Newport News – news from OB’s main street

by on October 24, 2009 · 75 comments

in Economy, Environment, Ocean Beach

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Originally posted on October 17, 2009

Cow has to move out of OB

OCEAN BEACH, CA.    Every now and then, we like to check in to what’s been going on Newport Avenue – OB’s main drag.  What is going on with the community’s main business street?

Well, there’s lots to report – both good and bad.

Cow is moving out of OB

We spoke to Greg last week, the owner of Cow, Newport’s only music store. And unfortunately for the community, his business will be moving out of Ocean Beach by the new year.  He is on a month-to-month lease. The reason for the move from the beach? Well, there are two reasons:

First, the owner of the BBQ House is expanding and developing a new restaurant next door to its current and apparently successful enterprise.  Abdul is opening up – probably – a pizza and beer place – the space that Cow now rents.  So, Cow has to move.

But Greg wanted to buy a building up the street – in the 4900 block of Newport – and had offered the owner over half a mil.  Buying the building would have allowed him to not only stay in OB, but also create something else in addition to Cow as well.  Those dreams were dashed by the building’s owner.  Greg feels he cannot afford to stay around – despite the myriad of empty building spaces in and around Newport Ave.  This is certainly bad news for OBcean music lovers.

BBQ House to add a pizza and beer joint next door

Abdul, the owner of BBQ House, is expanding new door and making a pizza and beer restaurant. The project appears to be in its last planning phases.

OB should be proud that the BBQ House has been such a success, as the community bent the rules regarding parking in order to allow Abdul and his family to move from their old location next to the Strand Theater (before Wings) to relocate where they are now. The OB Planning Board waived the rule on new businesses being forced to provide a certain amount of parking.

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Tire Store to remain at least for another year

Some good news. Newport’s tire store – the OB Tire Center – will not be moving at the end of this year, as earlier the owner had threatened.  Instead, according to Louie, the owner’s brother, they have signed a new lease for at least one year, maybe more. This is definitely a healthy sign for OB.

The tire store sits at the busy intersection of Newport and Cable Street, and has deals for local residents. The rent is high, but perhaps there are silver linings in these dark clouds of recession.  It is perhaps too expensive for the current owners of the property to expand and build the rumored restaurant.

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Well-known OB musician plays for free on Newport

One of OB’s most well-known musicians, John Trafolla, can be found sitting on Newport Ave’s sidewalk – playing acoustic songs for any passersby – especially on Fridays.  John likes the acoustical hollow effect provided by the small courtyard behind the ice cream shop and South Coast Bar and Grill. He plays right at its entrance.

He does like to come now to Newport, set up his chair and play and sing. And if you’re lucky enough to hear him as you walk by, take a moment and listen.  John told me he is in the process of forming a new band. Look for them soon.

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Italian restaurant’s exterior looking finished

It appears that the exterior on a new Italian restaurant, “Ciao Bella“, is getting closer to being finalized.  Workers were seen working on the front of the business at 4953 Newport.  The Notice of Ownership Change says it will be Ciao Bella.

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Work continues  on old sun tanning space

Huge sheets of paper block the view through the large windows at the old sun tanning business.  Workers have been inside redoing the place.  There is a rumor that a boutique will be opening sometime soon.

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The walls are tumbling down at the old Boll Weevil

Not far from Newport Avenue, construction workers have taken a huge bite out of the tasks before them in rehabbing the old Boll Weevil site, at the corner of Santa Monica and Bacon Street.  Walls came tumbling down, as a bobcat whirred inside the construction fence along the property line.

Pizza Port will be moving into the space, once the rehab is completed. The successful pizza business, coming from North County, promises some excellent food a a great variety of beer.  We wish them all the luck.

That particular site, as old-timers can tell you, has had a troubled history.  It’s been extremely difficult for the myriad of bars and restaurants that have tried to make it there.

Sometime in the Eighties, the original Boll Weevil moved out. After that, a series of restaurants, sports bars and clubs – including Java Joe’s, formerly from Newport – and at the end – the old Boll Weevil even moved back. But none of them lasted.  Not sure why.  Maybe it’s too far off the beaten track – not enough foot traffic. Yet, it’s only one block from Newport.

