Take Back OB at Second Annual Raglan Beach Cleanup

September 5, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Raglan Teams Up With Cleaner Streets Initiatives, San Diego Coastkeeper and South Coast Surf Shop for “End of Summer OB Beach Cleanup”

By Matthew Wood

Summer’s over, the tourists are gone and it’s time to take back our beach.

That’s the thinking behind Raglan Public House’s second annual End of Summer OB Beach Cleanup on Saturday, September 6.

“It’s a nice thing we can do,” said Raglan manager Mike Zouroudis.

It’s just nice to have this beach back and a little slower. It’s a great way to get our town back for the next six or seven months.”

Raglan is partnering with the Cleaner Streets Initiatives, San Diego Coastkeeper and South Coast Surf Shop to put on the event, which runs from 9 to 11 a.m. …

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Niagara-Bacon Area Quickly Becoming OB’s New Hot Spot

August 22, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

Move over, Newport Avenue. There’s a new hot spot in Ocean Beach.

OK, nothing’s taking over for OB’s main drag in terms of businesses and foot traffic. But if you walk just a block south on Bacon Avenue, you might be surprised at the renaissance of business and shopping.

The long-perceived notion that the only businesses that can survive have to be on Newport is quickly diminishing. That’s evident with the addition of Bar 1502 – the new incarnate of the immensely popular OB Noodle House just eight or so blocks down – at the southeast corner of Bacon and Niagara. It now gives a solid restaurant option at each corner of that intersection, providing ample opportunities for businesses on the block to attract traffic.

“It’s awesome to see,” said Bar 1502 owner Steven Yeng, who passed up offers to open up shop on Newport. For him, the location is a personal dream come true, as it is just steps from his boyhood house.

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Longtime OB Barber Passes the Scissors and the Business to Haircut Heir

July 16, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

Ron Pilcher has been cutting hair for 40 years at Sunset Clipps in Ocean Beach. That all changes this week when he passes the torch to the next generation.

“I’m 70 now,” he said. “My wife is getting ready to retire. It’s time to hang up the scissors.”

It’s a veritable changing of the clipper guard, so to speak.

It was a long journey to find who would take over the shop at the corner of Santa Monica and Sunset Cliffs. Enter Jason Bullard, 45, a trained stylist and longtime OBcean with big plans for the place. He says taking over the shop is a dream come true.

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OB Elementary Principal Reflects on His First Year

July 11, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

It’s the middle of summer and the halls of Ocean Beach Elementary School are desolate.

The kids are long gone, having hit the beach or camp or family vacation and otherwise soaking in the three-month summer break. Teachers have been dismissed to recharge for a few student-less months.

Yet here’s principal Marco Drapeau, sitting at his desk, sifting diligently through paperwork as the rest of the world around him goofs off.

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“Mallow out!” Says the OB Town Council – No More Marshmallow War

July 1, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

If the Town Council has its way, Ocean Beach will be a marshmallow-free zone this Fourth of July.

Town Council President Gretchen Newsom hammered home that point Tuesday morning during a press conference at the Veterans Memorial by the beach as they spread the word to “Mallow Out.”

“This has been too much. The last couple of years, it’s gotten completely out of control. It has desecrated our memorial,” she said. “It’s time for our community to clean itself up.”

The Town Council is calling for all businesses to stop selling marshmallows in order to keep participation down. Newsom cited people throwing marshmallows that frozen, on fire and stuffed with batteries at last year’s Marshmallow War.

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Acai Bowls Return to Lazy Hummingbird “Coffee Shop”

July 1, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Wrong standard had been applied to the coffee shop by over-zealous health inspector

By Matthew Wood

The acai bowls are back at the ‘Bird, and there is much rejoicing in OB.

For nearly a month, the coffee shop that shares a storefront with the OB Business Center on Santa Monica Avenue had to shut down the popular bowls and other food production because of what owner Danielle Eder calls an overzealous inspector.

“For the last three years, we’ve been getting A’s,” Eder said of health inspection reviews of the coffee shop, which just celebrated its third anniversary.

