Welcome to San Diego Blog | December 5, 2019
First Solo Restaurant by Protege of Chef Boulud Coming to East Village
Chef Travis Swikard, a San Diego native, vividly remembers the moment he knew he would be a chef. He was four years old watching his father deglaze a pan with Cognac as the flames erupted a culinary passion ignited!
The countdown to one of 2020s highly-anticipated new projects officially starts now with the reveal of Callie! The debut restaurant from Chef Travis Swikard also marks his return to San Diego after spending more than a decade in New York City, as a critical member of revered Chef Daniel Boulud’s team.
Chef Swikard started his cooking career while in high school and afterward enrolled in the New England Culinary Institute. From there, Chef Swikard traveled to England to train at Chef Phil Thompson’s acclaimed, Auberge du Lac. Returning to the States in 2008, Chef Swikard was invited to New York by Chef Gavin Kaysen. Chef Swikard swiftly moved up the ranks in the Michelin starred Cafe Boulud, until he helped open Boulud Sud, a contemporary Mediterranean restaurant on the Upper West Side also being named the Executive Chef in 2013.
It was through participation in the development of Boulud Sud’s menu that Chef Swikard found his muse. The name Callie comes from “kallos,” meaning beautiful in Greek. The food reflects influences from Greece, Spain, Italy, Morocco, and the Middle East. The “Cal-Med” style is due to Chef Swikard’s enthusiasm for sourcing local ingredients – from fresh yogurt made at an El Cajon market to lamb raised in Poway.
Since his arrival back in San Diego last fall, Chef Swikard has given diners a taste of what’s to come by a preview dinner at Ironside Fish and Oysters. The menu included local sand dabs grilled in grape leaves with charred Persian cucumbers, lemon-dill yogurt, and smoked trout roe and brik.
With Callie, Chef Swikard is hoping to create a restaurant that will help to support the neighborhood and bring more national recognition to San Diego as a dining destination. Geared towards communal dining, the vegetable-forward menu will feature housemade pasta, flatbreads, and homemade dishes. The East Village space will include a coffee and pastry area, 30-seat cocktail bar, lunch cafe, semi-open kitchen, and private dining room.
Chef Swikard won’t be creating Callie alone as he partnered with David Cohn and Deborah Scott of the Cohn Restaurant Group. Callie won’t be an official member of the CRG, but it will capitalize on the 15-year relationship, which gave him his first job at Kemo Sabe in Hillcrest. Chef Swikard also recently refreshed the menus at Island Prime and Coasterra as well as helped to launch Black Rail Kitchen in Carlsbad. Chef Swikard plans to continue doing pop-ups and preview dinners until Callie’s Spring 2020 opening.
Callie will be convenient for Park Blvd East, Metrome and Fahrenheit residents. Fine dining right at your doorsteps.