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Burnt Abbott Street house being repaired

Abbott Street neighbors of the house burnt months ago are happy something is happening there.  New repairs and new wood have appeared at the building, between Cape May and Saratoga, on the west side, and it seems as if the place will be rebuilt soon.  Ever since the mysterious fire – with accusations of arson flying about – the near-gutted structure has marred that section of Abbott.

The repair effort means somebody will have a house again, and somebody has a job.  These are good things.

{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

PSD October 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Maaan…losing Cow is gonna suuuck. Independent music shops are getting increasingly rare these days (not that they haven’t been a dying breed for some time now). This is one of the businesses that I really dug in that it served locals and tourists alike. Not that I don’t totally dig on BBQ House (since its old location), and restaurants in general, but adding another restaurant seems like a good thing if it were filling vacant space, not taking out one of the longtime local businesses. I’ve had a few great chats with the dude running the place, and he’s had to deposit many hundreds of my dollars over the years…

Glad to hear construction is going at the burnt-out Abbott house – I noticed it a few weeks back. Does anyone know if the old owners are finally getting their insurance straightened out, if the house has changed hands, or ???

Interested to see Ciao Bella – isn’t it being put together by the same guy that has run the Quik Stops on Newport for a year or so and on Voltaire since pretty much forever? Craves was pretty rad while it lasted though, I’m at least glad Shades put some of their dishes on the Santa Monica location menu when they shut the second storefront…

Good luck to Pizza Port – pretty grubbin’ food there. Although I always fantasized buying that building and running my own bar while living in the apartment upstairs…


Dave Gilbert October 30, 2009 at 12:31 pm

I caught wind of COW maybe having to close and move a few months back and even interviewed Greg for a piece here. He told me the whole story as long as it was off the record as he didn’t want to have the owner come off in a bad light. I agreed and left it alone and hoped for the best, but now am saddened that COW will no longer be here.

I love music, playing it, writing it or listening to it. 20 years ago I had @ 300 LPs 200 Cassettes 150 45’s and even 15 8-tracks. I even had some 78’s as well, point is I had a lot of records and tapes, or so I thought. I found COW down on Newport and now I can’t count how much music I have. I became a regular at that place and like a favorite eatery, I would always bring my friends there where we’d hang out and talk music with the cats behind the counter.

It was a sad day when Tower records closed their doors forever. Now with COW leaving it pretty much ends an era for record stores in our area.


Brian October 18, 2009 at 2:20 am

Bummer about Cow. It’s where I got my copy of Pink Flamingos.


Ian Duckles October 18, 2009 at 7:15 am

So, there are going to be two more Pizza and Beer places within a one block radius? Love all that variety on Newport. I guess pretty soon that is all that will be there?


OBSteven October 19, 2009 at 9:26 am

I find it strange that The BBQ House is forcing out Cow Records. Didn’t they get forced out of their former location because of Wings? I seem to remember people protesting the fact that the bbq house was having to shut down. I saw a sign that read “Vegetarians support the BBQ House”. It seems to me that they would be the first to defend and protect their neighbors than the first to force them out. Since they had been forced to shut their doors and move. Sounds like bad karma if you ask me. I will not eat at the bbq house again. For a few reasons. I don’t like bad neighbors, their bbq is slightly below average and the sausage is the absolute worst I have ever had. I also don’t like listening to techno music while eating bbq. Having grown up in Texas it seems sacrilegious. Have they ever heard of Willie Nelson? I guess the almighty dollar carries more value than supporting your fellow Newport business owner. The bbq house should be ashamed of themselves.


Frank Gormlie October 19, 2009 at 1:07 pm

OB Steven – there are 2 reasons that COW is moving. You focused on just one. The other reason is that the building owner where COW wanted to go was too greedy to accept over $.5 million for the place.


OBSteven October 19, 2009 at 2:08 pm

I expect greed from landlords. The bbq house had their doors shut because of wings. I was pissed when it happened to them. I think it is horrible that they are now doing it to someone else. That is pure bullshit. They are supposed to be a neighbor. If you are done wrong by someone and then you turn around and do the same thing to someone else then I have no sympathy. bbq house has obviously forgotten how it feels to be thrown out of business. Karma will catch up to them.


