‘Off-Newport’ News About Ocean Beach

by on March 16, 2012 · 19 comments

in Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach, Popular, San Diego

Work crew clears Bermuda beach of old concrete and seawall. We're told there will now be more beach. (All photos by Frank Gormlie.)

Occasionally, we’ll post an update on the comings and goings on Newport Avenue – the main business street in OB. And even less occasionally, however, we’ll showcase news from ‘off-Newport’ – updates away from the main business district, where there’s also village and commercial life.

And that’s what we found on Thursday, March 15th, as we cruised the back streets, allies, and beaches of ‘Off-Newport’ and hereby file this report:

Finally! OB Streets Are Being Striped!

New stripes on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

It has finally happened.  Certain streets in OB are being striped.  Sections of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Cable Street were having their final yellow stripes added.

Cable Street gets its stripes.

Cable Street itself over the past several years has taken a number of hostages in the tire world, as it’s pothole were infamous. Now, with the new pipes, the new asphalt, and now the stripping – the community can begin to settle back after having its roads torn up for over a year.

New Seawall Means Expanded Beach at Bermuda

Over at the bottom of Bermuda Street, we found a work crew busy filling up a truck with old concrete riff raff that had either being thrown over the cliffs during years past or had crumbled as earlier versions of seawalls.  This crew had started work on Wednesday and were hoping to finish the project by the end of Friday – the 16th.

The owners of 1415 Ocean Front Street had commissioned the work, as they had gained permission from the California Coastal Commission to put in a new seawall. But in order to do that, they had to remove the old one.

The old wall had collapsed in 1999 we were told.  According to workers of the crew, when they are finished, there should be even more beach at the foot of Bermuda.

Kecho’s Cafe Opens

Chris Stavros – owner of the Olive Tree Market and the adjoining beer tasting room – has finally opened his restaurant. Located at 1774 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, the new ‘Northern Mediterranean” Kecho’s Cafe, just a few steps from Chris’ tasting room, opened on March first.

I spoke to Bill McRae, Chris’ man on the scene, who told me that “Kecho” is a Greek name for someone whose name is “Chris”. You know, like William and Bill.

The cafe has a very nice and comfortable – altho small – front room, with a beer and wine bar, and then it also has a heated back patio.  “It can sit 35”, Bill told me.  I was surprised at how roomy the place was, as it once had housed a dry cleaning establishment that had been there for decades.

Kecho’s serves salads, flatbreads, vegetarian, meat and seafood “mezzes”, a few great desserts – one of which I tried – and even offers gluten free items.  Check it out.

 “New” Mural at Seedless

Always changing, the wall at Seedless on Bacon Street has a new green mural. Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, I thought. Always appreciative of the business’ contribution to OB’s tradition of murals, I looked around for more info about the mural, but the door was locked.   A local I talked to said the new mural had been up for maybe 5 months already.

 Dover Plumbing Returns to OB

After being absent for 5 years from Ocean Beach, Dover Plumbing has returned to Voltaire Street. Opening up in the old Staniforth Electric building – next to Jim Bell’s center – the long-time Peninsula business was on Voltaire for decades when the property was bought by World Oil (who still wants to build a two-story medical building at Sunset Cliffs and Voltaire).  That’s when the plumbing firm moved over to West Point Loma, next to Baron’s market.

Craig Skinner and Scott Hoff - new owners of Dover Plumbing.

I spoke to the new owners, Scott Hoff and Craig Skinner – each of whom had worked at Dover’s for years and years.  They had bought out the former owners, Laura and Darin Goodwin -Scott is related to them through marriage.  Having reopened on March 1st, Hoff and Skinner are in the process of getting a new paint job for the office. They had bought the property from Ray Staniforth and had to clear up the lot.  They have 5 employees, including local OBcean Sherry, who has worked for Dover for many years.

Missing Cat

“Pinkles” is missing, and has been away from its owner since March 3rd.  Looks like a cool cat – so you folks along Bacon and Voltaire, keep an eye out for this OB feline.

Mother’s Saloon Bacons From North OB

Featuring bacon specialties and a hamburger-dominated cuisine, Mother’s Saloon on Bacon Street in north OB, is a bright spot in that part of town. Completely refurbishing the old club that once stood there, the new place has added a kitchen, cut the old stage in half, and has added a shuffle board and pool tables.

Mike Hutchinson, the general manager, told me that they have live music every Sunday afternoon. They hope to have even more as time allows.

General Manager Mike Hutchinson and Shawn of Mother's Saloon.

The new place is certainly well-lit, as multiple windows have been cut through the front wall, and it is definitely a solid upgrade from the old establishment that offered booze and little-known musicians.  So, Mother’s bacons … uh, beacons the denizens of North OB and is a hit with them.

Former Gormlie House “Rehabbed”

For several years while I was a teenager going to Point Loma High School, the Gormlie family lived in a large, four-bedroom house on Monaco Street – a half block from Sunset Cliffs.  This is where I learned to surf – without a leash and without concrete stairs leading to Garbage Beach. We had desert landscaping – and it was my job to keep the sand free of weeds – and this was a constant challenge. My dad planted the palm trees that ringed the house, and every week I had to empty a bucket of water on each of the budding trees.  Now, of course, they’re all tall, stately guardians.

Former Gormlie residence at 4512 Monaco Street in Point Loma.

