The Scene

January 14, 2017

Barons Market

Barons Market has opened at 3231 University Avenue, and it's a huge improvement of the space and a great fit for the neighborhood. More like a mix of Trader Joe's with some Whole Foods ideas mixed in (but thankfully Trader Joe's prices), the store offers an olive oil bar, salad bar, fresh soups, freshly baked goods, and a large amount of prepared foods... Tamarindo Latin Kitchen & Bar, at 2906 University Avenue, is putting the finishing touches on the Latin-inspired restaurant, having added exterior signage this past week. They're shooting for a February 2017 opening... another impending opening is Mr. Moto's Pizza at 3773 30th Street. It's amazing how much they've transformed the space from the former (cough cough) Stuff-n-Thangs resale store... FiveSpace Records has opened up at 2579 University Avenue, carrying vinyl and even cassette tapes... more retail to report with R.A.E. women's clothing opening at 2912 University, next to Love & Aesthetics. Owners also owned Pretty Please in Hillcrest... Figaro Cafe has replaced Heaven Sent Desserts... The Barbeque Pit has returned to North Park at 2888 University Avenue and their pork ribs are to die for... Six One Nine Distillery and Tasting Room is opening in February... Sage Sister Flowers has opened at 3069 University Ave, sharing the space with Union Co-Work... There's a nice write up about Queen Bee's Art & Cultural Center over on KPBS' website... Demolition for Nomad Donuts second location at 3102 University Avenue has begun. They're shooting for a Spring 2017 opening... Zensei Sushi is down for remodel, and Yogart just completed a minor remodel of their space. Meanwhile Olympic Cafe is furiously working on their new space at 2310 University Ave... Rumoursville: we're hearing that someone is finally opening something in the old International Gifts location at 30th & University, but haven't been able to nail down what that something is! We've also heard that the old Ramona Theater, which has been vacant for years, has been sold again. Fingers crossed someone's got ideas to open that pretty lovely space up soon... The Pershing Bikeway is almost fully approved, which will create dedicated bike lanes down Pershing from the northeast corner of Balboa Park through to downtown.

November 11, 2016

Iowa Street Housing

The Iowa Street Senior Housing is completed with move-ins commenced, and we're hearing that they're already fully booked. The higher density is a good additional to the main drag of North Park and with the newly approved community plan in place, we should see a lot more of these developments along University Avenue, 30th Street, and El Cajon Blvds... Poki One N Half has opened at 3030 University Avenue, right next door to City Tacos... Lovers of Thai food were excited to learn of the surprise relocation of Bankok Spices Thai to 3627 30th Street, a couple of doors down from Paesano. Apparently they had been working on the new location for over a year but no one seemed to know until they opened their doors... has opened up on 30th Street... Thank the heavens that Pop Pie Co. has finally opened their beautiful pie-centric store at 4404 Park Boulevard (technically across the street of North Park's western border, but close enough). Their savory pies are spectacular and their sweet pies divine, and they're a fantastic addition to the locally grown businesses that populate North Park and environs... Shuttersville: to no one's surprise, Al Reef Mediterranean restaurant has relocated to the city of El Cajon. They initially opened as a combo hookah/smoothie/ice cream/deli place (what?) and then refined in to a Mediterranean restaurant, but the location never took off. It is a huge space to fill, and in this competitive neighborhood a restaurant has to have a strong offering and generate some buzz with the social media scene. There's now a sign in the window saying "Urban Cafe & Grill coming soon". Please can we stop with "Urban" already? There's plenty already housed here in the hood (Urban Solace, Urbn Pizza)

August 21, 2016

Dunedin North Park

Dunedin North Park has opened at 3501 30th Street. The New Zealand-inspired eatery, sister restaurant to Queenstown Public, sports a complete remodel from the old Eddy's Philly, and it makes quite the statement at the intersection across from Lefty's... Breakfast Republic, which almost always has a line for their brunch offerings, has announced they'll be opening a different breakfast place about 5 blocks to the east, at 3131 University Avenue (the old Moncai location). Plans are to open a second story deck on the rooftop. Not to rest on their laurels, the same company is readying Pizza Republic, next door to Breakfast Republic... Brews & Chews (or is it Twister Taps?) is readying their location at El Cajon and Louisiana... Casa Artelexia, a rustic furniture and eclectic gift shop with a location on Morena Blvd is readying a new space on Ray Street... Twinkle lights have been installed on University Avenue between 30th Street and Utah... Nomad Donuts has announced they'll be opening a second location at 3102 University Avenue in the old Lady of the Lake location. New place will carry their donuts plus wood-fired bagels... Restoration of the Georgia Street Bridge has begun... Cafe Medallion has opened their second location at 2850 El Cajon Blvd... Shuttersville: Lil' B's on El Cajon, Grace Abundance Church (to be replaced by an unannounced eatery).