PSD October 20, 2009 at 10:33 pm

I don’t blame BBQ House for this one – more the stubbornness of the landlords of Newport. Did Cow explore other sites, or a lease with a future purchase option? Ultimately it’s up to land owners whether or not to sell or rent to certain clientele, and up to tenants to decide where best to locate themselves or their businesses. All I’ve got to say is that Cow provided great diversity to the makeup of the local downtown, I’ll be sad to see them go, and I’ll continue to support them wherever they move…until someone else opens up a music shop in OB to compensate for the loss.


Shawn Conrad October 19, 2009 at 9:27 am

Pizza Port will triumph. Once they move in my pizza and beer dollars will be focused there.


fstu October 19, 2009 at 10:24 am

Too Bad about COW now that they are moving Imight save some money. they have great sounds. Good news for OB tire I was concerned about where I would go for car service at least I can spent the moneyI’ll save from not have a record store on more car service
Good luck to the Pizza port looking forward to it


Shawn Conrad October 19, 2009 at 1:49 pm


You are on track. All these poster board signs, chants, and “hug ins” are powerless against greedy landlords. The landlords will not be satisfied until only Wal Mart and Macy’s can afford the rents on Newport.

One thing I like about OB is the family businesses. One thing about OB that I do not like is watching the American Dream die.

I guess Hunter S. Thompson was right way back in 1971 in declaring the death of the American Dream.


OBSteven October 20, 2009 at 9:22 am

Walmart on the pier coming soon.


Dave Gilbert October 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm

“Wal-Mart on the pier coming soon”

Tsunami soon to follow! (God willing) ;)


Gary Gilmore October 19, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Has the owner of COW taken a look at 4879 Newport? It’s two doors east of the Tire Store and it’s a good size building probably about the same size as his original location. COW would offer some much needed diversity to this block and that location would be at least as good if not better than his original location. The property management company’s number is 619-280-2600. OB is such a music oriented neighborhood. A music store is perfect. I really don’t want to see us loose COW.


OB Joe October 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Gary – ask him. Maybe you can use your pull on the OBMA board to convince him. I totally agree with you. Perhaps we need to put together a petition addressed to Gary, the owner, and try to convince him to stay in OB.


Dave Gilbert October 30, 2009 at 4:59 pm

The old Retro? That’s where I first heard they might move to, and though it’s not in the heart of Newport, I still think it would be a great spot for the amount of inventory they have. It’s a lot deeper than their present location but I don’t know if it’s still a viable option for COW’s owner.


Shawn Conrad October 19, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I have heard of communities forcing people out, but forcing people in is a new concept that I support. Especially when it comes to Cow.


KarmaPatrol October 20, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Shawn–Instead of a “sit in” we call it a “force in” where we lock Cow’s owner inside a currently vacant building OBRag readership deems fitting for Cow’s relocation, and hold Cow’s owner there until he is so famished and exhausted that he signs the lease agreement on the new premises. Or the alternative would be to make ’em walk the plank!


Ian October 21, 2009 at 10:08 am

Why are you excited about the tire shop staying and down on another restaurant in OB? The food selection is horrible, we need better food options. What good does a tire shop do for Newport?

I also think that it is silly to say that the owner of a building is “greedy” because they will not sell their building for a specific price. Who are you to make that judgment?


Frank Gormlie October 21, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Ian, to answer some of your questions. “Excitement” would not be the word to describe the OB tire store staying, more like relief. They offer good deals to locals – and they stand by their work. That’s called integrity. Plus, they’re a family-owned and run business.

On the restaurant, it’s just another pizza and beer joint. With the owner of Newport Pizza opening up one across the street on Newport and Pizza Port opening up a block away – OB’s Newport will have a zillion beer and pizza places, and like you, I’d like to see more variety. It’s like Hollywood (is Hollywood creeping into OB?) – they get one success in a movie or a TV series – and instead of thinking creatively and doing something different, they copy their success story hoping that it will be one too. That’s why there’s a thousand Bruce Willis movies with him basically playing the same guy and in the same scenario. Go see my post I wrote recently asking ‘how many alcohol-serving establishments can one block in OB handle?’

