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MO’s Universe to open new restaurant in Hillcrest



The MO’s Universe Group is adding a new restaurant called insideOUT to the revitalized section of Hillcrest landscape on University Avenue in March 2018. This venture will bring their food service industry and entertainment reach to a total of five in the area.

 Already established in the community are their four brands: Baja Betty’s, Hillcrest Brewing Company, Gossip Grill, and the popular eatery and nightspot Urban Mo’s.

The new location will move into the eye-catching Eitol (Eye-Toll) Towers located at 1642 University Avenue.

You may have seen the 13 colorful towers of this mixed-use building in the neighborhood already. 

Architect and developer, Mike Burnett said he wanted the MO’s brand involved with the project from the very beginning.

“Having been a longtime patron of Mo’s and Betty’s, I was familiar with their commitment to our community, their brand and most importantly their staff,” said Mike, noting that he had never met Matt Ramon or Chris Shaw before, “But since I regularly attend the Dreamgirls show every Wednesday night, it was an easy connection to make. I knew they would fit the space great because my design intent was ‘upscale causal fun’ and it needed to extend more energy down University.”

Ramon is the director of the MO’s Universe Group and came up with the concept of the restaurant, building upon the theme of The Eitol Towers and his pride for the community. 

“insideOUT, or iO as we have already nicknamed it,” says Ramon. “is a casual, elegant restaurant that features an atrium surrounded by 13 live/work towers juxtaposed to contrast with San Diego’s gorgeous blue skies, floor to ceiling glass front windows on the inside dining room and bar, a heated water feature (the boi pond), a switchback walkway with seating nooks to relax, see and be seen with a few more surprises along the way.”

“The name is a nod to the LGBTQ community – we’re an out and proud LGBTQ owned and operated business,” He adds. 

Local entertainer and fashion designer Paris Sukomi Max has been brought on board to manage insideOUT. Paris is excited to bring something new to Hillcrest, “all while hiring from within our LGBTQ community. From custom tables built by local furniture designer Sven Hasselberg, to our craft cocktail menu developed by Gossip Grill’s very own Moe Girton.”

Adds Paris, “We are creating a space that has the same quality service MO’s Universe is known for, with an elevated lounge experience.”

In the kitchen is Maryjo Testa from Gossip Grill who will create insideOUT’s mouthwatering cuisine. Testa has been abroad learning different techniques to gain more knowledge and understanding of food on a global scale. 

“I’ve returned to share my culinary skills with some of my most favorite dishes: Grilled Spanish Octopus, Seven Spiced Moroccan Chicken Tagine and Paella style Fideo Pasta.”

In addition to these European inspired dishes, she will also be taking us around the world with Tableside Asian Poke and Australian Hot Stone, and Do-It-Yourself Grilled Steaks.

MO’s Universe is aiming for a March opening, but no official date has been set. 

Keep checking back to SDGLN for further updates.

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