Dan Sobek of The Corner Drafthouse Wants You to Hang Out at His Local Hub
Written By: Nadya Migalko Corner Drafthouse
Photography By: Mathew Martinez
For Dan Sobek, the end goal was always to open his own restaurant. The Corner Drafthouse, his hip, neighborhood gastropub, opened two years ago in Bankers Hill in collaboration with his business partner, David Creviston. He admits that there have been a lot of sacrifices made along this path, but in the end, it brings him joy to now be able to cook the kind of food that he loves every day.
Dan’s passion for cooking began as a child, where he found interest in his family’s connection with food. “I grew up in the Midwest, in Kansas, and I come from a huge family and just about everyone cooks. All the family gets together, just about every weekend—all the guys are outside barbecuing or grilling, and all the women are inside making side dishes and everything else. All the family functions always centered around food; it’s the tie that binds.”
Coming from such a food-focused family drove his interest from a young age.
“I started cooking when I was about five,” he explained. “My mom had one of those great, big Betty Crocker cookbooks…I stayed home from school one time when I was sick…and I baked an apple pie from scratch…My parents came home from work and were like, ‘Where did this pie come from?'”
There was a lot of self-discovery, but the passion was instilled and the hunger for knowledge continued to grow. “It was a lot of self-discovery, to be honest. Both my parents worked and I would always joke that I learned to cook because I was hungry,” he laughed. “And I kind of just started playing around with some things, learning through exploration and trial and error.”
From there, the trajectory of Dan’s career is quite linear; he took all the right steps to get to this end goal of owning his own restaurant. “I went to college and studied hospitality management but then after college, after my undergrad, I decided I really wanted to get serious. I’ve always worked in restaurants…through high school and college, every position, front of house and back of house.” He earned his bachelor’s degree in hospitality and management to get to know the business side of things before earning top honors and a post-graduate degree in culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, NC. Dan worked for years in fine dining establishments and ultra luxury hotels in London, New York City, and Telluride Colorado gaining experience and honing his craft before ultimately landing in San Diego where he and his wife Ashley live with their two young children.
Chef Dan likes Bankers Hill and he and his business partner Dave felt that a place like The Corner Drafthouse was missing from that booming pocket of SD. The whole place feels very inviting and cozy with a distinct downtown feeling, where the focus is on quality and detail. Proud of the locally and responsibly sourced ingredients and dishes he and his chef Ruben Zamarripa creates, he names the Fried Chicken Sandwich, Short Rib Nachos and Tuna Poke among his favorites. Plus, they have 70 taps featuring many great local craft beers, fantastic weeknight promotions, excellent brunch on the weekends and a mug club, a fun addition for the locals.
So, pull up a barstool, hang out, order some exquisite West Coast fare and cheers to your new, go-to, neighborhood spot.
The Corner Drafthouse
495 Laurel St
San Diego, CA 92101