Got to disagree wid ya on the silly aspect of property owners being greedy. I don’t know if you’re new to OB or even know OB, but to Newport Ave observers, we’ve seen quite a lot of greed – count the empty store fronts. So, instead of trying to work out equitable arrangements with their then current businesses, those who own the property go for the higher rent – and in the process ousting many community-serving businesses as we’ve seen over the years. We lost a 30-year family pet store when the greedy landlord raised the rent 3000%. (that’s not a typo.) So when a community-favored place like Cow approaches a property owner and makes a damn good offer in a time of Great Recession – don’t forget that – and is turned down…. you can call it “silly” but it goes deeper.


OBSteven October 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Maybe we should leave all the graffiti and trash around just long enough to bring rents down.


Molly October 21, 2009 at 7:16 pm

OBSteven – I know you meant that as a joke, but don’t laugh yet, as back in the 1970s, we used to say something similar, but being the early and mid 70s, we used to say maybe we should have a riot. In fact, there used to be a take-off of “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” and began “I’m dreaming of a white riot…” as those days, it seemed that the only people rioting were African-Americans and Mexican-Americans. Once a riot occurred, then attention was given that community, ala Watts 1965.


OBSteven October 21, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Actually, I was thinking about how it seems as soon as a community starts picking up its trash and painting over the graffiti the rents go up.

It almost seems smart to leave it just to keep the rents down. It was just a thought. No real agenda. It wasn’t even a very sober thought at that. Just free speech. Kind of slurred free speech.

I also think that we should install Brita filters inside every dam in order to help keep our rivers clean. Again, just a thought.


PSD October 22, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Ultimately landlords have the right to decide who they rent to and what price. And sellers have the right to decide whether or not they want to sell a property, and what price they’re willing to accept. I.E., see: one mustachioed elderly gentleman of great esteem within the community who chose to shutter one of San Diego’s most acclaimed restaurants and intentionally allow the property to deteriorate into a neighborhood eyesore, losing money hand-over-fist all the while, solely in an attempt to denigrate a community for its acceptance of various sexual preferences.


Shawn Conrad October 21, 2009 at 1:20 pm


Chain him to the building.


Jim Dent October 21, 2009 at 6:04 pm

I have been dealing with Louie and Hadeer, owners of OB Tire since they opened about 10-12 years ago. They have not only offered me the best prices, but have gone far beyond replacing tires. They have become my friends. They changed the oil in my big work van when everyone else turned me away at a fraction of the cost. They informed me of paper thin break pads the last time they installed my new tires. I asked if they could do the job. They charged me $180 for new front brake pads where my regular brake shop used to charge over $400. OB benifits from a business like OB Tire. Nothing wrong with wanting good food either, but there’s only one tire shop and it’s always busy.
Now they want to buy the building. So what? Try putting yourself in their shoes.


PSD October 22, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Thanks for the kind words about OB Tire Center, Jim! My car is just coming out of warranty, so I’m not going to keep taking it to the dealer and my old small-time mechanic retired a few years back after serving me for a decade and my mom for more than three…after a buddy’s car just got f’ed the eff up by another local shop that so far is refusing to stand by their work, it’s nice to know there’s a good guy nearby I can send some business to…


OBSteven October 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm

I would love to see a tax on landlords who have vacant store fronts because of their choice. If their property is vacant and it is solely because of greed than they should have to pay the O.B. Main Street Association a tax for every week it’s vacant. Make it unprofitable for them to sit and wait for the highest bidder.


