It took a quick three days to flip a Paseo Delicias restaurant space into Nick & G’s, the Rancho Santa Fe village’s newest dining destination. Ponsaty’s closed on Aug. 13 and re-opened days later with the new name, revamped menu and freshened-up look.
The former home of Delicias restaurant, which closed in late 2015 after more than 19 years in business, became the Grand Restaurant Group’s Ponsaty’s in summer 2016. The restaurant group decided to move in a different direction from Ponsaty’s fine dining, classical French and Spanish cuisine to the “more approachable” savory Mediterranean/Italian dining of Nick & G’s.
“We are blessed to be surrounded by an abundance of family and friends in Rancho Santa Fe. We listened to what our guests really wanted and altered our concept accordingly,” owner Sandy DiCicco said. “We will continue to listen and will always strive to make our family, friends and valued customers happy.”
“We’re trying to cater to what the community wants and from what I’ve heard so far, this is what they have been looking for,” echoed Executive Chef Brian Freerksen. “Something that is more relaxed, a friendly neighborhood place.”
Inspiration for Nick & Gs’ name came directly from DiCicco, who has been cooking up meals for DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant in her hometown of Clovis, Calif., for over 30 years. Through her family-owned and operated restaurant, the new Rancho Santa Fe resident has passed along her passion for cooking to her children, Nicolas (“Nick”) and Gianina (G).
As DiCicco always says, “Where there is food, there is family!” which is why the recently-opened eatery aims to be as welcoming as possible.
They’re offering up a selection of signature flatbreads, pastas and various Mediterranean plates, such as Pappardelle Bolognese and Pata Cabra Cheese Ravioli.
The Sunday brunch menu includes dishes such as blue crab eggs benedict, a salmon and lobster hash, and sweet bread French toast with chocolate banana stuffing. The $15 mimosas and bloody Marys are bottomless.
“We want to be a place for a family to go out to eat that’s not too expensive, someplace you can come to two or three times a week,” said Freerksen, noting he hopes people will come in for the chef’s homemade lasagna one night, grilled New York strip steak another, and maybe pop by for happy hour or brunch on Sundays. “We’re trying to appeal to everyone.”
Now heading up the kitchen, Freerksen has 25-plus years of experience, including recently opening up Urge Gastropub & Common House in San Marcos and serving as the executive chef at the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club. He was the chef de cuisine at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, as well as the executive chef for Paradise Point Resort & Spa.
Boyd Kerr, president and chief operating officer for Grand Restaurant Group, reached out to Freerksen to lead Nick & G’s — the two knew each other from working in the kitchen together about 28 years ago at the former Dakota Grill in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Freerksen quickly developed a menu to meet the group’s vision — meals seasoned to perfection and prepared fresh with local and sustainable ingredients to create signature dishes.
Freerksen said Nick & G’s has a “perfect location on the corner” but when he first came to the restaurant it was a little bit stuffy and quiet. With its reopening, he said it has gotten livelier. While the elegant dining room’s many custom-made art pieces, textures and light fixtures remain, they have overhauled the look with new tables and chairs inside and out. The front patio has been updated with new banquettes and lights in the trees and they also enclosed the interior patio and made it more of a lounge-feel — the hope is to bring in a live music.
Freerksen said he has enjoyed the livened up atmosphere in the new restaurant’s first week.
“I come out and talk to the guests every night so I can get feedback,” Freerksen said. “I’m here for them and we can only get better with feedback.”
Nick & G’s is located at 6106 Paseo Delicias in Rancho Santa Fe. The restaurant is open daily for lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., happy hour runs 4-6 p.m. and dinner is served between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. Brunch will be served on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
For more information visit nickandgs.com