The corner of Laurel and Fifth is undergoing yet another makeover with Tracy Borkum’s newest venture, Cucina Urbana

.  Good to see that she’s finally changed the name of the restaurant she bought a few years ago.  The original Laurel Restaurant & Bar had a  gorgeous copper bar, understated decor (sure it needed updating) , great food, a very loyal following that came with top critical acclaim.  Borkum did away with that bar for something very white and added many other over-the-top decorative touches that made the room, for many, uninhabitable for eating.  She also went through many chefs trying to find a good food fit.  And, she forgot to change the name which might have helped her given the huge changes she made.   Now, with Cucina Urbana, she’s  soliciting twitterers to help with the menu planning.   We hope she finds success in the Italian venture.

Looks like Tracy Borkum finally sold Chive, long rumored to have been on the market.  The site could become a Latin-inspired restaurant so stay tuned for more info on this Gaslamp spot on Fourth Avenue.

And in a sad sign of the times do not be surprised to see a couple of San Diego’s newer (and highly leveraged) establishments fall by the wayside as early as January.

Up in Napa, food lovers who thought about a visit to Copia will find it shuttered as of last Friday due to mounting debt on the property.

On a happier note, to support many of our local venues, check out the restaurants involved in restaurant week that runs January 11through 16, 2009.  Restaurant week is a good way to try new places or visit others you may already know.

If you’re in Washington DC, the popular Gaslamp restaurantAcqua al Due will open on 7th Street near the historic market building. Expect a spring 2009 opening.