PSD October 22, 2009 at 10:08 pm

I liked an idea Jello Biafra proposed on his run for San Francisco mayor and one of his stand-up albums – legalize squatting in any buildings landlords intentionally leave vacant. Never mind our good man Falcouner trying to shame the rest of the city into getting the homeless shelter out of the Downtown core of his district, we’ve got more than enough space for the poor to take by force in that one little town north of the real city and south of PB that he kinda represents…


Jim Dent October 23, 2009 at 7:17 am

To OB Steven: Ocean Beach Tire isn’t really known for auto mechanical work, but I do know that they employ at least one state certified mechanic and he replaced my front brake pads on my big service van. When everyone else also refused to change my oil (the big rig truck shops wanted $240) Hadeer had me buy the 4 gallons of oil and filter myself for my diesel truck, and he did the oil change for $30! I saved well over $100! My diesel truck is 24 feet long and nobody but a big rig shop will touch it. They have replaced tired on my Trans Am twice and recently a new set of BF Goodrich tires and beautiful chrome rims for an old van I’m restoring. Better than having to go to PB to Discount Tire and better prices! They also replace 6 tires on my last work van twice. It had dual wheels on the back. They saved me a lot of money.


OBSteven October 23, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I haven’t said a word about Ocean Beach Tire. I have heard only good things. I have a beef with the bbq house.


Mary October 22, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Dammit – Cow and Rags are really the only places I ever go on Newport that don’t involve pizza or beer (natch). I hope the owner of Cow can open up elsewhere – and that he keeps us posted so I can go to the new Cow.


Frank Gormlie October 22, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Hey – see my comment in OB Flashes about just getting off the phone with Cow’s owner, Greg.


Matt D October 29, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Why is OB turning into a haven of horrible pizza??? People of OB I hate to break it to you, but the pizza at Pizza Port is not pizza, it’s TRASH! Watch the Solana Beach Wonderland special on PBS to see what i’m talking about. The sauce is gross, ingredients are gross, they cook the pies on a screen and use a conveyor belt oven like chucky cheese, certified GARBAGE! I had a slice a year or so back and threw 3/4’s of it in the trash, which is sad considering i can usually choke back 1/2 a Newport Pizza slice before throwing it to the homeless on the sea wall. I get it both spots have a great beer selection and thats all you really need to sell your horrible food.

The REAL ISSUE HERE. How are you going to close The Cow a store that actually serves a purpose in our community???? It’s a great place, amazing staff(they actually know a lot about music and stock the obscure titles real music heads like myself want to see. Quick to throw on any CD or Record you’re curious to hear. They have great deals, especially the dollar records and they tend to look out and take care of regulars like myself, all signs of a good business. Don’t get me wrong I like the BBQ House and their staff as much as the next guy but really do we need a third half ass pizza and beer spot??? NO, NOT AT ALL!!!!
The guy who owns the building the Cow is in is a absolute FOOL. Not going to say his name but a few years back he came into where i work and begged my boss to open a spot in that space knowing the volume of business we current handle and understanding he’d have no worries ever about collecting rent. The lease he wanted said boss to sign was a joke considering it was way less than half the size of our current spot with about the same amount of foot traffic, yet the amount was going to be TWICE of my bosses current lease outside OB. After months of no rent he probably just made a deal that the Cow could afford knowing he’d kick them out as soon as he could find a more successful business that he could charge more for the lease. Absolute FOOL you are.

PS Cant wait for that new italian spot to sell pizza too. OB you’re loosing even more credibility.


jon October 29, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Awww man, if you’re gonna go off on a rant accusing someone or some community of losing “credibility,” at least have the decency to use proper grammar and spelling. Sorry to be that guy, but it had to be said. The irony was just too much to handle.

I personally think the pies at hippie pizza (aka: Newport Pizza) are pretty good, although inconsistent. You need to get there on a night when the dude with green hair is making the pie. He’s the best.

And one last thing…I don’t hear anyone yelling and screaming about too many taco shops in OB (please don’t start just because I said that). I think they outnumber the pizza joints 2-1. I just find it odd that everyone is suddenly picking on pizza. In my opinion, Pizza Port is going to make a great addition to the community and will hopefully provide a long-term occupancy for what has been a troubled location. They are family owned, make a great beer and have already become interested and active in our community. If anything, having them here will increase our credibility as a tight-knit, laid back, supportive community of freaks, uppity women and politicos. ;)


OBSteven October 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Nicely said.


