New restaurant coming to ‘premier’ Rancho Santa Fe Village space

A Rancho Santa Fe Village vacancy has been filled.

An Escondido-based hospitality management company — featuring a French Master Chef — has signed a seven-year lease for the former Delicias restaurant space in the Rancho Santa Fe Village.

The Grand Restaurant Group will headline Chef Patrick Ponsaty in its new restaurant—Ponsaty is one of only two chefs to earn the Master Chef of France prestigious designation in San Diego.

“We intend to elevate the dining experience by allowing Chef Patrick freedom to cook from the heart using five generations of family know-how,” said Sandra DiCicco, founder of Grand Restaurant Group.

Ponsaty made his name at the Rancho Bernardo Inn and later joined Loews in Coronado. The new Rancho Santa Fe enterprise will be named Ponsaty’s in honor of this master chef with a target opening date in June.

“This is a premier restaurant space in the Village where opportunities of this caliber rarely become available,” said Bill Shrader, leader of the Urban Property Group at Colliers International. “Within three months of Delicias’ departure, we secured a Master Chef-led restaurant concept that will provide an exceptional dining experience for Rancho Santa Fe.”

Shrader represents Millar Properties and the Millar family, who have owned the village property for 75 years. According to Shrader, they worked hard to fill the “iconic” restaurant space in the heart of town that had been home to a successful 25-year tenant like Delicias.

Michelle Bothof of Brush Real Estate and Financial Services represented Grand Restaurant Group.

DiCicco is a native of Clovis, Calif. and has operated Grand Restaurant Group in Escondido for the last five years.

DiCicco got into the restaurant industry 30 years ago and still operates DiCicco’s, an Italian, family restaurant in Clovis. The group now runs two of San Diego’s finest dining operations — Bellamy’s and the resort destination Bandy Canyon Ranch in the San Pasqual Valley. Ponsaty is the chef at Bellamy’s, a fine French California cuisine establishment.

“We are really blessed to have him, he is very talented,” DiCicco said, noting Ponsaty will continue to stay involved at Bellamy’s as well as the new Rancho Santa Fe spot. “Ponsaty’s will be a little more casual, we still want to have fine dining but there will be more of a mix— a casual side with the bar. Everything has happened quite suddenly. We jumped at the chance and we’re excited. Patrick will come up with something that will be amazing.”

As they are still very early in the process, DiCicco said they are just getting started on planning the look of the new restaurant, but their goal is to do a complete renovation of the 5,808-square-foot space.

“The space is beautiful, we just love the area,” said DiCicco, who moved to Rancho Santa Fe with her fiancé in December.

She is looking forward to getting to know her neighbors, who will hopefully become fixtures at the new eatery.

“It’s 10 minutes away from our home and we’re excited to open another venture,” DiCicco said. “We want to become a neighborhood restaurant where people want to go. Since Delicias left the village has been missing that and I think we will be able to fill that void.”

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