In Remembrance: Classic San Diego Restaurant Closures in 2019

Pekin Cafe closing 2019

In Remembrance…

With sadness and a bit of forlorn nostalgia, we remember some of the classic San Diego establishments that have shuttered in 2019. Restaurants come and go, but when a family favorite closes up, it’s almost like losing a loved one…

Updated 1 Aug 2020.

Pekin Cafe Chop Suey (1931 – 2019)

Pekin Cafe was the oldest surviving American-Chinese restaurant in San Diego. After three generations of running this old-school Cantonese chop suey house, the Leo Fong family called it quits on March 31, 2019, when the operators retired.

North Park
2877 University Avenue
San Diego, CA 92104

Pernicano's La Jolla

Pernicano’s La Jolla, 2020.

Pernicano’s Family Restaurant, La Jolla (1947-2019)

Interior, Pernicano's La JollaBrothers George and Johnny Pernicano brought the pizza pie to San Diego. It was so popular, they eventually opened a restaurant for each of the ten Pernicano brothers. Johnny Pernicano, Sr operated the La Jolla branch of the family empire for over seventy years until he retired.

Bay Point
711 Turquoise Street
San Diego, CA 92109

Old Trieste in 2019

Old Trieste, after it closed in 2019.

Old Trieste (1963 – 2019)

Old Trieste was a time-capsule of a restaurant founded by Ramiro ‘Tommy’ Tomicich. Named after his birthplace, Tommy’s eatery served the same menu of Italian food for years. Jackets were required. Lobster Fra Diavalo, Calamari Fritti, Scampi Trieste, all great! New real estate developments in the area and a desire to retire sparked the Tomicich family to close May 30th, 2019.

Bay Park
2335 Morena Blvd
San Diego, CA 92110

Paesano Fine Italian Food North park San DiegoPaesano Fine Italian Food (1967 – 28 Apr 2019)

A classic, old-school red-sauce joint on the 30th Street ‘craft beer corridor,’ Paesano’s was run by two generations of the Romano family. Originally opened on Ray Street in 1967, they moved to 30th Street in 1972. Known for their baked ravioli and lasagna. A new Japanese hot-pot restaurant, Tabu Shabu, will be replacing the Italian joint.

North Park
3647 30th Street
San Diego, CA 92104

Su Casa, La Jolla exterior

Su Casa Restaurante (1968 – 28 Oct 2019)

Marshal and Harriet Pellar’s long-lasting Sonoran-style Mexican food and seafood grotto advertised as an historic 16th-Century hacienda, but in the same spot as prior restaurants The Luau, Mister Lucky’s Smorgette, Valle’s La Jolla and The Connoisseur. Pellar claimed to have invented the strawberry margarita and nachos. In 1980, the Pellars opened a short-lived second location in the newly built Seaport Village, and eventually sold the La Jolla restaurant to Moishe Chernovetzky in 1985 who operated it until October 2019.

Windansea (1968-2019)
6738 La Jolla Blvd
San Diego, CA 92037

Szechuan Mandarin 2019

Szechuan Mandarin in July 2019, shortly before closing.

Szechuan Mandarin (1980 – 2019)

Szechuan Mandarin was established in 1980 by Hong Kong native Tat Hung Law, serving spicy Szechuan and Cantonese style Chinese cuisine.

Their “hall-of-fame favorite” was Kung Pao Chicken, but others included Orange Chicken, Salt & Pepper Shrimp, Walnut Shrimp in Cream Sauce, Black Pepper Steak, Seafood Lo Mein, and Peking Duck.

Always run by the family, the restaurant was a good place for an inexpensive American-Chinese meal and Tiki drinks. As time went by though, the place grew a little tattered around the edges, suffered a kitchen fire, renovation, and a “C” rating…

5855 Mission Gorge Road
San Diego, CA 92120

Urban Solace (2007 – 2019)

Chef/owner Matt Gordon opened his place in up-and-coming North Park in 2007, serving natural, farm-to-table comfort food. Beef cheeks and duckaroni were favorites. Rising labor costs and dwindling profit margins contributed to the closing of these stalwart eateries on March 13, 2019.

Urban Solace (2007 – 2019)
North Park
3823 30th Steet
San Diego, CA 92104

Solace & the Moonlight Lounge (2011 – 2019)
25 East E Street
Encinitas, CA 92024

The Patio on Goldfinch, Mission Hills.

The Patio on Goldfinch, Mission Hills.

Fireside by The Patio

Fireside by the Patio, Liberty Station.

With the implosion of American Nation Investments and The Patio Group, CEO Gina Champion-Cain’s hospitality holdings were forcibly shut down by court order in September of 2019. Receivers closed Chef Antonio Friscia and Fern Tran’s (Don Chido, Gaijin) Fireside by the Patio, The Patio on Goldfinch, Andrea’s Truffles, Patio Express in Mission Hills and Mission Beach, Bao Beach, and Swell Coffee in Mission Beach and Del Mar. Of those, Chef Andrea Davis has rebooted Andrea’s Truffles, and is once-again supplying her addictive chocolates to local restaurants. Cohn Restaurant Group (Corvette Diner, etc) has taken over operations of The Patio on Lamont (Pacific Beach), Surf Rider Pizza (La Mesa, Ocean Beach), and the iconic Saska’s (Mission Beach).

Patio on Goldfinch (2014 – 2019)
Mission Hills
4020 Goldfinch Street
San Diego, CA 92103

Fireside by the Patio (2016 – 2019)
Liberty Station
2855 Perry Road
San Diego, CA 92106

Foie Gras served at Carnitas' Snack Shack

Line forming at Carnitas’ Snack Shack North Park for last legal day of foie gras, 30 Jun 2012.

Carnitas’ Snack Shack, North Park (2011 – 2019)

This little pork-centric eatery was originally opened by Chef Hanis Cavin (Mixx, Kensington Grill, The Pioneer BBQ) and Sara Stroud in North Park. Chef-driven food and over-the-top favorites like the “Triple Threat” pork sandwich and foie gras specials routinely caused long lines. The chain grew with the influx of capital from investment group Sweet100, who eventually took control of the brand and closed the original location (the Embarcadero location is still in business). Cavin regained control of the North Park eatery and opened a short-lived alternate concept, Porchetta Shack, with Stephen Gage (Blind Lady Ale House, UnderBelly). Today, Chef Hanis and Brandon Zanavich (The Friendly) co-host The Friendly Tavern on the spot.

Carnitas’ Snack Shack (2011 – 2019)
The Porchetta Shack (2019)
The Friendly Tavern (2019 – now)
North Park
2632 University Avenue
San Diego, CA 92104

Brooklyn Girl, Mission Hills

Brooklyn Girl Eatery (2011 – 2019)

Mike and Victoria McGeath’s (Fio’s Cucina Italiana, Trattoria Acqua) Mission Hills eatery Brooklyn Girl closed suddenly in March 2019 after seven years in business. No reason was given, but the business had been up for sale since 2106..

Mission Hills
4033 Goldfinch Street
San Diego, CA 92103

2 thoughts on “In Remembrance: Classic San Diego Restaurant Closures in 2019

  1. two of my former favorites were ding how cafe (swift and El Cajon Boulevard), and Bea’s rancho chico (near 48th and El cajon boulevard. let us never forget pat brillo’s and don jose’s (both on El Cajon boulevard and near hoover h.s.

  2. do you happen to know the name of a steak and seafood restaurant from the eighties in pacific beach on the west side of mission blvd that had an old rusted out car in front as a landmark? i believe it was a cadiliac and it had flowers growing out of it. thank you.

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