55 Pairing Menu details will be announced next week on our blog, so check back here or on facebook for details and updates as this weekend approaches.



For those of you who like to stay in the know, or just love cool new technology…there’s a fun new up-to-the-moment way to be informed of goings on in your neighborhood called Breadcrumbs.  Check it out and download the app (for Android only so far) to follow Sea Rocket and get $2 Off any tapa during your next visit! And that’s not even the cool part- whenever you’re in the area of a place that you follow, you’ll get special offers and event reminders right to your phone so that you don’t miss out on what’s going on at your favorites spots! Click here for a quick video about how it works, or Like them on Facebook here.

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April Newsletter

Written on April 16, 2013 at 11:06 pm, by

Hello from the Rocket!  We hope you are having a wonderful April so far.  We are a bit quiet this month but rest assured we have a few things up our sleeves for the coming months, including a 100 Year Lynhurst Building block party in May, and an all-out 5-Year Sea Rocket Anniversary bash come June 1st!  Details will follow soon but for the meantime you can plan on a blowout birthday party in the style of a Clam Bake, some unique cask beer from one of our favorite local breweries (custom made just for us!) and a special celebratory pairing menu that we’ll run in the theme of our longevity.


But here are our nearer future happenings!  In honor of Earth Day (Sunday, April 21st), we will be showing some of the films from the documentary series Blue Planet and Frozen Planet for our Wednesday Night Movies on April 17th and 24th.  Showtime will be at 8pm now that it is getting darker so much later!

In other news, Dine Out for Life is happening on Thursday, April 25th.  Come spend your money at the Rocket and we will donate 25% of all sales for the night to help fight AIDS!






Have you been holding your breath for our next Cooking Class with Chef Jenn?  Well, you can exhale!  We’ll be hosting a “Quatros de Mayo” Cooking Class on, well, May 4th, from 3-6pm in the usual format.  Students break into small recipe groups and make the meal from scratch from start to finish, sitting down at the end of the instruction for a communal meal.  In keeping with the theme, this menu will be accompanied by a Michelada, which is included in the price of the class.  Click on the link above for more details and to register!

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