Cohn Family’s New Restaurant in OB’s Former Portugalia Set to Open this Fall

by on August 8, 2013 · 19 comments

in Culture, Economy, Ocean Beach

OB Cohn old Portugalia

The front of the former Portugalia – soon to be the OB Warehouse. Photo by Frank Gormlie.

By Candice Woo / Eater San Diego

Wondering what David Cohn was planning to do with the Ocean Beach property he purchased earlier this year? Wonder no longer; Eater’s got the scoop on the Cohn Restaurant Group‘s next project which will transform the Newport Avenue space once occupied by Portugalia.

The CRG’s frequent collaborator, designer and restaurateur Philippe Beltran, is overseeing its metamorphosis into their new OB Warehouse Street Food + Bar, slated to make its debut this fall.

OB Warehouse jw 02

The main action will happen upstairs, where the 6,000-square-foot space will hold a seating capacity of 120 on banquettes and four communal tables that span the length of the dining room. Photo by Candice Woo.

A small area on the ground level will be used as a private room, but all of the main action will happen upstairs, where the 6,000-square-foot space will hold a seating capacity of 120 on banquettes and four communal tables that span the length of the dining room. The three-station central bar will dispense craft cocktails and beer, 24 taps of it. A back patio is also in the works.

OB Warehouse jw 01

A bisected 1965 Airstream trailer will function as front wall of the kitchen. Photo by Candice Woo.

Beltran told Eater that the eatery was initially called The Garage, which would be an ultra-casual, self-serve concept; OB Warehouse will now feature table service but it’ll keep the industrial vibe thanks to repurposed metal, fixtures and tables, vintage signs and antique props. A bisected 1965 Airstream trailer will function as front wall of the kitchen.

OB Warehouse’s menu direction is still evolving, but the focus will be on bar food; potential dishes include street tacos, burgers, wings and corn dogs.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Kenloc August 9, 2013 at 7:29 am

Just what we need. Another bar,another place to get a taco,burger,or corndog. Amazing,out of the box thinking.
Like I said before,let’s have more bars open and complain about the violence and ridiculous,PB behavior that comes with them..The people that own these places do not care about your neighborhood,they are here for your paycheck.The assaults,sexual assaults,drunk driving incidents,etc.that it creates is your problem.I mentioned this before and the response was something like”It’s a Cohn restaurant. It’s not going to draw that kind of crowd.” Bar in the center,24 beers on tap.Yeah right……
Someone should do a graph that shows the numbers of crimes and police calls in the village,next to the number of liquor store and bar openings through the years.


Bearded OBcean August 9, 2013 at 10:00 am

So restaurants shouldn’t serve beer?


Jon August 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Yeah, I still disagree. All of the cohns restaurants have a bar in the middle. But they aren’t serving up $2 u call its and beer pong. To me, there’s a difference. I don’t think they want that kind of crowd. But time will tell. I do appreciate your sentiment that there should be some out of the box thinking. It would be nice to have a fun new retail shop ala urban outfitters or something. Only not as corporate. ;)

What other ideas do people have of the sort of businesses you’d like to see opening in OB besides bars, restaurants and head shops?


Catherine August 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm

A good tortilla maker/bakery.

A good butcher/fishmonger selling local/sustainable products.

More farmers at the OB Farmer’s Market.

A few more family friendly restaurants. Not Chuckee Cheese, but something akin to StationBurger in South Park.

Regarding Portugalia, alcohol licenses are tied to the physical address. So we’re not adding a new license, we’re just keeping one we already had. That’s why it’s important to consider new license applications carefully. Once in, they are there forever. For example, someone may apply for a new alcohol license for a nice Italian restaurant, but if they go out of business or sell, the new owners could easily open something more like a bar. The Cohn family runs good restaurants so I’m excited to see them have another in OB.

I’d love it if our antiques stores would have more variety beyond shabby chic.


Laura August 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm

I like the butcher idea. I would love a farm to table restaurant, something like urban solace. However, I don’t think OB could support something like that.


obracer August 10, 2013 at 6:57 am

I think the village could benefit from a Dave & Busters type business with games & food, combine old school games like pinball, skee ball with large screen video games. Beer & wine sales ? a couple bowling lanes would be great too ! ( Apple Tree ? )
I would rather see local dollars stay local as much as possible.
From what I have seen most new bars and restaurants in O.B. do very well, if O.B. doesn’t provide what residents want residents will take their money elsewhere.

I don’t know anything about the Cohn’s , but I do know the commitment and costs involved in their project should be commended, it will bring more jobs to Ocean Beach and occupy an empty building along Newport Ave.
I wish them the best of luck in their endeavor.


Gary Gilmore August 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm

I’ll second that.


Brian August 10, 2013 at 9:15 am

I am surprised we still don’t have a credit union in O.B. We have so many for profit banks in our community. I think a financial cooperative would fit nicely in Ocean Beach.


nostalgic August 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm

What businesses would I like to see in OB? George’s Shoe Hospital, Lowne’s Deparment Store (where people could buy, patterns, thread, and whatever else they need to sew), Coronet 5 & 10, and of course, Stratty’s. And to really wish, the Strand theater to see a movie.


Debbie August 11, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Would be nice to …..bring back the theater, have a bakery with fresh bread and deserts, music studio/shop to buy instruments new and used and take lessons


Bearded OBcean August 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I’d vote for good Chinese food. I don’t like having to drive out to Convoy to get some.


gristmiller August 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm

What’s the problem with “Little Chef”?


Bearded OBcean August 13, 2013 at 10:10 am

It’s not very good Chinese food. Maybe I’m spoiled since my wife is Chinese, but there’s a difference between good Chinese and not so good.


gristmiller August 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Your wife might explain to you, Chinese food is very regional at a number of levels. Little Chef presents well prepared Chinese American take out—a genre all its own. The Hot and Sour Soup is a favorite…and no, I have no financial interests.


Chev Chelios August 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm

You’re right mostly. The only thing I get there is the Kung Pow Shrimp and the cream cheese wontons. Got Mongolian Beef and Orange Chicken once and it was gross.

Where’s good Chinese at? I get old school looking Chinese restaurant menus (mentions Kofi Annan’s favorite dish) on my doorstep once in a while for some place on Midway but the reviews on Yelp are so bad I won’t go there.


Bearded OBcean August 14, 2013 at 10:31 am

You need to get out of OB, even for good American Chinese food. Try DeDe’s Teajuice City or Spicy City on Convoy. Of course, they’re more authentic. And it sounds like gristmiller is more inclined to generic takeout. In that case, try Wok In on Moreno. They are solid and deliver to OB.


Chev Chelios August 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Thanks! I’ll have to check those places out sometime and I’m gonna totally try out Wok In. Too bad OB is a one chinese restaurant town. Maybe the Cohn family’s next bar will have bomb ass chinese foo’ ood.


gristmiller August 14, 2013 at 11:47 pm

I do like a good hot pot now and then.


Laura August 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I don’t enjoy Little Chef either. I like American Chinese, it is it’s own genre that I crave (crab rangoon, general’s chicken, hot & sour soup) but West Coast American Chinese pales in comparison to East Coast Chinese. Or at least the places I’ve tried.


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