When one door closes, another opens

North Park businesses come in and go out

Deja Brew at University Avenue and Arnold St. will offer desserts.
  • Deja Brew at University Avenue and Arnold St. will offer desserts.

In North Park the views never cease to change, and in a drastic way. Old businesses that are way past their prime continue to hang in there. Failed restaurants turn into something totally different. Closed-down dive bars transform into trendy restaurants. Mexican eateries arrive and crash, as fast as undocked bicycles and scooters.

The latest Yelp review of United Market: “This place isn't just ghetto...."

The latest Yelp review of United Market: “This place isn't just ghetto...."

On August 24, I walked by United Market and Liquor at 2567 University Avenue and Hamilton St. It was closed and dark. Looking in I could see that the shelves were mostly empty. I guessed it was out of business. But Yelp.com doesn’t mention it as being closed. North Park Main Street had no information on the business owner, or from the landlord on plans for this property.

2591 University — application to sell beer, wine, liquor and spirits is posted.

2591 University — application to sell beer, wine, liquor and spirits is posted.

The most recent Yelp review (July 2014) said this: “This place isn't just ghetto — it's gross. I do not even begin to understand how this place is still in business. There is food in there that is well past its expiration date or half-eaten, there is a layer of filth on almost every surface, vertical ones included, and the clientele are highly sketchy.”

Tostadas: "DON’T WORRY. We’re not fully disappearing."

Tostadas: "DON’T WORRY. We’re not fully disappearing."

The notorious Tobacco Rhoda’s dive bar is only a bad memory now. That building is being gutted, and will became a new restaurant/bar, at its University Avenue and Villa Terrace location.

Itze Behar and John A Welsh have applied to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for a 47-on sale general license. [A California type 47 allows the holder to serve beer, wine, liquor and spirits, and is designated as an ‘On-premises’ license.”

Across the street, Deja Brew Lounge at University Avenue and Arnold St. will soon open. It will offer desserts, along with tea and coffee. A salon was the previous business at this location. Originally the property was a single-family house. This usage is more common in Hillcrest, such as along Fourth Avenue.

Heading on east along University Avenue, Target continues with its renovation of the former Wang’s North Park Restaurant at the Ray St. intersection. A door was open in front temporarily, so I was able to take a shot of some construction progress. What was originally a department store (JC Penney), reverts to that usage with the Target takeover. The community opposition to this new Target was minimal, unlike the uproar in Ocean Beach.

Before you reach CVS Pharmacy on the same side of University Avenue, Tostadas North Park (at the Herman Avenue intersection) was located adjacent to Art Produce Gallery. Tostadas had a 4.5–star overall review on Yelp, with 595 reviews. The Tostadas space had housed other businesses, including a dessert cafe which failed.

A hand-written sign on the front door proclaimed: “We’re saddened to say that Tostadas North Park is officially CLOSED. We want to thank you all for your continued support throughout our time here in one of the best neighborhoods in SD. DON’T WORRY. We’re not fully disappearing. Something is in the works. STAY TUNED.”

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The house where Deja Brew is opening was a bookstore in the early years of the 21st century. I heard Bill Maher and Chalmers Johnson speak there. The bookstore might have made a better go of things had it found a spot nearer University and 30th, where there is decent foot traffic—although the demise of most independent bookstores across the metropolitan region argues that it would have been doomed no matter the North Park site. I fear success for the coffee house is facing long odds for the same reason regarding lack of pedestrians along its stretch of University, as well as for a paucity of parking, especially at night.

Thanks for the bit of history; I didn't know that. You sure may be right about that location, with insufficient walkers and parking. Plus there is already a busy coffee place at University and Texas (at North Park Nursery). Time will tell.

I should have mentioned they do have parking behind the building.

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

I do think the new Target store will help revitalize that section of University Ave. In hindsight, putting Wang's in that building was a bad idea, and a waste of redevelopment money.

Oct. 14 update: Target public relations told me today that the Target store will open sometime in 2019.

Oct. 17 update: Another Mexican cafe is opening soon in the former Tostadas space. It will also offer seafood and wine, a person outside told me today.

Oct. 26 update: The building that housed Answer, Inc. at 2420 University is up for sale now. It's right next to 7-Eleven. It is zoned for residential, so some changes would likely come to that site if redeveloped.

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