“They change the rules every day. There are so many exceptions to them, especially with food carts.”

She said the inspector – who she declined to name – had a problem with the way they were preparing some of their food and shut them down just before Memorial Day.

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Watching With the Enemy: US – Germany World Cup Match at Kaiserhof

June 27, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

The biggest question is, Why? Why watch the big World Cup soccer match between the United States and Germany at Kaiserhof, the long-standing Ocean Beach biergarten and general German fan meeting place?

Like the idea of climbing so many mountain tops and starting so many world wars, I countered with, Why not? When I came up with this hare-brained idea, …

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OB Gets Its New Entryway Sign

June 19, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

Meet the new Ocean Beach entryway sign, same as the old sign.

Well, not exactly.

After a long process of bringing in local artists and voting on new ideas for the sign, organizers decided to … stick with the same exact design.

OB Town Council President Gretchen Newsom unveiled the new sign Wednesday on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard just outside of Robb Field during a ceremony that included San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts, current District 2 City Councilman Ed Harris, former Town Council President Jim Musgrove and Steve Clippinger, of Integrated Sign Associates. Clippinger made the actual sign.

Roberts secured the funding from the county for the sign, which cost around $7,000.

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Networking Group Brings OB Business Owners Together

June 17, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

Stroll by Te Mana Café on a Tuesday afternoon and you’re liable to see some of the future movers and shakers in the OB business community.

That’s where the Ocean Beach Networking Group has been meeting for a weekly luncheon ever since March. The group was the brainchild of Chuck Hardwick and C.C. Summerfield.

“None of my clients were in OB. They’re all over,” said Hardwick, who owns a web marketing business. “I really wanted to meet some local people. That’s how it came about.”

So he took to the Internet, posting a message on LinkedIn looking for interest. That’s where he met Summerfield, a real estate agent in the area.

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Where to Watch the World Cup in OB

June 13, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

Calling all soccer fans: The place to be if you want to watch the World Cup in OB is at Niagara and Bacon Streets.

That’s where neighboring spots Bar 1502 (aka the New OB Noodle House) and Raglan Public House will be showing all the games with the best specials in the ‘hood.

“We’re really excited for it,” Bar 1502 owner Steve Yeng said about the World Cup. “We want people to come out and have some fun.”

They will have an array of specials as well as jersey and soccer ball giveaways throughout the tournament, which runs through July 13.

Get select drafts for just $2 each day, as well as $10 glass boots (10 liters). Shots will flow freely, with specials including $3 Jim Beam, $4 Jameson and $5 Makers Mark, as well as $3 shots of Fernet – the official drink of Argentina.

Bar 1502 will also be open for breakfast during the games, …

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Bar 1502: Did You Know the New Noodle House is Open?

May 19, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

It’s just after noon on Friday afternoon and Steven Yeng looks nervous.

The man who opened the wildly popular OB Noodle House is standing in the middle of his new creation, Bar 1502, and the place – which opened less than a week before – is half empty during the normal lunch rush.

“I don’t think people know we’re open,” he says.

It’s hard to imagine being able to walk into Noodle House and get a table. At the original location, on Cable Street just north of Voltaire, the wait is almost always an hour-plus can grow to more than two hours.

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OB Restaurant Week Is Back and Includes Hotels

April 25, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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NEW UPDATES !

By Matthew Wood

OB Restaurant Week is back. This time it’s bringing some hotels along for the ride.

The week kicks off Sunday -April 27 – with four hotels/B&Bs hosting a launch party with samples from the 20 participating restaurants. Then the restaurants take over, offering specials every day from Monday to Sunday.

“We’re excited. We really have enhanced the event since the first year by letting the hotels host the event,” said Liz Greene, Creative director for Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association, which is one of the event sponsors.

“It’s like an open house for them to be able to show locals, visitors, everyone who wants to see.”

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My Day As a Crossing Guard

April 24, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

You might have heard about the new crosswalk that opened next to Ocean Beach Elementary School on Santa Monica Avenue. We’ve certainly talked about it enough.

