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BUSINESS PROFILE: Local Habit, locally-inspired food and beer in the heart of Hillcrest

SAN DIEGO -- Hillcrest is home to an abundance of outstanding restaurants, but not all of them pride themselves on their use of local ingredients and focus on local beers. Local Habit, though, is so committed to this concept that it reflects it in its name.

Situated in the middle of Hillcrest’s bustling Fifth Avenue shopping and dining district, Local Habit has been around for nearly three years, and has recently seen a change in ownership and management. The restaurant and its offerings, however, have changed very little since this changing of the guard and the new owners say they remain committed to providing a comfortable dining and drinking experience utilizing the best local ingredients possible.

SDGLN recently spoke with Tammy Soto, Local Habit’s new executive chef, who said she is excited about being part of the restaurant’s unique concept. When asked to elaborate on that concept, Soto describes Local Habit as serving "Louisiana-inspired food using California ingredients."

Soto has worked hard to develop relationships with local farmers, who are able to provide her with the best possible produce, meat and other items so that the dishes are always fresh and delicious.

“I am in contact with several growers and we serve what is available from them throughout the year, which is why our menu is ever changing and our daily specials reflect them as well,” Soto said.

Soto says that one of the few things she did change about the menu was that the “Fine Fare” section is now designed to constantly change. This way, Soto can provide dishes that are as fresh as possible based on what’s in season at the time.

And for those who have never tried Southern food before, Soto assures them that there will be something on the menu that they will love.

“We are very accommodating to many different dietary restrictions, gluten intolerant, vegetarian, vegan, lactose intolerant, you name it - you can eat here,” Soto said.

The service staff is also very dedicated to provide an outstanding dining and drinking experience to every single customer and are ready to answer questions and offer suggestions to even the most inexperienced diners.

“There are so patient with people and will help them find what they like,” Soto said.”They are trained to help people find dishes to suit their needs and tastes and are happy to do that.”

And there is beer! Soto says that Local Habit has the best tap list in Hillcrest.

Drew Murphy, Local Habit’s bar manager, spend a great deal of time searching out the best beers, while keeping his eye on the local concept. He reaches out to small breweries to showcase the newest, tastiest brews and ensures that there is always an exciting selection available.

Local Habit’s interior is comfortable, accessible and inviting. There are tables for small and large groups, and a cozy bar for those who want to stop by to just enjoy a beer.

Hours and information

Local Habit, located at 3827 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest is open daily.

Lunch is served Monday-Friday from noon to 4:30 pm and Saturday-Sunday from 11 am to 4:30 pm with a number of specials available.

Happy hour is from 3-6 pm Monday-Friday, and all day on Tuesdays. Happy hour specials include $1 off beer and wine, and $4 side dishes.

Additional information is HERE.

SDGLN's Taste Buds crew will soon be doing a review of Local Habit's food and dining options. Check back soon for that!

First Brewmasters Dinner of 2014

Local Habit’s first Brewmasters Dinner of 2014 will be held Thursday, Jan. 16 at 6:30 pm and feature a five-course beer pairing dinner. Menu items will be created by Chef Nick Brune to be paired specifically with Modern Times Brewery beers.

This full pairing menu is here.

Tickets are $50 and can be purchased here.

Left photos

Top photo: Local Habit's Rabbit Gumbo

Middle and bottom photos: Shots of Local Habit's interior