Newport News – What’s Happenin’ on Ocean Beach’s Main Drag

by on May 5, 2011 · 15 comments

in Culture, Economy, Ocean Beach, Popular

"Smart Clips" salon set to open in the 4800 block of Newport Avenue, where Paladin Video once stood.

“Newport News” is our occasional newsy update on what’s happenin’ on Newport Avenue, the main business street in Ocean Beach.  Who’s opening? Who’s moving and who’s closing? We feel that a business district reflects and represents the soul and spirit of a community.  We encourage shopping locally and we support businesses who give back to their community.

New Salon – “Smart Clips” – to Open Saturday May 7th

George Wolf - on his new floor doing some last minute painting - and spouse Rima will be opening Smart Clips this upcoming weekend.

George Wolf and Rima Salloum, a husband and wife team, are opening Smart Clips – a new salon for Newport where the old Paladin Video stood.  I caught George as he was sitting on the shop’s floor, finishing up some last-minute painting. The plan is to have a grand opening Saturday, May 7th, he told me.  The family-owned shop has 7 chairs installed, a three year lease and a beautiful, finished interior.

On Saturday, George and Rima will start with three to four stylists, people they know. George – whose family is originally from Lebanon – has been in California for 20 years, 14 of those in San Diego.  He seemed very excited with the approaching “grand opening”.  Stop by and welcome them to the neighborhood.

Nice Changes at Gary Gilmore’s Goldsmith Shop

The Gilmore Family now fully in control.

Gary Gilmore is planning on some changes at his well-known goldsmith shop. They’re good changes.  Since his family already works there – Beth, his wife, and Alex and Vanessa, their daughters – Gary has decided to change the name of the business to “Gilmore Family Goldsmith“.   Also, the Gilmores are planning on re-doing the front of their shop – that change is not due till August, this summer.

Shop Owner Makes Many of Her Own Soaps

Jackie Penebaker has celebrated her one year anniversary at her soap shop.

Jackie Penebaker makes many of her own products at her Pine Tree Road Soap Shop, which is near the corner of Cable on the 4800 block of Newport.  She makes her own soaps, of course, but also body butters, sugar scrubs, and lip balms – about a quarter of all the products she carries, she told me.  She also carries soaps made by other San Diego soap makers. Her first year anniversary was last February 9th, and since her opening she has much more stock on hand. Jackie has lived in OB for 7 and a half years – just up the hill, and she loves it, she said.

More Tables and Chairs on Sidewalks a Positive Move by Local Restaurants Like Ortega’s and Yogurt Farm

We have noticed that more and more restaurants are placing tables and chairs out on the sidewalk in front of their businesses. This is definitely a positive move as it allows local merchants and their customers – our neighbors – more access to the usual bare and empty “public space”.   Ortega’s Mexican food has upgraded their tables and chairs, and did this about a month ago.  If you were wondering about their missing sign, it was broken in a recent windstorm. It’s being replaced, plus some additional repairs and painting have to occur.

Ortega’s neighbor, the Yogurt Farm, has just brought out some new spiffy tables and chairs for their customers. They did this two days ago, I was told, to celebrate the fact that they now sell coffee. Yea! A yogurt place that sells Chinese food and coffee.  I also noticed that the Arizona Cafe has more tables and chairs outside their take-out place on Bacon.

We welcome all these new and renewed efforts to use the space that the sidewalks usually unilaterally command and control all by themselves.  This is modeled after the “European” style – a continent that is known for outdoor eating and drinking.

‘Want Ad’ at James Gang a Positive Sign?

We all know that the James Gang Graphics has to change. Pat and Susan James, who have owned the shop for years have been very public about their need to sell their business.  We don’t know what’s going on, but we know it’s all down to the wire.

But there is a ‘want ad’ attached to their door, a want ad for an experienced screen printer.  We’d have to surmise that if the graphics shop was about to close, they wouldn’t be advertising for anybody.  So this could be a positive sign that the business that the James brothers and their people poured so much time and energy into over the decades will continue in some kind of configuration.  We can only hope.

Stay tuned to these pages for any updates on the future of the James Gang Graphics.

noon Holding “Grand Re-Opening” May 12th

Lauren behind the counter at "noon".

noon, the jewelry and paper goods store, has moved from their isolated place on Santa Monica Avenue to a much more visible site – a  store front in the two-story building at Niagara and Bacon – where their shop now fronts on Bacon. They moved last week, I was told by Lauren, who works for Mia and Nora.  They’ve moved the work shop to their Solana Beach store. Business is better, she said.

They are having a “Grand Re-Opening” on May 12th, during which they’ll offer wine and snacks catered by The Vine, the restaurant across Niagara.  During their reopening party,  noon will be having a sale on their jewelry, and if you present your receipt to the Vine, they’ll knock 20% off your restaurant bill.   Check it out.

10th Anniversary at Luminous Hair Design

Karen Kirby with customer celebrates her 10th year on Niagara.

Karen Kirby, owner of Luminous Hair Design, is celebrating her 10th anniversary this May.  She’s been at 5005 Niagara for all those years, right next door to Poma’s.  So, all month, she’s offering deals to customers, such as no tax on any products.  Karen started with Paul and Lynne Bolton of the Electric Chair, and was there for 9 years before she broke out on her own.

Yoga Center on Bacon to Open in Mid-June

A new yoga center, Indie Yoga, has signs outside that seem to suggest something is going on at 1857 Bacon.  Construction workers from next door, who are also working on the inside at the new yoga place, told me that they thought it would be opening in mid-June.