Now that the crosswalk is finally in place and the street is open again, you would think that all is safe with the school and the only looming threat for the kids are this week’s spelling quiz and forgetting their backpack.

But that’s not the case, as I learned firsthand.

In talking to the two volunteer crossing guards – Wayne Simard and Joseph “Moondoggie” Pina – they said it’s still pretty crazy in the morning rush and that people still don’t always stop for the kids.

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OB Elementary Crosswalk Coming In Over Spring Break

April 4, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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UPDATE: A sign on Santa Monica Boulevard says the street will be closed through April 14 between Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Ebers Street. So much for the project getting done by the end of spring break. Good luck to all the parents taking their kids to school this week. It should be interesting.

By Matthew Wood

It’s not all fun and games at Ocean Beach Elementary School during spring break.

Santa Monica Avenue has been closed between Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Ebers Street all week as workers have been frantically trying to finish putting in a much-anticipated crosswalk outside the school.

The project was supposed to be finished before students came back on Monday, but as of Friday morning, there was still a big hole in the street and a construction crew working frantically to get the job done. Rain earlier in the week helped to delay the construction.

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Pioneer School Founder At Home in OB

March 21, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

Jim Liener knew there was a better way.

Working as a special needs teacher in San Diego, mostly dealing with autistic children, he saw how the public schools system would routinely fail the kids that needed the most attention.

Then he started working with an autistic child who was being home schooled, not able to make it in a normal school environment. He turned the family’s gazebo into a one-room home schoolhouse. An epiphany hit: Why can’t we take this home-school format, which works best for kids with these needs, and make it into an actual school?

“It was kind of like I told myself, ‘Shut up and do something about it,’” Liener said.

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OB Town Council Prez Gretchen Newsom in the Running for District 2 Council Appointment

March 7, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

If you would have told Gretchen Newsom a year ago that she would be in consideration for the District 2 seat on the City Council, she probably would have sent you home and told you to sleep it off.

After all, it was just this past year that she was elected president of the Ocean Beach Town Council. Now she is officially “campaigning” – for lack of a better word – for the position, holding a signature-gathering meet-&-greet with friends and supporters Thursday night at her home on Santa Cruz Avenue.

“It’s a bit of a whirlwind, but I’m feeling pretty positive,” Newsom said in between introducing herself to supporters on her front stoop and watching her son, Leif, play in the yard.

“I never, ever, ever foresaw this situation happening. It’s a really unique opportunity.”

In case you haven’t been following along, it more or less all started with former Mayor Bob Filner. When Filner stepped down from office in disgrace, his seat was eventually filled by former District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer.

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Cheswick’s Bartenders Pass the Boot in OB to Help Firefighters

March 6, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

For years, Cheswick’s West bartenders Allie Shea and Shelly Hutchison would ring the bell behind the bar whenever one of the local fire trucks would drive by on Newport Avenue to show their love.

Now they do it with a purpose: To raise money for the Fallen Firefighters Foundation (link). That’s because every time one of the trucks drives by, the bar passes around the firefighter’s boot they have perched behind the bar for everyone to donate.

“Every time they drive by, we ring it. People love it,” Hutchison said.

The idea to raise money came about after Shea took part in the San Diego Memorial 911 Stair Climb at the Hilton Bayfront last year. More than 900 people gathered to climb 110 stairs in honor of the firefighters who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

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Ocean Beach Hit Hard by Storm – OB Pier Still Closed

March 3, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Ocean Beach is digging out of palm fronds up to our ankles after the weekend’s big storm.

The Pier was closed Saturday morning and there’s no time table for reopening it after waves crashed over it throughout the weekend.

Things got a bit dicey during the weekend’s biggest rain and winds, but could have been worse. Most businesses stayed open as usual, despite most places on Newport putting out sandbags.

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Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away

February 28, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

So this is what a winter storm in SoCal is like. Who knew?

Spending my first winter in San Diego after numerous cold, barren, lifeless years in the Midwest, I was kinda getting the impression that winter was like every other season here: Warm, sunny, pretty much perfect in every way.

Except for, you know, that massive drought we’ve been having. We need this rain, real bad.

