Newport News – Update on OB’s Main Drag

by on April 24, 2014 · 16 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach

OB Newport 4-23-14 010

The backside of Newport Pizza’s new brewery and restaurant.

By Frank Gormlie

On occasion, we publish a ‘what’s happening around Newport Ave’ type of news summary, providing an update on the comings and goings of merchants on OB’s  main commercial street and within the blocks surrounding it.

Here, then is our latest – and we note that at least 4 new restaurants are either about to open on Newport or will be opening in the near future – and all of them expect to serve alcohol.

Where Is CVS?

Passing by the front of the old Apple Tree Market and looking into the cavernous structure, it’s clear that there has been no movement on the ground or inside the old market.  This does not mean that CVS Pharmacy is not going in. On March 26 a CVS rep told the Town Council in an email that “the lease will be executed in the next few weeks. Break ground should be in early summer after the City issues construction permits.”

OB Newport 4-23-14 OIB fntNewport Pizza’s Brewery & Restaurant

The former Inbetween and Community Service building on Newport has had a giant funny face painted on the plywood nailed to its front for months and months. Now, we can report that there is progress, as we went behind closed doors into the interior of the building to witness just what was happening.

OB Newport 4-23-14 OInB ins

The gutted interior; this will be the beer tasting room. To the rear and outside will be the tanks.

The owner of Newport Pizza – right across the street – bought the building many moons ago.  This is the building that was the Inbetween – a famous youth drop-in center that thrived in the 1970s – and in an ironic twist became a so-called community service building with a fortress-looking facade (just the opposite of the Inbetween). It closed years ago and has been a forlorn two story statute to the recession for all that time. Until recently.

OB Newport 4-23-14 OIB ins02

The second floor will have the kitchen and the main dining area.

The new owners plan on installing a brewery in the back of the property that will contain 4 to 5 tanks where the beer will be brewed on site. The rest of downstairs will be the tasting room.

Then upstairs there will be the main dining area and kitchen, and finally there will be roof-top dining where patrons will be able to look over the roof of the building to the west to see the sparkling ocean.

Passing into the interior, it was immediately obvious that the insides have been completely gutted and several mighty beams now provide a secure flooring for the second level.

Outside the main room, there were signs of a cement pour about to happen, and past that area is where a temporary wall has been thrown up – this area will house the tanks.

OB Newport 4-23-14 OIB mid2

The new wall encloses the area where the beer tanks will be installed. This area used to be part of the parking lot in the back off the alley.

I asked the on-site manager when the place was to be finished, and he responded “June” whereupon I chuckled.  He smiled, and some of the other workers around us chuckled.

OB Newport 4-23-14 poltrailNew Police Trailer

We already reported on the new police trailer by a repost of Mercy Baron’s Reader piece (San Diego Reader ). But here it is again, in broad daylight.

OB Newport 4-23-14 BBQexpBBQ House Expansion On Hold Till After Summer

The expansion by the BBQ House into the space next door – the former Cow (which moved across the street) – is on hold, we were told by a knowledgeable insider, until after the summer. The family is dealing with permits and contractors currently, but they expect to finally have a full service bar along with a much larger seating area.

OB Newport 4-23-14 Salt outsThe Salt Water Takes Over for Surf n Sea

One of the latest additions to OB merchants is a brand new surf shop, Salt Water, and it’s located where the former Surf n Sea sat. The owner, Neil McCaffrey, is planning a “soft opening” this Saturday, April 26, and will be having a grand opening in a couple of weeks.

OB Newport 4-23-14 Salt 01

Neil McCaffrey with some of his surfing wares.

Neil offers surfboards, wetsuits, accessories, clothing and plans to offer ding repair stuff and other material for people who want to build their own boards. Right now, his boards come from Rusty, a local San Diegan, PlusOne, and a brand from Australia.

OB Newport 4-23-14 Salt countrMcCaffrey still handles sales for Surf n Sea, which moved into a facility where they’re only doing wholesale.  Neil has lived in OB for 4 years, and had been a manager at Pride.

