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New restaurants coming to town

An Italian restaurant and a video store in the Village are being replaced by Henessey’s and Rubio’s restaurants.

Sante Ristorante at 7811 Herschel Ave. has been sold.

“It was time,” said John Buonsante, who’s operated the restaurant along with his father Tony. “It’s been 23 years and my father is getting to an age when he wanted to retire. We had a chance to get a good deal — and we took it. Hopefully one day we’ll open another restaurant somewhere else, New York maybe.”

Its place will be taken by Henessy’s, with a combination of Irish and English fare combined with gastro pub food.

“We are expecting to open Hennessey’s Gastro Tavern in late August or early September of this year, said Sharon Rich, Hennessey’s Tavern Inc. spokeswoman “Escrow is closing soon and then we can start the remodel.”

Rich added that they “are still experimenting with most items, but we’ve come across a couple of keepers such as kalamata olive and proscuitto bites, kobe beef and angus beef burgers with gourmet toppings, and a marinated olive plate with assorted breads.”

They’ll also feature such Irish/English dishes as “fish ‘n’ chips, grilled Irish dip sandwich and Hennessey’s own invented Irish nachos, made with potato planks in place of tortilla chips,” she added.

Hennessey’s Gastro Tavern will host live entertainment, along with wine and craft beer dinners, and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Rubio’s is remodeling the retail space vacated recently by Blockbuster Video at 7530 Fay Ave.

“We’ll be opening no later than Oct. 21,” said Larry Rusinko, the company’s senior vice president of marketing and product development. “We’re adding a lot more windows and glass. Right now (the building’s) pretty enclosed. What we want to do is open it up, put in a nice patio for outdoor dining, which is pretty important in La Jolla.”

Rusinko said the La Jolla Rubio’s will be a newer design with digital menu boards and an open kitchen.

Started in 1983 by Ralph Rubio, who got the idea for a restaurant based on fish tacos from San Felipe, the chain has since grown to 180 locations in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. The company was recently purchased by a Connecticut-based investment firm.