As I watched the weather reports this week that are calling for the biggest storm in Southern California in years, I have been rooting for the worst. Maybe we could even get a name out of this one! Rainmeggeden? The Gusting Ghost? Wind-zilla? OK, we’ll work on those.

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Cohn’s “OB Warehouse” Still a Few Months Away From Opening

February 21, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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We have an update on the opening date for OB Warehouse, the new spot on Newport Avenue from the Cohn Restaurant Group.

Apparently Tim Spann’s estimate of “a couple weeks” that we reported was a bit optimistic.

“We don’t have a definitive opening date,” said Kelly Brown, a publicist with the Cohn Group. “It’s going to be in the next couple of months.”

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Cohn’s New “OB Warehouse” About to Open on Newport – Old Portugalia Sign Finally Gone

February 14, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Ding dong, the wicked sign is gone.

You know the one I’m talking about. The Portugalia sign – that garish Ed Hardy-tattoo-esque design (that yes, included a cross) painted two stories tall over the now shuttered club on Newport Avenue – has finally been removed, thanks to Tim Spann and the folks at Cohn Restaurant Group.

Spann, who is in charge of signage and some of the interior design for the new OB Warehouse, aided in taking down the old and now out-dated sign – which lorded over the upstanding exteriors of Newport Avene like an hulking gargoyle. Its reign over the village is finally over, as the new “OB Warehouse” sign went up on Wednesday.

We got a sneak peek inside the new place, …

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Vote Outcome as Foggy as Ocean Beach on Election Day

February 11, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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As San Diegans vote in the third mayoral election in two years, the outcome looks as foggy as the air in Ocean Beach this morning.

Heading around the neighborhood, most polling places are reporting slower than normal turnout.

“It’s been pretty slow,” said Destiny Paz, a Point Loma High School senior who is an election volunteer at the Beardsley Mitchell Funeral

Home polling place on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. “I don’t know how else to describe it. Very quiet.”

Things have been a bit livelier at the Ocean Beach Rec Center, where Rose Novales volunteers with her daughter, Eleanor.

“We’ve been busy. People have been flowing in, which is nice. I don’t want to fall asleep,” she said.

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Hanging Out With the Crew of the OB Firehouse

February 6, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Editor: A few months ago, OB Rag reporter Matt Wood had the privilege of spending the day with OB firefighters – the crew of C Division at the Ocean Beach No. 15 Firehouse. His post was part of the Rag’s continuing series of articles about the public servants who serve the people of Ocean Beach – our effort to put faces on good folks who often go unknown to the neighborhoods they serve.

Matt’s story got great feedback and he was invited back again – this time to hang out with one of the other two divisions. Here’s his account of that day with them.

By Matthew Wood

The A Division is losing its leader. Instead of mourning the loss of a tremendous firefighter, they are taking the opportunity to celebrate.

Division captain Bryon Wenger will retire later this month as he closes in on 38 years fighting fires, 27 of them in San Diego and the last few (he can’t completely remember how long) here in OB.

To celebrate, Wenger is going for a run. Specifically, on his last day he’s going to run all the way from his home in Lakeside to the station on Voltaire. That’s 24 miles, nearly the length of a marathon.

“Well, not quite a marathon,” Wenger says with a smile.

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OB Elementary School Crosswalk on Santa Monica Closer to Reality

January 27, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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OB Elementary Crosswalk Construction Begins – New Streetlight Added to Mid-Block Santa Monica Ave. Crossing

Slowly but surely, the crosswalk outside of Ocean Beach Elementary School on Santa Monica Avenue is coming together.

City workers put up a street light while students were on winter break, a necessity to follow city code. The next step is to put in the actual crosswalk. A discussion about the extent of this will be held at the OB Planning Board meeting on Feb. 5.

In the meantime, Joseph “Moondoggie” Pina and Wayne Simard still have their crew of volunteer crossing guards manning their posts every morning and afternoon.

“It’s coming,” said Pina. “Slowly, but it’s coming.”

They said the volunteers will still be out even after the crosswalk is (finally) built.

