Leña Craft Mexican opens above Prospect

Co-owners Rosendo and Christina Lomeli with the wood-burning oven at Lena. (Not pictured: son Andre)
(Ashley Mackin)

After a quiet opening March 15, Leña’s Craft Mexican restaurant is now serving rustic, family-style Mexican food and cocktails above 909 Prospect St. Specializing in sustainably sourced ingredients and handed-down recipes, the eatery is run by the Lomeli family.

Father Rosendo oversees the kitchen, mother Christina helps with the ingredient sourcing, and Andre helps manage the floor. “We focus on sustainability and thoughtful food sources,” Andre said. (Posted in the restaurant, by the way, is a list of the local providers that supply Leña’s ingredients, such as Suzie’s Farm and Mary’s Free Range Chicken.) “We use organic ingredients when available, and hormone-free pasture-raised meat. Everything is made in house, especially our tortillas, which are hand made using GMO-free corn.”

The menu focuses on recipes from the Yucatan and Oaxaca areas of Mexico, Andre said. “Everything on our menu is unique, but our specialty is a pork dish called Cochinita Pibil. It’s slow roasted for 12 hours, wrapped in banana leaves, served in its own broth with a charred salsa and tortillas,” he said. “It’s something I grew up on.”

While the food menu is traditional, the drink menu is anything but. With specialty cocktails inspired by restaurant standards (including a margarita with jalapenos and cucumber, and a Tamarind Mescal Sour), the bar features local beers on tap and in bottles, wine, cold brew coffee, Mexican sodas and kombucha.

In addition to Andre, Christina and Rosendo, other members of the Lomeli family own restaurants throughout California and the United States, but Leña is the first for San Diego. The La Jolla location, Andre said, “Is a great space, with a patio overlooking Prospect Street and the ocean. From the beginning, we had a vision of what we wanted, and now we have it.”

Leña is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. (858) 263-4190.