Back of the House

How Similar is Davanti Enoteca to Cucina Urbana?

Cucina Urbana's Menu on top, Davanti Enoteca's Menu on bottom
Cucina Urbana’s Menu on top, Davanti Enoteca’s Menu on bottom

We were sent a strange tip last night from someone who claimed that the concept for Scott Harris’s Davanti Enoteca was copied from a restaurant called Cucina Urbana in San Diego. We passed off the accusation at first, but then had a look at the menus, and the two do look astonishingly alike. Specifically, both restaurants divide their menus into vasi, antipasti, insalate, boards, speciale, pasta, pizza, and piatti, with slight spelling variations along they way. We had a quick talk with Scott Harris about Cucina Urbana, which he claims is one of his “favorite restaurants,” but he was adamant that Davanti Enoteca didn’t copy any of the actual dishes.

Though the categories on the menus are very similar, he notes that the “content is 100% different.” We poured over both menus, and besides a chicken liver pate and a “Formaggi Friday” special, the two really don’t feature any of the same dishes, which is kind of astonishing for an Italian restaurant. Even the house burgers don’t feature the same toppings.

When we asked about the division of the menus, Harris noted that all steak houses essentially use the same format, and that “everyone takes ideas from here and there.” But he pointed out that the “content is completely different.” Besides the menus, we couldn’t find any other similarities. Their designs, especially, are wildly different.

Harris was a little surprised we contacted him about the other restaurant, but didn’t seemed fazed at all. He had nothing but nice things about the restaurant and its owner, Tracy Borkum, claiming that he’d “always wanted to talk to the owner, but she is never there.” He continued, “I am truly inspired by what they did.”

How Similar is Davanti Enoteca to Cucina Urbana?