Hillcrest to debut region's first for-charity restaurant

Hillcrest to debut region's first for-charity restaurant
Posted at 11:40 AM, Mar 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 13:57:52-04

HILLCREST, Calif. (KGTV) - Eating for a cause is something many can get behind.

San Diegans will have that chance at Libertad, located at 1027 University Ave. in Hillcrest this April. The taqueria will be the city's first for-charity eatery, where 100 percent of its profits go to local charities (which will likely change monthly.)

Libertad will serve gourmet tacos, ranging from shrimp to skirt steak and pork belly to duck confit and octopus, prepared "a la brasa," a Latin cooking method that prepares food over coal. Tacos are served quesadilla-style on house made tortillas, folded over with melted cheese.

David Cohn, of the Cohn Restaurant Group behind the concept, said while the concept is unique to San Diego, it’s something that’s been deployed with success elsewhere.

“I got the idea from a place in Portland called Oregon Public House,” Cohn said. The Oregon pub is credited with being the first-ever non-profit pub. “It’s an experiment and we realize it’s an experiment.”

One of the ways Cohn said Libertad will make sure it’s helping charities is by guaranteeing a minimum donation to the charity featured.

“Not every month will be profitable, so we thought as a company it’s important to guarantee a donation,” Cohn said. "This is kind of our way to give back to the community."

Charities will be encouraged to get the word out as well and let people know they are being featured at the restaurant.

“One of the ways it has worked in Oregon is it’s going to be up to them to make sure their members support the taco shop during the month,” Cohn said. “We found that they really try to find charities that become involved.”

The taco shop will be run like a business, though. Any profits that fall beyond expenses for a given month go right to the charity. Cohn said the restaurant group’s many other properties have allowed them to give a non-profit location a try.

And he’s betting the tacos will be enough to keep people returning to benefit the shop and charities.

“This is more of an authentic gourmet taco shop … They’re a little bit unique and I think that's important,” Cohn described the tacos planned. “We’re not that just corner drive-through taco shop.”

Libertad will be open late and feature creations from chefs who spent time studying taco cuisine in Mexico and South America, Cohn said.

Accompanying the taco shop will be BO-beau kitchen, a Cal-French-inspired eatery, and Caché, a 19th century-inspired Parisian speakeasy nestled behind Libertad serving handcrafted cocktails and international wines.

“It’ll be interesting to see,” Cohn said.

The new eateries are aiming to open in late-April.