Death By Tequila is opening a huge Mexican restaurant and bar in North Park

The sought-after multi-lot site on the northeast corner of 30th and the university that has been vacant for years won’t sit empty for too long as a huge new restaurant and bar has just begun construction in the space. Covering 4,600 square feet and due for completion in 2023, it will be Death by Tequila third location in San Diego and its most ambitious to date.

Originally opened in Encinitas in 2018 by a team that included “Top Chef” alum Angelo Sosa, Death By Tequila was acquired at the start of the pandemic by Empress Restaurant Group, which also runs the Hen House, a tapas-style brunch spot in Crown Point, as well as Crafted Culture in Saber Springs and Escondido microroaster Leap Coffee. In 2021, the group converted Madero’s, their former Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch tequila bar in Carmel Valley, into a second modern Mexican restaurant outpost.

Telling Eater that he and Empress Founder and CEO Jimmy Langley consider Death By Tequila their flagship brand, COO Joey Pena said they plan to open several more locations in San Diego beyond- beyond the North Park project.

Seating 165, the restaurant will have floor-to-ceiling windows and an indoor/outdoor bar located in its busiest corner; hanging above the cocktail bar, which will have 12 beer taps and margaritas on tap, will be tiered shelves on a pulley system stocked with a broad range of tequila and agave spirits.

The 75-seat bar and lounge will be able to be separated from the dining room and will remain open late into the night with DJ entertainment on weekends as well as live music.

While his menu, which ranges from ceviche and aguachile to tacos on homemade blue corn tortillas, and dishes like octopus with recado negro, a Yucatan spice paste and striped bass Baja al pastor will be kept, the executive chef of the Josue Baca-Gutierrez group tells Eater that he plans to expand the menu to add more mixed plates, including tomahawk steaks, table entrees and brunch; in North Park, its glass-walled kitchen will also feature a raw bar. Born and raised in Mexicali, Baca-Gutierrez has performed at Pujol in Mexico City, cooked for celebrity chef Michael Mina, and worked at the St. Regis Dana Point as well as the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines.

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