Little Thief Restaurant-In-Residence To Transition From Drew Bent’s Papalito To Elliott And Kelly Townsend’s Long Story Short

North Park’s Little Thief Wine Bar & Kitchen, located at 3017 University Avenue, will transition its restaurant-in-residence from Drew Bent’s Papalito to Elliott and Kelly Townsend’s Long Story Short in August.

Little Thief bids goodbye to Papalito

“We had an unforgettable nine months with Chef Drew and Papalito, and now we are thrilled to welcome Mesa Agricola and subsequently Long Story Short,” said Little Thief Managing Partner, Patrick Ballow. “We are transitioning from a 10-out-of-10 to a 10-out-of-10 to a 10-out-of-10, and we can’t wait for food and wine enthusiasts from a different part of San Diego to experience the excellence of Mesa Agricola and Long Story Short in their own backyard.”

Bent, a Michelin-awarded chef from his time at Lola 55 in downtown, started Papalito as an inspiration from Sonoran-style Mexican BBQ. It was a sophisticated, yet casual nod to the flavors, spices, and techniques within the Sonoran culinary tradition of slow smoked meats and sandwiches.

“It has been an amazing ride, my team and I learned a lot, and I am grateful to the Little Thief team for the opportunity,” Bent said. “The new concept from Long Story Short will crush it, and I am stoked to have Elliott’s and Kelly’s food not far from my new spot, Papalo, in the East Village.”

Mesa Agricola takes up temporary residence until July 30

Papalito, which began its residency last August, had its final day of service Sunday, May 21. Chef Juan Gonzalez of Mesa Agricola will take over the kitchen on an interim basis Wednesdays to Sundays from May 24 – July 30.

Mesa Agricola, which includes Gonzalez’s wife, Megan Strom, who farms the produce used in his cooking, will remain at Vino Carta Solana Beach on its normal Mondays-and-Tuesdays schedule during the transition phase.

Long Story Short Takes the Spotlight, August 2

Long Story Short will then start its full-time residency on Wednesday, August 2 after concluding a 20-month run at Vino Carta, the sip-and-shop wine bar and store in Solana Beach.

Long Story Short was the first culinary residency at Vino Carta Solana Beach beginning in December 2021. Chefs Elliott and Kelly spontaneously craft their menu of California cuisine every few weeks based on what they can source locally and seasonally from Chino Farm in Rancho Santa Fe.

“We are most looking forward to great weather this summer and great weather means great ingredients,” Elliott and Kelly Townsend said. “We are looking forward to cooking in the community we live in. Being close to home means a lot to us.”

To keep up to date with Long Story Short, follow them on Instagram.

What’s Cooking at Vino Carta Solana Beach

Mesa Agricola will assume the full-time kitchen role at Vino Carta Solana Beach beginning August 2. Strom and Chef Juan own a 1/4-acre plot of land in Valley Center where they grow vegetables, and each Sunday, Strom harvests the produce and hands it off to her husband. The farm-to-table menu changes every week depending on what’s best available.

Prior to moving to San Diego, Strom farmed 120 acres in Coachella from 2010-2022. Chef Juan is influenced by the flavors his native Baja, Mexico along with pre-Hispanic cooking techniques.

Reservations for Mesa Agricola at Little Thief can be made here.

For more info on Little Thief Wine Bar & Kitchen, visit the website here and follow them on Instagram.

See you there, San Diego!

The Latest