July 2, 2016

North Park Beer Co

North Park Beer Co has opened their stunning brewhouse at 3038 University Avenue, and what a transformation they've done to the old Und1sputed Gym space! Proprietor Kelsey McNair was smart and hired Basile Studio to design the new on-site brewery. Their kitchen, to be run by Mastiff Sausage Company, isn't open yet so only libation consumption is currently available... Plans have been announced for Tamarindo, a new concept Mexican restaurant slated for the old Claire de Lune space at 2906 University Avenue. They hope to open to the pubic around November... San Diego Magazine's Best of 2016 contains many North Park winners, including Waypoint Public, Carnita's Snack Shack, Caffee Calabria, Waypoint Public, Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream, City Tacos, and man more... Dunedin, the new eatery by the owners of Queenstown Public located at 3501 30th Street, is looking amazing and is almost ready to open their doors sometime in July... Rumor is that the old JC Penny building (nay Wang's) has been sold, but no word yet on plans for the huge space at University and Ray streets... Another pizza joint named Mr. Moto Pizza is opening at 3773 30th Street. They have another location in Pacific Beach... The BBQ Pit has announced that they're reopening their location at 2888 University Avenue... Grinds & Vine Coffee Bar has opened at 2419 El Cajon Boulevard... Normal Records has opened at 4128 30th Street... Blackmarket Bakery is getting close to opening their new location at 4688 30th Street... Pop Pie Co is also getting closer to their debut, at 4404 Park Blvd... Shuttersville: San Diego Soup Shoppe, Tobacco Rhoda's (good riddance to this neighborhood nuisance!)

April 30, 2016

One Door North interior photo

One Door North, from the purveyors of The Smoking Goat, has opened it doors at 3422 30th Street, exactly one door north of TSG. Featuring decor that brings the outdoors inside, the new restaurant sports a camping theme, with tents, picnic tables, outdoor lanterns, and a menu to vaguely match the environs. It's a marked departure from what was once Mosaic Wine Bar, and if the food comes close to the quality exhibited at their sister restaurant, should be an outstanding addition to the eating scene... If you'd rather actually sit outdoors (and who doesn't love the outdoors here in San Diego, with our near perfect weather?), ChuckAlek's Biergarten has opened their beautiful outdoor space at 3139 University Avenue, behind Tostada's (the newish sister restaurant of City Tacos)... Dunedin's exterior is really coming together and looks to be a stunner... North Park Yoga has moved one block east to a much larger and sunnier space at 3063 University Avenue... California Tap Room and Soft Pretzels has opened 3812 Ray Street (the old Rubber Rose). They offer lots of twists (natch) on the classic pretzel and have a yummy beer infused cheese sauce to dip the dough in to... North Park Beer Co has posted a video walkthrough of their under development brewery... Poki One N Half is readying their location at the old Kaleidoscope space... Shuttersville: Ripe North Park has closed

March 27, 2016

North Park Thursday Market

The new North Park Thursday Market (formerly known as the farmer's market) has opened in its new location, on North Park Way between Granada Avenue and 30th Streets. They've added a bunch of new vendors (currently at 65) that offer locally grown produce, artisan grocery items, and prepared foods. It still falls on Thursdays, from 3pm to 7pm... Smart & Final Extra has replaced Albertson's (nay Haagen) at 2235 University Avenue... The Fresh Yard has relocated across the street to 3774 30th Street. Replacing them at 3773 30th Street is pet food supplier Dexter's Deli... Love + Aesthetics is taking over the entire space they used to share with Material Clothing at 2910 University Avenue... Kaleidoscope has announced they're shuttering their storefront after 2 years... Pariah Brewing Company is readying their new space at 3052 El Cajon Boulevard... Claire de Lune has closed their coffee shop after many years in the neighborhood... A plan to install twinkle lights on University Avenue between Granada Avenue and 30th Street is moving forward, according to the San Diego Reader... The North Park Festival of the Arts has announced their 2016 date as Saturday, May 21st, with new extended hours from 10am to 10pm... California Tap Room, a beer and pretzel place, is readying their location at 3812 Ray Street... Barons Market is replacing the old Fresh & Easy at University Ave and 32nd Street. They're shooting for a late 2016 opening.