But during the early Sixites recession, my dad lost his job at Convair. And we had to scale back.  We sold the second car and eventually my parents had to sell the house and move into condos. For years, the old family house stood there as new owners moved in and out. Now, however, the old house has been completely torn down, and a new, two-story, McMansion built in its place. But they kept the old garage so the new construction could be considered a simple “rehab.”  But it’s really crazy to call it a simple rehab as the former residence part of the lot was totally removed. This is how developers get around certain requirements – a practice that has been going on for decades all over town. Yet, now this practice has really hit home.

Here’s the full gallery (click on photos for a larger version).

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

unWASHEdwalmaRtthONG March 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm

In the construction trades we used to call the stone rubble rip rap, not riff raff. Must be a colloquialism.


Frank Gormlie March 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I believe you are correct. At the moment, I’m cooking dinner and cannot make the change. In my defense, I did originally type in “rip rap” but thought it didn’t look or sound right.


Chris Dotson March 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm

It’s been a long time since Cable was so smooth and my skateboard so fast!


Frank Gormlie March 16, 2012 at 5:13 pm

That stretch between Voltaire and like Brighton on Cable was a treacherous travel.


dave rice March 17, 2012 at 9:58 am

It had been really nasty all the way through to my place on Coronado for a while. Much better now…


Debbie March 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Frank, I loved that house on Monaco expecially the beautiful rocks!!! I watched it deteriorate over the years and was sad to see the rocks go…hoped the new owners would have left the good energy there. Things change….time for someone else to enjoy the view. I hope you had many good memories there :-)


Frank Gormlie March 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Yup, did a bunch of growing there. I lived there like from 14 to the age of 17. Was involved in a local Boy Scout troop and most the guys were in that neighborhood. Had my first girlfriend, my first drink …. Used to look for good waves from my bedroom window. Then later, sneak out with the night before’s hang-0ver in the early morning and hit the waves. I was never all that great, but did shoot the pier twice.


Sunshine March 17, 2012 at 9:16 am

wonder if this weekends storm will tear away more of the cliffs at Pescadero. great article, Frank. keep up the good work!


Spelling and Grammar Demander March 17, 2012 at 12:07 pm

My kingdom for some serious editing here. Beacons is not the same as beckons. I’m sure Pinkles is his name, and not some ironic statement about his name necessitating quotes. ALTHOUGH, I might not really know, so distracted by the flaws of what may have been a fabulous article. Love the other OB coverage, but LAWD JEBEDIAH, the…oh…god.. I can’t even talk about it anymore.


Frank Gormlie March 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Did you know there is a local newpaper called the Beacon?


Spelling and Grammar Demander March 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Yep :) But it’s not what was meant in this sentence unless it was some super powered ninja triple word play nonsense.

” So, Mother’s bacons … uh, beacons the denizens of North OB and is a hit with them.”


john March 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I’m not so sure the suggestion isn’t that it would be a nice place to go comment on spelling and grammar issues, on topic critiques always welcomed here.

“what may have been a fabulous article. ”

Sounds like you liked it.


Citizen Cane March 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm

From the photos it looks like the new wall is closer to Pt. Loma Avenue than it is to Pescadero Avenue. It’s an area that most people would consider South Bermuda Beach, because that’s the stairway you would use to access that area.

According to local legend…during major storms Captian Stickey would protect that stretch of coast by bellyflopping into the storm surf from his back yard fence.


Frank Gormlie March 19, 2012 at 9:41 am

Citizen Cane – you are absolutely correct! This is the beach at the foot of Bermuda Street, one block south from Pescadero. Thanks for keeping the ol’ eye ball pealed. Made the changes.


john March 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm

“Captian Stickey ”

Second time in a week he’s come up.

There’s an old Reader article “where are they now” from about 14 years ago on him that was pretty creepy. I can only find this now:


Note the link to his obit.

On the creepy thing, will err to good taste and only say the reader interviewer described “young Thai servants of indeterminable age and gender” at his home, which is consistent with allegations in the press I have heard of.

Friends from more positive years describe him showing up at their school with a “Twinkie Cannon”.

( I owned his ’65 Cadillac custom hearse “clubdead” from 1998-2002, used to keep it in my driveway on W Pt Loma, have pix if anyone wants, including some nice shots at Dog Beach. The first Halloween I owned it I took it downtown and saw later on Channel 10 news a commentater filming it saying “oh no, Captain Sticky’s back!)


john March 18, 2012 at 2:45 pm

LOL on the Pescadero project’s Bobcat micro-mini excavator. I guess they were limited by what they could crane down to the beach, but that’s a half step up from two guys and shovels.

I’m glad I read the text along with the picture Frank provided describing his old home. For a split second I was thinking “what’s this, Frank’s not really bourgeois? He’s not really down with us?” and his story is the all too familiar tale of a time long gone, where his father, an intelligent working man made enough to buy a nice house, then as the careening socioeconomic machine sputters to a crawl, must downsize, downscale, to a much more humble existence. I think the worst thing we’ve lost is the unbridled hope you could have in those days, almost anything seemed possible.

Though you have to admit, mighty nice digs they are in the picture, if you have the means.


Frank Gormlie March 19, 2012 at 9:44 am

Hey John, yeah, my father retired from being a career Army officer (2 wars: WWII and Korea) in 1961. We lived up on Catalina in a house my parents bought in 1951. Then, in a spate of optimism due to my dad’s job at Convair, they bought this house. They had to sell it within 2-3 years.


john March 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm

RE: Murals:
Peek over the fence behind Pat’s liquor, Mark’s got a real masterpiece going all around his inner fence.
Shame he can’t put it outside, it would probably get tagged.


Eric March 20, 2012 at 6:30 am

4512 Monaco Street in “Point Loma” looks quite nice now.


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