“Trunk Show” Coming at Gilmore Family Jewelers

Gary and Beth Gilmore are hosting a “Trunk Show” for their customers May 2 through the 10th. They’ll have three times the items, the textiles, gems and other staples from their suppliers on display in the store.

OB Newport 4-23-14 GnB

Gary and Beth Gilmore in front of their new facade.

The Gilmores are still celebrating their new facade – and name – with new paint, displays and succulent trays outside.

OB Hookah Lounge Open at Night

OB Newport 4-23-14 Hook02There’s a new hookah lounge in OB but it’s only open at night. Yet it’s difficult to tell whether it is in fact open – despite the sign – as the windows still remain covered.

OB Newport 4-23-14 Hook01

A peek inside the OB Hookah Lounge.

Locals mentioned to us that when then walk by at night, there is not a whole lot of activity going on yet.  We heard that they are attempting to obtain a beer and wine license.

Sal’s Greek and Middle-Eastern Restaurant

We caught Sal doing some measurements inside his new place.  The site of the former check cashing store, the new site will be a Green and Middle Eastern eatery, he said.

OB Newport 4-23-14 Sal

Sal and where his new Greek and Middle Eastern restaurant will be.

Sal was the former owner of Victory Liquor – now his brother runs it. He also opened the Fruit Tree in 2002.  He’s lived in the area for over a dozen years.

Sal doesn’t have a name for the place yet, but he will be one of the chefs, he said.  He also is applying for a beer and wine license.

Italian Ice Coming

A new Italian ice establishment is also coming to Newport.

OB Newport 4-23-14 IceBetween Blondstone and PacShores, the ice cream shop only has a large sign in the window at the moment, and nothing inside indicates that it will be open soon.

OB Newport 4-23-14 spa1 Swanky Sugar Spa is Sure Swanky

OB Newport 4-23-14 spa2Finally, rounding out our tour of Newport Ave for the time, we came upon a swanky spa, the Swanky Sugar Esthetics, in the back corner of that row of small shops off the tire repair area.

It is very elegant inside, but right now it seems they are a bit short staffed – which could mean they’re busy.

All photos by Frank Gormlie, 4/23/14

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott April 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm

I’m curious how all this new development has been vetted by the community, specifically the plethora of liqueur licences being sought. I know that the potential brewery came in front of the Ocean Beach Planning Board and did not have the required parking amongst other problems and was put on hold about a year back; to my knowledge it has never reappeared in front of the public for review and now apparently it is under massive construction.

Also, I’m pretty sure the public is supposed to have a chance to speak about the approval of the many new bars on Newport (probably through the OB planning Board).

It seems like a lot more booze and a lot more restaurants bringing a whole bunch more people to Ocean Beach without any more parking or infrastructure improvement. I like food and booze as much (maybe more) than the next guy and I have off street parking and I will probably frequent all these establishments but it seems like a local discussion might be in order as Ocean Beach is in the process of turning into Pacific Beach (dominated by bars) and/or Sea Port Village (dominated by tourists).


Tyler April 24, 2014 at 12:52 pm

They’ll end up parking on the surrounding streets like they already do, and will continue to wake residents up around 1:30 AM when they get kicked out. I want lots of improvement to the commercial spaces of OB, and I don’t care about restaurants that serve alcohol, but the last thing we need are more establishments open into the AM.


OBJamie April 29, 2014 at 11:12 am

I had a vision yesterday…while watching the monstrosity being built at Catalina and Voltaire….The thing is HUGE. The third story has not been built ( I believe it to be 3) and it is already obscuring views and UGLY.

My vision was realized when I mentioned to a neighbor that 3x more of these are coming to Voltaire.

And then I realized, Voltaire is Garnet Ave. in 10 years. Sad, actually.

When I realized a crummy, redone studio on my block was listed at $1,400…then $1,300, and now has a shiny Mercedes driving tenant…I realized OB died. Let me know when the funeral is.


OB Mercy April 24, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Are you all really understanding how many new places are opening and going to be serving MORE alcohol here in OB? Forget it. We ARE the new PB!!