January 23, 2016

Encontro North Park

Encontro North Park has opened up at 3001 University, in the old Heaven Sent Desserts location, and what a transformation to the space! The interiors are stunning, exuding an industrial warmth, with lots of windows that open to both University and 30th Streets. Food is casual with steaks, chicken, sausages, burgers, and milkshakes made with North Park's Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream (which just opened its second location down in Pacific Beach, and a third location slated for Point Loma this summer)... Replay Toys,.which offers quality pre-owned toys, books, and crafts has opened at 2920 North Park Way... and speaking of books, Verbatim Books has opened their beautiful shop at 3793 30th Street, across from Waypoint Public. Lots of new and used books to check out... Pop Pie Co. is readying their sweet and savory pie shop at Park Blvd and Meade Ave. We got a chance to taste some of their sweet pies and they were quite good... The Fresh Yard Clothing is relocating across 30th Street next to 9-Five Eyewear... Tribute Pizza is busy readying their location in the old North Park post office, located at 3077 North Park Way... Major construction has begun (finally) on Dunedin, the new spot from Queenstown Public alum at 3501 30th Street. They hope to open this Spring... SANDAG is preparing the new dedicated bicycle lanes for Pershing Avenue (called the Pershing Bikeway), which will create a much safer passage for riders between North Park and downtown SD. A part of the project includes a proposed roundabout at Redwood and Pershing... Streetcar Merchants of Fried Chicken and Donuts has opened up their Milk Bar next door, featuring infused milk products and freshly baked cookies... The Smoking Goat is getting closer to opening their new concept restaurant One Door North. They're shooting for a Spring opening as well...

November 7, 2015

Pete's Seafood and Sandwich

Pete's Seafood and Sandwich opened up at 3382 30th Street, around the corner from Zensei Sushi. We got a chance to try the clam chowder (delicious!) and fish and chips (superb!!!) on a rainy evening and it was very good. Though we haven't tried it, we've also heard that the lobster rolls are the best on the west coast... Al Reef Mediterranean has opened up at 2835 University Avenue and what a huge improvement from the short-lived hookah lounge that was previously there. The food was very good, moderately priced, with attentive service. Stop by and check it out... NĂ©gociant Urban Winery has opened at 2419 El Cajon Boulevard... North Park won "Best Neighborhood" in CityBeat's annual Best of San Diego contest. Lots of North Park establishes won their categories as well, including Caffee Calabria, Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream, Lucha Libre, The Mission Cafe, Underbelly, the Lafayette Hotel & Swim Club, Thumbprint Gallery, George's Camera, Kaleidoscope, Pigment, Overload, Mimi & Red, Bottlecraft, Seven Grand, and Observatory North Park. Congratulations to all the winners... Progress is moving quickly on Encontro, the new eatery slated for the corner of 30th and University, where Heaven Sent used to be located. Fingers crossed that they make the late November opening target... Historyville: Lady of the Lake bookstore is closing up shop, as is Fresh & Easy and Haagen grocery stores (there's a brutal grocery store war going on), while Exotic Gardens has relocated far east (Alpine is the rumor)...

September 19, 2015

Milli Metre

Milli Metre, a new retail shop, has opened in the old post office building at 3077 North Park Way... new details are emerging about the old Heaven Sent Desserts spot at 30th & University. Encantro is the name of the new space, and according to, it'll offer "delicatessen services; salads, french fries, hot dogs and sausages made on premises"... Speaking of Heaven Sent, their new location has opened, 2 doors down from their original location... Pete's Seafood and Sandwich is readying their new space, at the old Bazinga Mac & Cheese spot at 3382 30th Street... The portion of University Avenue west of Utah continues to get cool new tenants, with The General Store opening at 2002 University Avenue, and Lucky Dutch Juice opening at 2581 University Avenue... Full Contact Rock N Roll, a music retail shop, has opened at 2834 North Park Way.

