North Park welcomes Verbena Kitchen to the neighborhood

Veteran event planner Jillian Ziska has teamed up with San Diego chef Ronnie Schwandt to launch a new hospitality company that debuted July 14 with their flagship project, Verbena Kitchen in North Park.

The venue is now serving a dinner menu from 2 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, as well as Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The company will also offer catering services at the Verbena location, 3043 University Ave.

Ziska, the owner of Verbena Kitchen, is the founder of To Be Designed, which offers bespoke event planning with custom furniture, decor and venues. Schwandt formerly worked for Blue Bridge Hospitality and the Trust Restaurant Group. The team also includes general manager Dallas Juanes, who is overseeing the wine and cocktail program.

Schwandt’s kitchen program includes house-made mustards, pickling and fermentation. Dishes include Wagyu beef tartare with cured egg yolk, deviled eggs and Peruvian shrimp ceviche. The brunch menu includes “not avocado toast,” a stuffed avocado served with pickled onions, poached eggs and cauliflower tabouli, and beet poached salmon salad with local peaches and corn. Juanes’ cocktails include TeaTime, made with Earl Grey tea-soaked gin, Cherry Blossom with cherry-soaked unfiltered sake and the Wonky Donkey with lemongrass-soaked Korean soju.

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