PSD October 29, 2009 at 9:12 pm

I’m actually kind of a fan of Newport Pizza & Ale myself, and not just for the stellar beer – though it’s a selling point, I’ll take a pie home or have one delivered with some frequency (like last Monday). Cassanova’s is pretty run-of-the-mill, but I used to hit it up all the time when I lived down on Abbott. Rosaria down at the extreme south end of town deserves props too.

Although there are tons of taco shops, it bums me out that they all suck. Nico’s is okay, not bad but not stellar, but they aren’t open all hours of the night, and that’s a major Mexi qualifier. Liticker’s used to be rad, but they’ve fouled up my order 3 times in a row and Christina won’t let me order from there anymore…last time I ordered a carne asada burrito I ended up with a tortilla filled with runny eggs, bell peppers, and mushrooms. El Rodeo is just foul, Roberto’s is overpriced and foul. Livingston’s always delivers, so long as you’re looking for a Tijuana trots dropoff, but I still eat it because I don’t have to leave the ‘shine to order. Rancho’s is good but again, limited hours and kinda out of the way based on my typical walking patterns. Going out of town is even lame – Taco Fiesta is Nico’s that requires a car to reach, same with It’s A Taco Shop, Sombrero is…well, it’s Sombrero. Conclusion: OB needs a worthy Mexican food joint that my drunk ass can hit up until at least 3 a.m.


OBSteven October 30, 2009 at 8:03 am

I agree. I actually received a box staple in my burrito once at Ortega’s.
I wish more restaurants ran themselves like Little Chef and Hodad’s. They are both consistently good. I also would like for someone to explain refrigeration and customer service to Apple Tree.


obbohemian November 6, 2009 at 5:47 am

Anyone remember where HODAD’s used to be located? And how Good the food was? How simple and humble.


Frank Gormlie November 6, 2009 at 12:36 pm

obbohemian – see my article on Hodad’s posted months ago. Do a “Hodad’s” search on our internal search site.


jon October 30, 2009 at 8:16 am

Aww PSD! I said don’t start! lol. Since you did though, I guess I’ll chime in too.

Nico’s = the best Carne Asada French Fries in the world. That’s all you should ever get here.

Roberto’s = Regretto’s

El Rodeo = So drunk who cares.

Rancho’s = Why is there cauliflower in my bean & cheese burrito?


jon October 30, 2009 at 8:27 am

I forgot a couple:

Blue Parrot = Frat house. Go for the drink specials, not the food.

Ortegas = Good food, watch for staples?

Don Bravos = Watching Hodads and wishing you were eating there instead.

Nati’s = Comfort food. This will always be my favorite. The first restaurant I ate at in OB as a very young lad, and nothing has changed. Not even the waitress.

So that’s 8. I’m sure I missed a few others too. But doesn’t that sort of prove my point that there are just as many, if not more, mexican food shops in OB as pizza joints? Just sayin….


Frank Gormlie October 30, 2009 at 8:50 am

Don’t forget, Jon, that Nati’s was the very first Mexican restaurant in OB – actually in all of Point Loma for a while (early 60’s). My sister, who lives in Atlanta, always has to go there when she visits. Be careful of the beans, though, as they are old-school with their lard.


mr fresh October 30, 2009 at 9:09 am

yay lard! you wait! it will come out that lard is actually mo bettah that other fats that get used.


jon October 30, 2009 at 9:40 am

That’s what makes them so damn good!


OBSteven October 30, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I love their beans!


OBSteven October 30, 2009 at 8:30 am

Natis is bueno! I have to say that I love the lobster enchiladas from Bravos.


Patty Jones October 30, 2009 at 8:52 am

Regarding Regrettos…. we did a piece, waaay back when, on Roberto’s rolled tacos. You know, I love rolled tacos but man they need to have at least 2 strings of beef in them!


mr fresh October 29, 2009 at 2:21 pm

OB, haven of horrible pizza? sounds like it’s time to call out “super-pizzaman”, the ob rag reporter willing to gag down enough of the stuff to tell us how it really is.


OBSteven October 29, 2009 at 4:37 pm

I’m with Gabby Johnson!


