San Diego’s triple-bottom-line third place redefines ‘restaurant

If you’re looking for a benchmark restaurant that represents most everything that a restaurant should be (as far as omnivores go), The Linkery in San Diego is a necessary destination. It starts with a founder like Jay Porter, “It would be a place that would, as a business, provide a community space that would bring people together. And it would celebrate really good quality food and drink and beer in a simple way… hopefully it could be a place that could become a center for something that adds meaning and richness to life in this area.”

From its description to its blog to its primer for newbies, you’ll soon realize the craftsmanship and soul that’s poured into this place day in and day out. Some principles:

– All meat served comes from independent farmers and co-ops with integrity.
Farm-to-table locally-based produce.
– No factory-made ingredients (outside of condiments like mustard).
– Hand-crafted beer and sausages.
– Daily-changing menu based on what’s fresh and seasonal, half of which is vegetarian despite the restaurant name.
– Affordability is a key goal.
– No tipping. They have an entire section on it here.

Like Jamie Wallace of Abay Ethiopian Restaurant, Jay started his restaurant with only a tech background. All of Jay’s quotes in this entry are excerpted from an excellent interview with Jed Sundwall.

Did you have any restaurant experience before?
No. I was totally making shit up.

Really! Did you have a partner with experience?
No. They say don’t do things that you don’t have experience in because you’ll do every stupid thing possible, which I did. But by the time we opened, we’d attracted people who wanted to be a part of it. There are people with skills and knowledge who came in and said “Oh, you’re building a restaurant! What’s your plans for this?” and I’d say “I don’t know!” And they’d say “Well I need to come in here and help!” “Great!” You know?

As regulars to this website know, the impact of this third place isn’t limited to inside the walls, “Over the course of 6 months this little corner went from being basically totally unused at night to rocking.”

Thanks to Chris Radcliff for the reference.

Image source: Bonzo McGrue.

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