Business partners Carina and Billy Chandruang have always been passionate about food. So in September of 2011, the duo opened up their first restaurant. Named KiJ’s Cafe, after their two children, Kiana and Jett, and located in Santaluz, the restaurant is a mix between a traditional coffee shop and an elegant European bistro.
After running a catering company in Tokyo, Japan, Carina was itching to pursue her passion of cooking here in the United States. Now that her kids are at appropriate ages it seems that opening KiJ’s Cafe was just the way for Carina to scratch that itch. “Food and cooking is my passion in life and always has been and I always wanted my own place like KiJ’s one day when the kids got old enough and the time felt right,” said Carina, who is also a chef at the eatery.
Inspired by places they both have traveled and lived, the Chandruangs are devoted to making KiJ’s Cafe stand out from its competition. The café presents a robust menu full of traditional American items as well as distinctive culinary creations with a European flair. It boasts a unique and versatile wine list, and its gourmet brewed coffee has been called “the finest coffee anyone could ever ask for,” with freshly roasted coffee beans delivered weekly by the local coffee roasting company, The West Bean. “KiJ’s is a comfortable café bistro that offers so many different kinds of cuisines and great locally roasted coffee and great boutique wines and local beers in a clean and modern, yet comfy atmosphere,” said Carina.
Although the Chandruangs highly recommend the Crouque Monsieur, they find it difficult to choose just one menu item to select as their signature dish. Describing their food as “always fresh, quality ingredients, cooked and made from scratch,” they clearly take pride in the array of dishes offered at their restaurant. From buttery croissants, to Salmon Teriyaki, or a simple mug of coffee, KiJ’s Cafe is sure to please every palate.
For the local socialites, the café offers Friday and Saturday tapas nights from 5-9pm, Tuesday through Friday happy hour specials from 5-7pm, and has recently become available for catering outside events.
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Name: KiJ’s Café
Owners: Carina Chandruang, Billy Chandruang
Address: 14677 Via Bettona Suite 100 San Diego, CA 92127
Description: European style café with lunch specials, tapas and wines from around the world.