Gary Gilmore October 29, 2009 at 6:34 pm

I second what Jon said. Oh! By the way….You gotta try the pizza at Espresso (It’s on Sunset Cliffs a little south of Narragansett). ‘Nuff said.


Frank Gormlie October 29, 2009 at 6:43 pm

And I second what Gary said about Espresso. It is consistently the best pizza in OB. And they don’t sell slices. It’s also a little more pricey.


PSD October 29, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Maybe I need to try Espresso’s pizza. Went in and sat down once, got some fettuccini alfredo and it was horrendously bland. Christina and another friend were also monumentally disappointed with their pasta dishes. Haven’t been back.

I’ve heard good things about Pepe’s next door to Rancho’s, though I haven’t been in there yet…any feedback?


Jim Dent October 29, 2009 at 10:22 pm

I used to love Espresso’s pizza. But that was 5 years ago. I moved 40 miles out to Valley Center where the pizza, video store and feed and grain store were all the same building. But Espresso’s pizza was great. I haven’t had one since I moved back because I don’t live right in OB now. Very close though. Marriage moved me away and divorce brought me back! It was hard to run Point Loma Electric from 40 miles away.


Jim Dent October 29, 2009 at 10:24 pm

By the way Dave, your $25 posted. Thanks, and that’s all, please. You’ve done plenty for the cause!


Gary Gilmore October 29, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Yeah, I forgot about Pepe’s. They make a worthy pizza and they make a remarkable lasgana. The owners (Ed & Darla) are very community oriented and generous.


Gary Gilmore October 29, 2009 at 11:21 pm

By the way, Jim, since I won’t be able to participate in the clean-up I’d like to kick in a few bucks. Please give me a call at the shop.


Brian October 29, 2009 at 11:38 pm

I’ll speak in favor of Espresso as well. Both their pizza and their other dinners. I’ve always like everything I’ve eaten there.


jon October 30, 2009 at 8:13 am

We go to espresso quite often. (It’s about 200 feet from our place.) The owners are great, the help is great, and the food is terrific. Real hearty italian with thick red sauces. The alfredo seems like an after-thought. I don’t think that’s what they specialize in, but they probably put it on the menu to appease the Olive Garden crowd. I would steer clear of alfredo here. The pizzas are good too. Don’t expect a thin New York style, but expect LOTS of cheese and sauce and toppings with big garlicky seasoned flavor. Also expect to pay about $17.00 for a large 2 topping.


Shawn Conrad October 30, 2009 at 9:30 am

Pepe’s is cool.

You pick the pasta you like, and then you pick the sauce you like. Cool cork table tops as well. You walk through the kitchen to use the lav.


Matt D October 30, 2009 at 10:12 am

Espresso is the worst Italian food and pizza i’ve ever had in my entire life. Grow up and NYC and you won’t eat here more than once. Anyone who backs this place really knows nothing about food and should learn to cook; you are the people who shouldn’t be allowed to use yelp or any other related site. Newport Hippie pizza is horrible as well, dude in the green hair made our pie one night while blasting a horrible goth album, had to take the pie to go, it sucked! Don’t get me started on Rosario, place is a joke all together. However Pizza port probably has the worst pizza of all these spots.

Ok we have way too many mexican spots, but it could be because we live in a border city, but what do i know i’m just a dumb NY italian with poor grammar.

Real Issue, Why close the only store in OB that has music?


jon October 30, 2009 at 11:29 am

I NEVER would have guessed the guy whining about bad pizza in San Diego was from New York. what a shock. By the way…Yelp is a joke. It’s all personal preference and 90% of the people on there aren’t qualified to review their own poop. Go Philly!


Dave Gilbert October 30, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Hey JC,

I’d never even heard of yelp before today when the manager of the Tiki Port told me that she’s noticed a big decline in business since that negative review was published back in mid- October.

Not sure if this is what you were referring to though;


Brian October 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm

I hereby defer to Matt D’s expertise on what sucks.


OBSteven October 30, 2009 at 1:23 pm

I would love to read a yelp about poop. Perhaps I should actually be careful what I wish for. Jon- you always make me laugh.


