Get a Sneak Peak Inside Ponyboy Restaurant & Bar, Coming to the Iconic Pearl Hotel

Nearly 70 years after its arrival onto the San Diego boutique hotel landscape, Point Loma’s iconic mid-century modern The Pearl Hotel will soon unveil the latest chapter in its storied history with an ambitiously reimagined restaurant and bar: Ponyboy.

The Pearl Hotel

Partnership With New Hospitality Group ‘Service Animals’

Casetta Group, the boutique hospitality brand that ushered in a redesign of the 23-room property in 2020, has partnered with newly minted hospitality group Service Animals to bring the food and beverage concept to life.

The inspiration behind Ponyboy extends beyond its décor and menu. Named after the protagonist of S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, the restaurant conveys the spirit of individuality and rebellion in a time when hope and resilience were pivotal to navigating the challenges of a changing world.

You’ll sense the nod to cultural iconography as you step into a space that feels both familiar and refreshingly new. The ambiance is designed to harken back to a bygone era when traditional American comfort foods and elaborate dinner parties were both fashionable and fun.

The Team Behind Ponyboy

Ponyboy is the brainchild of Ian Ward, the venerable cocktail “Doctor” of the local bar scene and former Bar Director of 3-star Michelin-honored Addison for the past eight years.

Ponyboy at The Pearl Hotel

As Creative Director of Service Animals, Ian joins a host of Addison alums and local hospitality heavyweights:

  • Danny Romero, Culinary Director for Service Animals, worked in the kitchens of Addison and Wormwood before launching his fine-dining pop-up, Two Ducks, with his brother Dante.
  • Kyle South serves as the Wine Expert of Service Animals and is the lead sommelier of Addison, where he curates a multi-million dollar wine cellar that spans centuries.
  • Dante Romero, the other duck of Two Ducks and newly appointed Executive Chef of The Lion’s Share, spearheads menu development for the group.
  • Patrick Virate, Hospitality Expert, has excelled in roles spanning from hosting to management to playing a pivotal role in a team that took Addison to a rare and prestigious transition from zero to three Michelin stars.
The Pearl Hotel

The Menu

The menu is creatively developed to reflect Ponyboy’s DNA: youthful, moody, rebellious, artistic, timeless, and thoughtful, with whimsical approaches to well-loved modern classic dish and drink recipes.

“Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.”

Executive Chef Josh Reynolds (MRKT Space, Stone Brewing World Bistro, Wormwood) leads kitchen operations and will creatively collaborate with the Service Animals team to bring the menu to life.

Relying on their close relationships with local farmers, fishermen, and ranchers, the team will combine the best seasonally driven ingredients that San Diego has to offer with modern interpretations of mid-century-inspired dishes.

The 60s was a time of innovation in home cooking, with new gadgets and gonzo ingredients sparking adventurous approaches to food presentation and preparation.

Expect the Ponyboy menu to mix irreverence and mid-century dogma for an entirely new spin on the vintage housewife meets Mad Men vibe.

Menu highlights include:

Ponyboy Starters

  • Fun with Fondue: Vintage fondue sets will include artisanal cheeses, fresh local farm fruits and vegetables, Companion Bread Co. rye cubes, and, of course, fondue forks.
  • Summer in Aspic : The showiest of salads will feature peak-of-the-season farmers’ market produce in a throwback Aspic mold for an elegant, jiggly ride.
  • “Ambrosia Salad”: The Ponyboy version combines summer-sweet compressed watermelon, shaved coconut, and mint panna cotta.
Ponyboy bar and restaurant

Ponyboy Mains

  • The Ponyboy “Tuna Casserole: Potato-crusted local BlueFin Tuna, a nod to the legacy of San Diego’s tuna fishing industry and the Portuguese fishermen who brought their rich cultural heritage to the city.
  • The classic Chicken Kiev makes a comeback with burnt honey butter and Robuchon potatoes.
  • James Beard’s Favorite Burger*: Complete with beefsteak tomatoes, little gem, and red onion on potato brioche. Just how he liked it. Optional fondue cheese. *A percentage of proceeds will benefit a local charity helping to alleviate food insecurity.

Ponyboy Desserts

  • Cherries Jubilee: flambéed summer cherries over silky pistachio ice cream
  • Housemade Rocky Road Ice Cream: a beloved classic ideal for hot San Diego summer nights

As expected, Ward is taking over the bar with cocktails that honor the history and beautiful aesthetic of the hotel. Expect to imbibe expertly crafted mid-century era cocktails from Monte Carlo’s and Sloe Gin Fizz’ alongside beef stroganoff tableside or Mint Juleps and Frozen Grasshoppers poolside.

As far as non-alcoholic cocktails go, New York Egg Creams, traditional Micheladas, and Old-Fashioned Polar Bears are showcased for those who don’t drink alcohol but still want to flip their lids.

Hotel loyalists locally and beyond who have been visiting The Pearl for years will be comforted to know that while much will change, some key elements will remain the same, including the wildly popular weekly Dive-In cinema series enjoyed around the oyster-shaped pool.

See you there!

Ponyboy restaurant and bar will open this summer with bar and dinner service from Wednesday to Sunday from 5 PM to 10 PM and Golden Hour from 4 PM to 5 PM. For more information, follow Ponyboy Restaurant and Bar on Instagram.

The Pearl Hotel is located at 1410 Rosecrans St, San Diego. Visit the website here for more info.

See you there, San Diego!

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