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Big changes coming to Eden's restaurant on June 21

SAN DIEGO -- One of Hillcrest's most popular nightlife and dining spots, Eden, is having a "Madonna moment" as the relatively new venue prepares to reinvent itself, particularly in the restaurant portion of the space.

Eden's restaurant opened last October, with the full nightlife complex opening to much fanfare in January, after the property sat vacant for nearly a year due to the abrupt closure of Universal in January, 2010.

NightLifeSD, the company that manages Eden, plans to completely overhaul the restaurant's menu and give the physical space a structural facelift over the next two weeks.

The company will then hold a grand re-opening celebration on Tuesday, June 21, where guests will get to see the venue's new concept, vibe and expanded menu selections.

The company also announced that it has promoted Ron Prestage as the restaurant's new executive chef. Prestage is a Southern California native who left a 24-year career in sales to pursue his culinary passions.

Recruited by Chef Scotty Wagner in 2009 to oversee kitchen and catering operations for Eden & ChileCo Catering, Prestage was part of the team that earned Eden its recent 'Best Restaurant' honor from San Diego Magazine.

Eden announced the departure of Wagner late last month.

NightLifeSD says Prestage's new menu will be stocked full of "un-fussy food selections, sure to please any guest."

"The revamped menu whole-heartedly embraces our desire to provide a dining experience that is reflective of the surrounding community," said Prestage in a released statment. "I have no doubt that our guests will go 'GaGa' over the new menu and will appreciate our commitment to staying colorful, casual and contemporary."

The new menu is diverse, rejecting the notion that a restaurant should limit itself to one type of cuisine, with a contemporary take on classic dishes and fresh summer selections. Menu choices will range from the "Ragin' Cajun" (a jambalaya pasta tossed with Cajun spices, blackened chicken, peppers, andouille & topped with jumbo prawns), to meatloaf burgers, cheesy tater tots, fresh salads, and ahi tacos.

The restaurant will continue its popular Sunday brunch, but with a menu that will double in size and be offered all day.

David Laurent, head of NightLifeSD, says that the new menu will be coupled with a more casual and fun feeling in the space.

"We wanted to do something fun, urban, casual and little off the wall," said Laurent.

Eden's General Manager Jerry Shipman agreed with Laurent and described some of the changes.

"T-shirts and jeans have replaced the staff’s all-black attire and the dining room will see the installation of plant walls, new lighting and fresh paint, that will really brighten the place up," said Shipman.

The company also has additional construction plans for the future, including the addition of a retractable glass garage door that will replace the dining room's front wall.

Next door, ChileCo Bistro will be replaced by Ciro's Pizzeria, the New York style pizza shop which resided in that same spot while Universal was in operation.

"Hillcrest’s hottest 'piece' is back for seconds,” said Laurent. "The popular pizza joint recently expanded operations, with a successful opening in Pacific Beach last month, making the new-again Ciro’s Hillcrest the latest locale in the line of pizza purveyors."

The grand re-opening celebration will take place on Tuesday, June 21 at 7 pm, with a hosted bar until 8 pm. For reservations, call (619) 269-3336, ext. 209.