Brian October 30, 2009 at 1:35 pm

It’s not quite Yelp, but if you’re into poop reviews there’s always


jon October 30, 2009 at 3:04 pm

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. hahaha….thanks for sharing Brian, that was so sick.


jon October 30, 2009 at 3:06 pm

I was in COW today and the clerk told me nothing was set in stone yet. So that’s encouraging, but we’ll see. Picked up a great rare Radiohead CD for $8.00 and Decade of Steely Dan for $3.00 that place better not go anywhere.


Frank Gormlie October 30, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Jon and Dave – please see my update on Cow in the comments. Basically Greg the owner told me that he plans on opening a boutique Cow in one of the mini-malls in OB even if he moves the main store.


Dave Gilbert October 30, 2009 at 5:02 pm

It’s getting hard to find a common COW thread Frank, but that would be cool. What about Gary G & OB Joe’s idea?


Matt D October 30, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Jon I wouldn’t have to complain if a real pizza place opened in OB, say Sicilian Thing, Luigi’s, Bronx, Knockout, Amore or Hoboken; decent pizza does exist in SD just not in OB. I have my doubts that BBQ House will be any better then the rest. I complained about Espresso earlier because i heard good things from neighbors and saw a bunch of great Yelp reviews and tried it twice(first ordering a pie for delivery & second a sit down meal with my girl, both times a let down, especially since the price was kind of high considering the quality of the meal.
Does anyone like Poma’s pizza? They make a great eggplant sandwich but that is about all i know, might have to order a pie from them this week.

Really though is anyone going to be pumped for another pizza and beer place? If you’re going to open a new restaurant on Newport you should at least try something original, maybe healthy, maybe not beer focused. Maybe you should just let the Cow stay, so we don’t have to drive out of the neighborhood every time we want a new album.


obbohemian November 6, 2009 at 5:42 am

Really? Can’t we all just get a song?
COW can’t leave. WE NEED to have COW in our community.
I do realize that there is likely more to the story than is being shared and that for whatever reasons and justification for the impasse of an agreeable merchant seeking a new perspective in a recycled location and the maddingly misguided Landlord(s) who have not actually had to consider the consequences in their little world of entitlement and justifiable righteousness.
I cannot begin to imagine the actual conversation directly affecting the topic at hand.

What I know is that;
Ocean Beach’s Ideology is that of community. It doesn’t seem very community or representative of the OBcean way, when everyone involved acts on anticipation of individual gain instead of contributing to the benefit and support of the collective whole.


Jim Dent November 6, 2009 at 7:43 pm

I agree with obbohemian. Unfortunately, the merchants that are the steadfast fixtures of our community are not the property owners. OB has changed so much since I moved here in 1983. To most, I’m still a newbie. But the Strand was still running $1.99 double features every night, The Little Chef was my favorite breakfast spot because I knew all the regulars, and they’re all gone now. Newport Avenue Antiques was that huge variety store, can’t think of the name, senior moment. The crazy little shops between Cable and Sunset cliffs, and the paint store.
All gone. I am really glad that OB Paint and Hardware has managed to stay in business all these years. I think Home Depot put many down and out when it was built. I remember the shoe repair shop, where Willie Washington used to work with Angelo the owner. What a great guy he was, and could often be found at “TheLounge”. But I also remember when OB Tire was Rich’s VW Service, and a gas station. I hope they stay. The owners, Louie and Hadeer, have become good friends with me over the years. They have worked very hard to get to where they are today. To see them forced out would be just another “investment” for the property owner, who by the way, I did a lot of electrical work for on that very building just before OB Tire moved in. But at what cost to the community? Do we need another frikin restaurant? NO! We do not. And yes, Cow will be sorely missed.


OBSteven November 6, 2009 at 1:24 pm

I ate at Bravo’s yesterday and had a great time. I have been addicted to their lobster enchiladas for about 6 years now. They never disappoint. I also love watching the little birds come in while I’m drinking a margarita. After that we went hooping for lobsters off the pier. I caught 4 babies that I threw back as soon as I forced a butter pat down their throats so they will be ready next time.


Brian November 7, 2009 at 9:42 am

That Hodad’s article is how I found this site.


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