August 2, 2015

Lucha Libre

Lucha Libre's new North Park location at 3016 University Avenue has opened. They've done quite a lot on the interior to change out the old Marie's Cafe vibe, and we hear that they plan on adding railing and outdoor seating soon... ChuckAlek Independent Brewers are opening a tasting room and beer garden next to Tostadas at 3139 University Avenue. Official name is ChuckAlek Brewery Tasting Room & Biergarten. The beer garden will be in the back, which is a pretty fantastic space curated by Lynn Susholtz (owner of Art Produce Gallery). Between that and Tostadas, the east end of University Avenue is starting to look pretty good... A new and used bookstore named Verbatim Books is readying their location at 3793 30th Street at North Park Way... Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream, which just celebrated their one year anniversary in North Park, has announced that they're opening a second location, this time in Pacific Beach... The San Diego City Council approved the University Avenue Mobility Plan, which calls for streamlining vehicular traffic, dedicated bus lanes to be shared with bikes, planted medians, and sidewalk bulb-outs to create a more efficient and friendly multi-modal transportation corridor... Speaking of the city council, they're scheduled to vote on two major North Park initiatives in the next few months, including releasing the Woolworth's building so that developer Al Karendian can begin transforming the high-profile (but current eyesore) in to market rate apartments on the 2nd level and retail on the ground level. They'll also be voting on freeing up the space behind the Observatory North Park Theater so that it can become the community park that's been in planning for 5 years. Bazinga Eatery has shuttered to make room for Pete's Seafood and Sandwich, at 3382 30th Street near Upas... Moncai Vegan moved their location from University up to Adams Ave.

June 27, 2015

Breakfast Republic

Breakfast Republic has soft-opened at 2730 University Avenue, the prior location of Western Steakburger. Owned by Johan Engma, who also fathered the Fig Tree Cafe chain, the new space is beautifully decorated and is serving customers from 7am - 3pm daily... Crazee Burger has opened their new location at 3993 30th Street, at Lincoln Ave. They've spiffed up the space that used to be a pawn shop with urban gritty decor and a lovely outside patio that faces Lincoln. Nice to have that corner activated with this and Streetcar Doughnuts across the street... Wang's restaurant abruptly shuttered their doors last month. A victim of their closing was Und1sputed gym, which had sub-let the basement from Wang's. The gym has announced that they're scouting a new location in North Park... Rumor Alert: we're hearing that someone has purchased the BBQ Pit at 2888 University Avenue. Their storefront has been closed to the public for years, and it's been an eyesore along an area that otherwise has had much improvement. Fingers crossed this rumor pans out as it would be nice to see this block activated again... Al Reef, which had been a bizarre mixture of hookah lounge, deli, ice cream, smoothies, and gawd knows what else, has closed their doors and plans on reopening as a Mediterranean restaurant. Hope they can raise a successful business as they put a great deal of money transforming the former location of Glenn's Market... Heaven Sent Desserts is moving a bit east to 3011 University Avenue. The new space is much smaller than their current location, and will serve as a place for purchasing their desserts only; their kitchen is moving to a new location to support their expanding catering business... City Taco's founder Gerald has announced his newest North Park venture. It's called Tostadas, and it'll serve up, yep, tostadas and ceviches. Based on how frickin' good City Tacos is, we expect this new place to rock our taste buds as well... Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream, located at 3077 University Avenue, celebrated their one year anniversary a few weeks back. Great to see them doing so well, with a loyal following, and 4 1/2 stars on Yelp.

May 16, 2015

Barn Brewery

Barn Brewery, North Park's newest brew pub, has opened at 2850 El Cajon Boulevard, next door to San Diego Soup Shoppe. Currently only serving libations, plans are afoot to open their accompanying kitchen in the near future... Holsem Coffee has opened at 2911 University Avenue, in a redesigned space that is airy and elegant. Featuring fair trade sourcing and 3rd wave brewing, they offer a wide selection of coffees, teas, house-made sodas, and carry baked goods sourced from Bake Sale downtown... Western Steakburger has served its last meal. The space, at 2730 University Avenue, has been purchased by the owners of the Fig Tree Cafe. They'll be remodeling and reopening as Breakfast Republic in the near future... Miss Vintage Clothing has announced they're relocating out of North Park... Heaven Sent is also relocating, but they're staying in North Park. We're not yet allowed to disclose where... The Smoking Goat, which continues to do gangbuster business, has announced that they'll be taking over the old Mosaic Wine Bar location and opening a new concept restaurant in the near future... Hello Birdie nail and lash salon is opening next door to The Lab, at 3032 University Avenue... Good Life Eatery lasted all of two months before shuttering. Hopefully the right niche business will find success in this troubled space, at 3620 30th Street... The Studio Door, North Park's newest art gallery, has opened at 3750 30th Street, turning what was once a sad corner into a vibrant, visually stimulating addition to the neighborhood... A cool new mural adorns the northeast corner of Illinois Street and University... Plans are afoot to greatly improve bicycle access via from North Park to downtown, via Pershing Avenue in Balboa Park... San Diego Eater is reporting that Blackmarket Bakery is readying a new location at 4688 30th Street...