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Ocean Beach Smoking News : New Vape Store and Possibly New Pot Dispensary

January 27, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Vape Store Opens Near Beach

OB has its first storefront dedicated solely to e-cigarettes after the recent opening of Ocean Beach Vape Shoppe and Lounge. The store opened in the beachfront center at Abbott Street and Santa Monica Avenue, tucked away behind Shades Oceanfront Bistro and Tower Two Café.

It’s the second store in San Diego for the owners. Pacific Beach Vape Shoppe, at 1477 Garnet Avenue, has already been open for a few months.

Store manager Rachel Lester said customers can purchase e-cigarette devices, also known as “vapes,” and a number of nicotine-infused flavors.

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Another business falls prey to ‘black hole’ on Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach

January 24, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Becky Hostetter always had a dream to open her own store.

The lifelong San Diegan and longtime OB resident had been keeping tabs on potential storefront openings in the neighborhood for a while. When the location next to the ABC Liquor store at Voltaire and Ebers opened up over the summer, she jumped on it.

It seemed like a dream location.

”My mother almost bought that building 30 years ago,” Hostetter said. “She tried to get financing but it fell through. My grandmother owned a shop further down on Voltaire.”

Hostetter called her new store Urban Upcycle, which specialized in used furniture that she would refurbish.

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OB’s “Bone Appetit” Pet Store Moving from Newport to Sunset Cliffs

January 20, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Newport Avenue pet shop Bone Appetit is packing up and moving at the end of the month – but only a couple blocks.

The store, which also serves as a cat adoption location, is moving to 1785 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., in the building previously housed by Las Brisas Fabric Care Center, across the street from Olive Tree Market.

“We’re downsizing a bit,” said owner Kelly Patri, who added they will lose about 400 square feet in the new building. “It’ll be cozy, but nice. We can operate in a smaller space.”

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Sunset Cliffs Tragedy Reminds Us to Respect Our Surroundings

January 16, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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The news of graduate student Anna Bachman falling to her death from Sunset Cliffs while apparently taking a picture on Sunday is truly tragic for all OBceans.

Who among us has not been to the cliffs and probably gone a little too far in order to get the perfect view of the sunset or perfect picture to share with our friends?

The fact that it was a woman who was living in Chicago that died hits even closer to home for me. I’m a somewhat recent transplant from the Windy City, having transplanted to our beautiful beachfront utopia in the past year.

Since moving here, we have had a number of visitors from Chicago and the Midwest. We had guests visit over the holidays and took them to see what has to be considered one of the best sunset views in the world. We couldn’t have been more than a few yards from where Bachman fell.

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Point Loma Taco Shop Part of Mayor’s Bet – But Just How Will the Burritos Get to Denver?

January 15, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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When news broke last week that Point Loma’s Ortiz’s Taco Shop would be part of Mayor Todd Gloria’s bet between San Diego and Denver over Sunday’s NFL playoff game, it was news to the Ortiz family.

“We didn’t even know about the bet,” said Juan Ortiz, who has run the restaurant with his brother and parents since 2004.

Alex Roth, a spokesman for Interim Mayor Gloria’s office, said he did some research on social media to find a worthy restaurant for the bet and even checked out the place himself.

“We just wanted to have food that represented the best Mexican food in San Diego,” he said. “We wanted to make sure it was a product worthy of making a bet. And it was.”

Ortiz said Gloria also came to eat at the place last Tuesday, which sealed the deal.

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James Gang Gets in on Chargers’ Bolo Mania

January 14, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers started Bolo Mania in San Diego. The folks at James Gang hopped on board – and did some nice business in the process.

Rivers has gained national attention for his choice of postgame attire – a bolo tie – during the Chargers five-game winning streak that included an improbable playoff win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Last week, James Gang owner Paul Bearce helped fuel the fire when the OB printing company started making T-shirts with a bolo tie design that said “Fear the Bolo.”

It started on Tuesday morning, he recalls. “We had a customer come in looking for anything Charger.” But all they had was one shirt that said “Ocean Beach” in Chargers lettering. Not good enough.

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