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The Craftsman New American Tavern


There were many a raised eyebrow when former Blanca chef Wade Hageman ditched the glitz of fine dining — a nether-region in which he excelled — to open a mild-mannered pizza joint. Few could foresee then what an immensely successful operation his Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria would become. Aptly named, it’s won the hearts of North County coastalites. Enough so that, just two years since its debut, Hageman’s on to chapter two: applying top-level technique to everyman fare presented simply yet flavorfully via the gastropub model at the former home of Savory Casual Fare. Already, every seat, stool, and communal table in his wood, brick, and beer paraphernalia-adorned foodie hub is packed to capacity on a nightly basis. Truffle popcorn, duck fat fries, and multiple varieties of slider are in keeping with current trends, as is inclusion of proteins like pork belly. Hageman’s unique little piggies appetizer is served with Manila clam chowder and shishito peppers. It’s ingenuity like this that keeps this newcomer from being just another gastropub. (760/452-2000, www.craftsmantavern.com)    BRANDON HERNANDEZ


Photography by Vincent Knakal


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