March 11, 2015

9 Five Eyewear

9 Five Eyewear has opened their new flagship location at 3778 30th Street. Along with their Los Angeles location on Melrose Avenue, they carry eyewear, apparel, and offer prescriptions... Dark Horse Coffee Roasters has opened at 3794 30th Street, next to Waypoint Public. They've done a beautiful job on the intimate space, and reviews for the coffee are very positive... Down the street, Amorcito Corazon has opened their new Mexican bistro to rave reviews at 3442 30th Street... Mimi & Red have opened their new location at 3041 University Avenue, next to Aloha Sunday. New space looks fantastic inside and out... Red Brontosaurus has opened up at 3044 North Park Way (next to Classic Rock Sandwich Shoppe), specializing in buying and selling of DVDs and video games... The custom clothing design studio Gwen Couture has opened at 4003 Wabash Avenue. They offer sewing courses... The Makers Arcade Spring Fair is scheduled for March 21 from 11am - 5pm at the old North Park Post Office at 3077 North Park Way. The event will feature over 50 artists and makers, live entertainment, locally sourced food, drink, and more. Tickets are $2... Heart & Trotter Butchery has opened at 2855 El Cajon Boulevard. They feature locally sourced beef, lamb, pork, and chicken... Mosaic Wine Bar has closed for a bit. While initially planning on selling the business off, the latest rumor we've heard is that they'll be keeping the place and are reimagining what it'll be when it reopens... Rumors that Heaven Sent Desserts will be relocating down the street to where Claire de Lune is located are still unconfirmed. We hear they need additional space because their catering business is going gang busters... Mailboxes outside of You Got Mail were recently removed. Owner Mike Burnett emailed NorthParkScene stating that You Got Mail owners had nothing to do with the removal of the boxes...

February 6, 2015


A new low-income senior housing complex has been approved by the city, and plans have been submitted to begin work at on the Iowa Street Housing 3937 Iowa Street (where the old Thrift Trader was; it will be demolished). The complex will consist of 120 residential units and 3 business spaces... Other housing news: Foundation for Form's next project is called The Earnest, is located at 4201 30th Street (the old Crazee Burger location) and will include 39 apartments above 2 commercials spaces. Nearby Habitat on 31st between University Avenue (behind Urbn Pizza) and North Park Way will include 35 apartments ... Rip Current Brewery/Sublime have officially opened at 4101 30th Street... Unico Juice Shop has opened at the newly-hip southeast corner of El Cajon Blvd. and Utah, next to where The Heart & Trotter is going in... Across the street, South Park favorite Cafe Madeline is opening up a second location on the northwest corner of El Cajon and Utah... A few blocks east, The San Diego Soup Shoppe is readying The Barn, a burgers and brewery joint... Mimi & Red's new location next to Aloha Sunday is beginning to look sweet... DecoBikes have begun popping up in North Park as well as downtown and Little Italy... Grand Ole BBQ Y Asado at 3302 32nd Street opened and then temporary closed so that they could expand their operations. Early word was positive on the food... San Diego Arts Institute is closing up shop on Ray Street... Cardamom @ Night has sprung up, serving up delicious desserts at Cardamom Cafe on Friday and Saturday evenings... North Park Beer Co. has announced that they're taking over the old Und1sputed space at 3038 University and will be opening a brewery later this year... The Irving Gill Chapel at 30th and Gunn Streets is up for sale because St. Lukes Episcopal Church can't afford to maintain it. A Facebook page has been set up to save it.

Project Tracker

The Earnest
4201 30th Street
Foundation for Form's new development includes 39 apartments above 2 commercial spaces
Under construction

Habitat on 31st
31st Street between University and North Park Way
35 apartment complex
Under construction

The Blvd Apartments
2002 El Cajon Blvd
H.G. Fenton's development with Foundation for Form as architects
Under construction

Iowa Street Housing
3937 Iowa Street
120 residential units for low income senior housing and 3 business spaces

Community Housing Work's LGBT Senior Housing Project
Intersection of Texas Street and Howard Avenue
Construction slated for mid-2016 with late 2017 opening

North Park Theater Park
Located behind the North Park Theater
Approved by city

Pershing Bikeway
Dedicated bikeway from Upas & Pershing through to downtown

University Avenue Mobility Project
University Avenue between Park Boulevard and Boundary Avenues
Design Phase schedule for December 2016 completion with construction slated for mid-2017

Woolworth's Building
3067 University Avenue
SLOWLY making it's way through city departments