Chef Travis Swikard’s Long-Awaited Restaurant To Open In East Village This May

Callie will offer “bright, clean, simple, and seasonal” Mediterranean-inspired dishes
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After a decade-long stint at the two-Michelin-star restaurant Boulud in New York City, Chef Travis Swikard has returned to his hometown of San Diego to launch his first solo restaurant. While the opening date has been delayed several times, Callie is now in the home stretch as it prepares for a May debut at 1195 Island Ave in East Village. 

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Swikard spoke with What Now San Diego on Wednesday, reassuring San Diegans that the plans for Callie are on track for a Spring opening.

“We need to make sure we’ll all be mentally and physically safe and ready to open,” Swikard said. “At the end of the day, I feel fortunate that we didn’t open before the shut-down. That would have been much worse than having a delay.”

On the menu, Callie will offer a range of flavors that Swikard believes will suit the San Diegan palate. The chef described how Mediterranean dishes offer “bright, clean, simple, and seasonal” flavors which perfectly complement California cuisine. 

“We have an opportunity to bring something truly unique to the area,” Swikard said. “And being from here, I know what people enjoy. Most people like to eat light, clean, vegetable-focused cuisine so that’s exactly where I’m going to meet them.”

As for the origin of the recipes, Swikard is incorporating culinary traditions from various countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

“One dish might be inspired by flavors from the Middle East, another might be a dish from the South of France, some dishes are Spanish, Turkish, Syrian — anywhere that the Mediterranean Sea touches,” Swikard said. “I just love those flavors. Bright, clean, simple, and seasonal.”

Olivia Langen

Olivia Langen is a food and culture journalist who has written her way around the world. After traveling from Moscow to Mumbai and Tokyo to Taipei, she has found her way back to sunny Southern California. There, she spends her free time reading fiction, learning languages, and playing music.
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