I currently live on Niagara (only 6 months!), right off the pier and right off of Newport. I’m looking for a new place to move…want to stay in OB, but need to get AWAY from the water because there seems to be way too many drunk people wandering all over (mostly living in my building and incredibly inconsiderate of others, stay away from The Surfcaster! Bad management and even worse tenants!) and constantly disturbing everyone’s peace here. I like a drink or two myself once in awhile. but this town is WAY out of control with the boozing. Sick and tired of it after waiting so many years to live here. Quite disappointing.

I’m always looking forward to new dining places here and I guess there is no way around them needing to serve liquor to be profitable, so I guess my only solution is to move further back, WAY back!


Steve April 25, 2014 at 10:03 am

You’re just too close to all the action. Try finding a place south of Narragansett, it’ still within walking distance and although, it can get crazy sometimes, it’s a lot more mellow.


sdwahine May 8, 2014 at 3:26 pm

The reason Surfcaster sucks so bad is because the owners won’t fire their property management company, Sunrise Management, even though they are ruining the property. The Sunrise Management staff at the Convoy Court headquarters are so conniving, trashy, and disgusting that a little less than a year ago they actually set up the long-term (13-year) on-site property manager that everyone loved and respected in order to fire her. A very short time ago, it used to be quite the desirable building. (Newport/alley will always be loud and dirty; don’t like it? You don’t have to live in OB.)


OB Lady April 25, 2014 at 8:39 am

GREAT!!! Thank you for this article. More people puffing more stuff on Newport at the Hookah Lounge… More places serving more booze… Looking more and more like PB…. Thank you for your critical eye and thorough update.


hoodie April 25, 2014 at 10:12 am

I noticed the Pho shop on newport was closed by board of health. Not sure if this was observed and intentionally omitted. I would be curious to learn more.


Tyler April 25, 2014 at 10:29 am

Not surprising. Wasn’t that good anyway.


Jon April 25, 2014 at 11:09 am

I’m trying to look at this in a little different light. I’m not an advocate for including more drinking places in town. Although it’s no secret I love my craft beer, I think we are good on bars in OB. However, let’s not forget most of these places already had alcohol permits, and weren’t known as the most responsible operators in town (no offense to the former owners who may read this). The new places are going to be restaurant/bars with solid operators who have a vested interest in running a successful community-oriented business. They’ve already cleaned up the storefronts, and I think are going to be a positive update for us. Aside from that, how cool that formerly empty storefronts are turning into non-bar/smoke shop locations??!! Gelato is a cool new addition. The new surf repair shop, and revitalized spa… All good in the hood if you ask me. :)


Frank Gormlie April 25, 2014 at 2:48 pm

I would like to get some props for the headline photo – the pink back of the building being rehabbed. Let me know if you want copies. Perhaps I should submit it to the OB Historical Society’s photo contest next year.


editordude April 25, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Reader: we hope you are aware that you can view a larger image of many of our photos simply by clicking on the photo.


OB Mercy April 25, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Jon, Italian ice is not gelato, both yummy, but different. I would be SUPER happy if they’re right and it IS ice, love that stuff. And since we chased that mobile Italian ice truck out of OB a couple of years ago, I’ve really been missing it.

And yes, I DO love seeing the empty shops filling up with new merchants of course. I just wish so many of them didn’t have to be alcohol related.


nostalgic April 25, 2014 at 8:52 pm

It’s a cremeria.


Jon April 25, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Thanks for the correction Mercy. Truth be told, I’m not a fan of either. Which is probably why I didn’t realize the difference. ;)

But I AM a fan of well-kept store fronts and new, fun businesses in town! I wish the mad monk tea place moved in there. Although they are like a nice kept local secret where they are now…


sdwahine May 8, 2014 at 3:47 pm

RE: OB Brewery opening… the extended-extended-extended construction activity/nowhere in sight opening date is not really a “chuckle” anymore for the neighboring residents and businesses affected by the equipment noise, shouting construction workers, trucks/equipment blocking the alley and parking spaces… Love Newport Pizza and will probably love the brewery. But something’s gotta give with this never-ending construction schedule. Would love to hear anything optimistic on this front.


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