A Day in the Life of the University Heights Food Scene

One of the best and worst parts about living in the University Heights neighborhood of San Diego, California is the incredible food scene along Park Boulevard.

I wish that I had the willpower to avoid eating out all the time, but I love having so many great options within walking distance of my front door. So, when it came to picking a subject for my "A Day in the Life" photojournalism project, I had no other choice than to feature the neighborhood's food scene as my muse.

University Heights is home to a diverse community of restaurants, cafes, bars and a brewery that continues to grow as a foodie destination in the San Diego region. Featuring everything from traditional Thai cuisine and pizza to craft cocktails and microbrew ales, the community is centered around a strip of restaurants on Park Boulevard that inspire patrons to taste outside the box.

Where are some of your favorite places to eat and drink in San Diego? Comment below with your favorite spots.

Drivers unload food products from a truck during a deliver to Madison on Park Boulevard in the University Heights neighborhood of San Diego, California on Monday, March  25, 2019.

Kelsey Hansen snacks on a vegetarian breakfast sausage sandwich outside of Lestat’s on Park. Lestat’s is a cafe and local study spot open 24 hours a day, 365 days out of the year.

During a vacation to San Diego from New Jersey, Jeanette Descosio eats a breakfast sandwich at Lestat’s on Park. As a vegetarian, Descosio said she appreciates the great number of meatless options at restaurants in University Heights.

Meraki Café barista Drew Kerner prepares to pour a shot of espresso in University Heights. Meraki Café serves breakfast, lunch and coffee from the Adams Avenue storefront, specializing in the house-made syrups used in their lattes. Kerner has worked at Meraki since April 2018 and said, “I love it — we have a cool customer base (in University Heights).”

Meraki Café baristas use a house-made, naturally-flavored syrup in their signature lavender latte, paired here with a mini pistachio cake.

University Heights denizen Dave Lively walks his dog Dexter after picking up coffee from Twiggs in University Heights. Twiggs is a popular cafe and bakery with two locations in San Diego, California.

CEO Jairo Martinez and barista Mitchell Loving work alongside one another in the Yipao Coffee Patio truck. Located around the corner from Twiggs on Madison Avenue, Yipao serves Columbian coffee that it roasts in San Diego, California.

Brewers at Kairoa Brewing Company make a wide selection of craft beers, including the Ostrich Oatmeal Stout.

Bartender Giancarlo Fonesco polishes glasses during his shift at Kairoa Brewing Company. Upon opening in February, Kairoa became the first brewery in University Heights and includes a high-end, New Zealand-inspired menu. Fonesco worked at Red House Pizza next door for three and a half years before transferring to sister restaurant Kairoa when it opened earlier this year.

Bartenders at the newly renovated Small Bar create a unique menu of craft cocktails for the restaurant’s house menu. The Sandpaper & Silk, currently featured on the current menu, is made with London Dry Gin, blackberry orgeat, absinthe, sparkling wine, lemon and mint.

The sun sets behind the iconic University Heights neon sign on Park Boulevard in San Diego on Monday, March 25, 2019.

Photo Essay by Lauren J. Mapp

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