Sitting on my terrace enjoying a St. Feuillien Cuvee de Noel earlier this month, I opened my Scripps Ranch community newsletter and spied news about a new restaurant called Bruski Burgers and Beer setting up shop a mere mile away from my house.
I wasted no time getting in touch with the owner and, shortly thereafter, found myself sitting across from him getting a feel for the authenticity of the operation. After all, the key to any good neighborhood bar (or eatery of any kind for that matter) is having some credible degree of genuine heart at the core. I’ll admit, I was characteristically skeptical and, while Bruskis owner Bruce Nguyen is no Tom Nickel, Scott Blair or Arsalun Tafazoli (never heard of them … get out your web browser and trace these names back to some of San Diego’s best beer-centric venues), this retired engineer was inspired to open shop by the same things that drove me to look him up—a love of non-macro beer and the lack of any place in the Ranch where residents could enjoy it.
Nguyen gained an appreciation for beer during frequent business travels to Europe and cites Germanic varieties as his absolute favorite. He admits to being a bit limited in his knowledge of the local options, but he’s studying up and is already familiar enough with known standouts including AleSmith, Port Brewing, Stone and his Scripps Ranch neighbors at Ballast Point (the world’s reigning Small Beer Company titleholder) to have put together a solid draft list spanning 24 taps (a third of which secrete local goodness). Bruski’s bottle list is also quite nice and very reasonably priced (I was able to procure a 12-ounce bottle of Dogfish Head’s 12% Palo Santo Marron for just $5).
The food is what you’d expect, both of a combo resto-watering hole and a quaint neighborhood joint. A tasty array of salads, fresh-made daily soups, burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and standard pub-style apps are on the competitively priced docket. You’ve seen the majority of these standard dishes on the menus at other bars, taverns and restaurants, but there are some thoughtful exceptions–most notably, the Monster Burger, an all-beef patty topped with an unnecessary but much welcomed kielbasa sausage.
Overall, the food is nothing complicated, and that’s by design. Instead of flashy edible frill, there’s straightforward yummy grub and, as a denizen of this nearly dining-destitute community, that’s just what the Ranch can use right now. That, and a place run by two families deeply entrenched in the community who have their neighbors’ kids taking orders and bussing tables and plan to give back via fundraisers supporting local schools, community groups and causes. Even if I weren’t a Rancher (we don’t call ourselves that, but one has to admit that it has kind of a nice ring to it), this is the kind of place I’d be more than happy to support.
9844 Hibert Street, Suite G-10, Scripps Ranch, 858.530.2739