Sushi Bar Still Promises to Open

In the old Rags storefront in the middle of the 4900 block of Newport, there has been a sign hung from the rooftop that has been promising that an OB Sushi Sushi will be opening.  Construction workers inside told me it would be opening in 2 to 3 weeks.  However, by the looks of the still raw interior, I don’t think so

Newport Ave Car-Tow Company Still Going Strong

Every Wednesday it’s the same ol’ story: beach goers fail to see the “No Parking” signs for Farmers’ Market, fail to hear the loud-speaker announcements, and get their vehicles towed.  It costs a pricey $300 to reclaim your car from the private company that contracts with the City of San Diego. It’s not that bad during the winter months, but come Spring, it happens all over again.  This day wasn’t too bad, I was told, only 3 cars were caught in the web.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

The Mustachioed OBecian May 5, 2011 at 10:11 am

Frank, Any word on the restaurant going in at the old Greek place on Cable and Newport? Word was, they were set to open about 1.5 months ago, but it looks as though they must have hit a snag since the windows are still covered and there hasn’t been a soul around for weeks. Maybe trouble with their liquor license or financing?


The Mustachioed OBecian May 5, 2011 at 10:12 am

Uh, my fault, started at the top without getting to your article a bit further. My apologies good sir.


Gary Gilmore May 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm

In all my years in business I’ve never seen a restaurant open on time. I’ve looked inside and from what I saw it’s going to be an asset to the neighborhood.


dave rice May 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I haven’t seen it yet, but I talked to the owner of Little Chef (who’s owned the space since it split off and saw Little Chef shrink into its corner spot some years ago). She said that she’s no longer associated with the new venture, and that she lost an arm and a leg on keeping the Greek place alive…for what it’s worth, I thought their food was pretty good, and even though it was expensive at $12 or so for take-out, I liked it for the variety you got with a meat, couple veggies, pita, salad, hummus, yogurt, and that awesome spicy sauce on every plate…


Sunshine May 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm

the Happy Healthy Hippie High Herb shop’s open in its new location on Newport (they were formerly on Santa Monica). Walking along the other side of the street today and noticed it was open. Great source for all kinds of “healing” herbs. knowledgeable owners can advise on what their herbs are meant for. beautiful murals in their storefront windows, too.


Frank Gormlie May 8, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Sunshine, thanks for this additional update about the herb shop’s new location. I missed it the other day. Will have to check them out myself. Where are they exactly?


OB Lawyer May 9, 2011 at 8:13 am

Yes…. Can’t help but notice that the Australian backed Pot Dispensary has now put a toe-hold on the beloved 4900 block of Newport…and if I’m not mistaken, in the same building that kicked out the VFW??? Or at least in the void left by the salon that moved into the old VFW spot. Say it ain’t so.

I wonder if this is what the folks “in charge” on Newport Ave had in mind when they decided that the Vets couldn’t stay any longer. Where are those people who went to the public outreach meetings of the Vets and spoke so LOUDLY about not supporting any new businesses on Newport…especially those selling alcolhol, etc.

Did they understand that this might be the alternative?

Hey…don’t get me wrong. I support holistic healing, and the fact that people with Glaucoma and other ailments might need over 60 different forms and flavors of medicine in order to treat themselves. Goodness…I wish I had some different flavors of Tylenol to treat my headaches.

Proof that capitalism drives decisions on Newport and not LOUD mouthed business owners who think they are in charge. Hey….looks like you got what you had coming. How do you like that now?


Cruise May 16, 2011 at 10:24 pm

I was under the assumption that the Australian “Pot Dispensary” wasn’t a dispensary, seeing as they had a sign in front stating they were not one.

Then again I may be wrong.


OB Mercy May 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I didn’t see anything above on the old Greek restaurant. A friend who knows the new owners said it is going to be another sushi place. That will make 3 on Newport if OB Sushi ever opens! And IMHO….someone needs to give Sapporo a run for it’s money. It’s just ok, and it’s been there forevah!


dave rice May 5, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Got to go against OB guru (and occasional contributor) Ed Decker and say that Sapporo kind of sucks. Prices are great, fish is fishy, and variety of rolls isn’t that creative, given the eclectic nature of OB. 1 outta 3 won’t win many battles. I love sushi and crave an affordable and local option like none other – until then, my favorite back-east spot, Tabu (the ONLY place to get legit sushi where I come from), recently opened up a La Jolla spot that’s always dead, has enough shrimp tempura roll options for me to keep anti-raw-fish Christina happy, and had some coupons floating around where I scored $50 gift certs for $20, so I can actually afford to eat there!


oBak May 5, 2011 at 10:26 pm

I’ll second the Sapporo not being a good option sentiment. Can’t wait to try two new sushi spots!


OB Mercy May 5, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Doh! I did the same thing…didn’t read the last article! Lol.


The Mustachioed OBecian May 6, 2011 at 10:56 am

The new sushi place, OB Sushi, has the same name as that one that left town 5 or 6 years ago that was in Quig’s right? That place had some pretty killer sushi for pretty cheap. Any chance they’re one and the same?


dave rice May 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Actually 4 sushi places – if you count Yogurt Farm – I don’t know about the stuff sitting out, but a guy made me a couple fresh rolls to take home once that weren’t bad…cheap, too.


Patty Jones May 11, 2011 at 10:47 am

From a press release…

This Thursday, the ladies of Noon Designs will spoil their guests from 4-8 pm at the new Ocean Beach location with a Grand Opening celebration. Along with gourmet appetizers from the Vine Wine Bar, guests will receive 20% off at both Noon Designs and the Vine for the evening!

Noon Designs new store is located at 4993 Niagara Ave. Suite 105 San Diego, CA 92107. The phone number is 619.523.1744 and website Inquiries may be answered at


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: