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Recipe for Success: Escondido Eats Expands into December, Giving Local Small Businesses Hope for the Holidays.


The November success of the Escondido Eats, “Fill Your Plate, Fill Your Heart” program has been extended into December with “Escondido Eats 25 Days To-Go,” which is proactive and timely considering the recently imposed three-week shutdown.  This restaurant-focused event has been reimagined by the City and Escondido Chamber of Commerce and the successful Escondido Eats program and working in conjunction with the Downtown Business Association. The event runs through Dec. 25.

Many restaurants will continue to participate in the event with to-go specialty plates, family meal deals, drinks and discounts. Additionally, local retailers will participate this month selling everything from craft-beers and vinegars to hand-made jewelry, art, antiques, and homegoods. 

“Local businesses are the backbone of our community.  The people behind the businesses -the owners, the employees, the customers, and the City team - are what make Escondido so special,” said Amber Tarrac, Escondido’s Deputy Director of Economic Development.

“Escondido Eats, a homegrown City idea, has taken off with the Chamber and Downtown Business Association’s support and has over 7,200 members in the Escondido Eats FaceBook group engaging with new restaurants and retail shops daily.  We thank the community for their support of Escondido Eats - Fill your plate, fill your heart in November.  For December, we bring you Escondido Eats - 25 Days To-Go for the community to support our local retailers, breweries, wineries, and restaurants by shopping local for your holiday gifts and food with curbside pickup and purchasing gift cards or gift certificates and to-go orders.”  

James Rowten, President and CEO of the Escondido Chamber of Commerce, added, “The program has increased awareness to participating Escondido restaurants, bringing much needed relief to the local restaurant industry. This collaborative effort combines the reach of the Downtown Business Association and the Escondido Chamber of Commerce and was sparked by the City’s desire to support local businesses.”

Below, we take a look at a couple of local businesses that are participating in Escondido Eats - 25 Days To-Go.

Tea Time at Home

The Grand Tea Room on Grand Avenue is known for its elegant and festive tea parties and dinner shows, but with the closures imposed on restaurants this month, owner Louisa Magoon has shifted her business to offer tea parties to-go. 

During the 25 Days To-Go promotion, Magoon is offering a 10% discount to anyone who orders from the menu or makes a purchase at the gift shop, and mentions the community program.

“It’s so important that we support our businesses,” said Magoon, a member of the    Escondido Chamber of Commerce and the secretary for the Downtown Business Association. 

She said she really loves the name for this event. “I think it is a very clever and catchy name. I think they probably anticipated that this was going to happen.”

The Grand Tea Room on Grand Avenue. Courtesy Photo. 

While Magoon didn’t anticipate another shut-down, she is prepared to continue to offer her delicious tea party menu to-go.  Customers can order any of the tea options from the menu and the to-go order will include beautifully constructed cardboard tiers in silver, gold, or pink that can be used to place the tea sandwiches and treats.

Magoon first used these tiers for Mother’s Day take-out orders back in May. “You put your tier together and have all your pretty food out and it’s lovely,” she said. While at-home tea parties might not be as eloquent as they are in the Grand Tea Room, Magoon has some suggestions to enhance the presentation. “Have a little vase with flowers, and make sure you set the table. Use really nice China,  silver, and have cute little napkins,” she said.

This is a delicious season to order a to-go tea party. “We have some really great teas now, ginger and chai, Autumn Leaves (cinnamon, apple, and cranberry), pumpkin creme, and a pumpkin chai,” Magoon said. 

Included in the tea order is a cup of fruit, three tea sandwiches, a scone with all the toppings, a savory choice of quiche or Shepherd’s pie, and four little desserts per person. Some of the seasonal desserts are pumpkin cupcakes, pecan bars, and apple trifles.  Magoon is hopeful that the shutdown won’t be as long as the last one and she stressed that she hopes people continue to order out. “I just want to encourage people to support our local businesses,” she said. 

The Grand Tea Room is located at 145 W. Grand Avenue. To place an order, call 760-233-9500.

Sunny Winter Treats

“Small businesses are really feeling the love,” said Kate Carpenter, owner of Sunnyside Kitchen. She and her husband Bob have been running the fresh, homemade California cuisine restaurant for just over five years. “We’re so grateful to have everybody looking out for us.” 

They are extending their gratitude by participating in 25 Days To-Go with a special that might help last-minute gift-givers. Carpenter explained, “If you buy a $20 gift certificate, a hat, or one of our travel tumblers, you get a $5 gift card.”  Carpenter said her customers have quickly adjusted once again to the stay-home order and ordering food-to-go. “This time around people are ready because they did it before,” she said.

Sunnyside Kitchen’s box lunch is very popular with companies that are feeding their essential workers throughout the week. These include a sandwich, a side of orzo, and a pickle slice. Cookies can be added as well. 

Family meals will also be available again. Some of the eatery’s most popular meals are meatloaf, mushroom chicken, turkey, and the noodle bake. All meals can be made to order and many are gluten-free. “We will be serving our Thanksgiving salad (which has turkey and craisins) through the end of the year,” said Carpenter. 

 Now is a great time to order at Sunnyside Kitchen because   the winter menu includes some yummy treats. “Our   cinnamon rolls which are very popular are continuing     through the year too,” Carpenter said. They are available on   Saturdays, unless specially ordered ahead of time.

Also available on Saturdays are homemade gingerbread cookies and the exclusive “Christmas Crack” treat with toffee, chocolate, and crackers. “It’s a fun little addicting treat,” said Carpenter.

Orders can be placed online or by phone and specialty orders should be placed a day in advance. 


December specialty treats include gingerbread cookies and “Christmas Crack” from Sunnyside Kitchen.

As this year comes to an end, Carpenter explained it all: “It’s been a very challenging year. We’ve all suffered a little and triumphed a little and had to figure things out as we went. But it’s really nice, especially this year, that we can all be on the same page and help each other.”

Sunnyside Kitchen is located at 155 S. Orange Street. To place an order call 760-294-4450.