Party of One Paseo
40-plus reasons to celebrate at the new Carmel Valley shopping village
Posted on July 1, 2019
Step inside. That’s the first order of business at this eat-shop-love project off Del Mar Heights Road in Carmel Valley. Beyond the hulking parking structures and adjacent home construction is a retail cocoon where the interior courtyard beckons patrons to linger longer. With meandering pathways, dining verandas, and a greenbelt boasting a heroic tree trunk for the kiddos, it feels wholly out of the fray.
The “urban village” (as Kilroy Realty Corporation calls it) is home to more than 40 retailers and restaurants, most of which are opening by late summer. Expect national heavyweights: Shake Shack, Blue Bottle, North Italia, Salt & Straw, SoulCycle, Cava, and International Smoke, some of which have existing San Diego locations. But the local representation is what brings the village vibe. Sephora and Tesla chargers alone can’t achieve that.
Upon further inspection, milestones are in the making here. Consider the northern migration of San Diego businesses with the second coming of Shop Good, the cult-followed organic beauty purveyor in North Park. Founder Leah Kirpalani is in good company with neighbor Pigment, the Boho chic outpost, as well as the family-owned Specs Optometry in South Park, both setting up shop here. Not long ago, North Park in North County seemed implausible.
Meanwhile, Orange County’s southerly winds bring us The Butchery, a high-minded grocer and grass-fed gastro café; West of Camden, a Huntington Beach boutique, is elevating grit for the whole family. Have brood? The mini-me crowd will revel in Faherty, the SoHo iteration of surf attire housed under a thatched roof. And don’t miss the locally owned Nathan West, an ambitious double concept featuring a barbershop and wee boutique.
One Paseo’s barn exterior is an accidental bright spot for the aesthetes. It was a blank canvas for Marrow Fine jewelry designer Jillian Sassone making an overstatement with her sherbet bijou palace. Having amassed an empire with her endless stacking of custom rings, Sassone tapped Bells & Whistles for the “femme brutalist” HQ. The original S.D. design firm, which is now based in L.A., created floating jewelry cases in Easter egg hues, and behind the velvet curtain is an estrogen-fueled clubhouse for private appointments. Cloaked in high-def rose quartz wallcovering, it’s a tribute to sensory overload.
Shop Good’s Kirpalani hired another L.A. firm — Design, Bitches — for her mod space punched up in tangerine and blush color-blocking, making a bold understatement to exhibit her carefully vetted beauty selection. The color-drenched treatment room is a hydration sanctuary for organic facials. (Book now!)
Malls go to great lengths to pretend they are something else. But it takes an entrepreneur like Andrea Van De Vort to create an instant portal of escapism. At her second Van De Vort boutique, the tropical hotel lobby vibe feels more old-world Miami than new-school San Diego. And that’s precisely the point. With black-and-white marble floors, exotic animal-print dressing rooms, and lush botanicals, it’s a Shangri-La for her jet-set fashion tribe.
A little bird apparently told everyone about Parakeet Café’s third location after La Jolla and Little Italy. This sprawling indoor-outdoor café is where birdies come to worship — and not just post-SoulCycle. We’re talking bro lunches, business meetings, in-law outings, and influencer sightings. It’s part of a cheerful winning formula: Insta-ready parakeet wallpaper, mindful ingredients, and an in-house, gluten-free, sugar-free bakery and cult-followed coffee drinks like frothy charcoal lattes.
Next up? Ways & Means Oyster House is readying for a fall opening while the decidedly local founders of Saint Archer are planting their flag here with Harland Brewery. For the live-work aspect, there are 608 luxury apartments and 286,000 square feet of office space underway. onepaseo.com Gillian Flynn
Parakeet Café Interior: Photo by Vincent Knakal
Parakeet Café Exterior: photo by Haley Hill
Van De Vort: Photo by Taryn Kent