VG's is not leaving

San Diego North Coast real estate churning pushes the rumor mill

Joe Mettee's loyal customers still fear a change.
  • Joe Mettee's loyal customers still fear a change.

When it opened in 1968, Joe Mettee started working in his dad’s Cardiff-by-the-Sea donut shop when he was 14. VG’s, with its morning customers lining up out the door, has grown to become an icon business serving up donuts, cookies, muffins, and cakes in coastal North County.

VG Donuts & Bakery

106 Aberdeen Drive, Encinitas

Rumors persist that VG’s is closing. Mettee says he’s not going anywhere.

“Every time I’d quash the rumors, I’ll hear two or three more,” said Mettee. Over the last few months, ever since it was announced that VG’s neighbor, the Good Morning Gifts hippie shop, was closing after 37 years, this reporter received numerous requests from town folks asking me to find out if, or why, VG’s was leaving.

Mettee said he’s already in discussion with the landlord for another five-year lease, with an additional five-year option. Mettee recently restored the classic 1968 rooftop VG’s sign.

Coastal North County residents may be getting weary after losing several longtime business and buildings as developers discover the lucrative Coast Highway 101 corridor. In the last year, Encinitas and Leucadia have lost the Mar Vista Motel, and a former gas station site, which for years was Coastal Furniture — now, both are two-story glass-and-steel mixed-use commercial and residential.

Slated for demolition and new mixed use buildings are the longtime Encinitas Smog Test station, and the Leucadia Lawn Mower repair shop. Downtown Encinitas may be facing the demolition of the 1924-built D Street building that once housed Kealani’s Hawaiian and Giant Manhattan Pizza. (Although after evicting those two restaurants, the new landlords now have posted For Lease signs in the windows, and have apparently put their plans on hold.)

But perhaps the biggest false rumor of VG’s closure started in 2016 when Best Pizza and Brew opened up next door to VG’s. The restaurant’s owner removed his portion of the light blue, dated aluminum façade that runs through the multi-tenant center. It was replaced with youthful, upscale contemporary color palettes, openness, and lots of glass, similar to many new restaurants, bars, and strip centers along the coastal corridor.

Host to the infamous Cardiff Office Bar (as in, “Honey, I’ll be at the office”), reportedly some tenants fear that the upscaling of Best Pizza’s façade means a coming change for the rest of the tenants which include a barber shop, thrift store, and tattoo shop, along with VG’s. Updating a center usually means higher rent, as Good Morning Gifts felt was the reason for their leaving.

While VG’s foothold on sweet flour treats remains certain, loyal customers still fear a change, as posted as recently on an old school Encinitas Facebook page, “If VG’s goes I’m leaving for good.”

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