The Cohns Take Over Surf Rider Pizza in Ocean Beach Due to SEC Fraud Charges Against Owner

by on September 27, 2019 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

San Diego’s Cohn Restaurant Group will, at least for now, be running Surf Rider Pizza in Ocean Beach (and La Mesa) as it was part of a group of restaurants run by Gina Champion-Cain, who is now accused of federal fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Cohns – David and Lesley Cohn of the Cohn Restaurant Group (CRG) – will also be running The Patio on Lamont in Pacific Beach,  Saska’s in Mission Beach and the Surf Riders as those eateries will placed “under the operational guidance” of the Cohns beginning September 30.

Other restaurants owned by Champion-Cain such as Fireside by the Patio in Liberty Station and The Patio on Goldfinch in Mission Hills will not be run by the Cohn group and will close near or at the end of this month, September. Staff at these places have confirmed the shutdown and say they will all lose their jobs at the end of the week.

In addition, other restaurants to close include Patio Express locations in Mission Hills and Mission Beach; Bao Beach in Mission Beach; and Swell Coffee locations in Mission Beach and Del Mar.

As you can see, Gina Champion-Cain ran quite a network of restaurants all under her The Patio Group, which in turn was owned by her real estate company, American National Investments.

The SEC has accused Champion-Cain of defrauding investors out of $300 million through American National Investments.

And on August 29 the SEC announced it had filed charges and froze the assets of ANI. The 19-page civil complaint against Champion-Cain alleged she had misled investors into believing they could fund high-interest, short-term loans to people seeking California liquor licenses. Allegedly using forged documents, she used investors’ money to fund her restaurants, like The Patio chain, Saska’s, Surf Rider Pizzas, her rental properties and her high-flying lifestyle.

David Cohn made a re-assuring statement:

“We understand this is a challenging situation, but we believe The Patio on Lamont, Surf Rider (OB and La Mesa) and Saska’s are great restaurants that guests will continue to enjoy into the future. We look forward to working with the teams at each location so they can continue to provide great food, ambiance and hospitality.”

The Cohns can be re-assuring, as they have quite a restaurant empire of their own- latest count: 27. It includes BO beau’s in Ocean Beach (and Hillcrest and La Mesa), Corvette Diner in Liberty Station, The Prado at Balboa Park, Coasterra, Island Prime, Indigo Grill, and Tacos Libertad just to name some. (It also should be remembered they had another restaurant in OB but it failed.)

News sources:


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

ZZ September 27, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Looks like Gina Champion-Cain is going to jail for a long time. The SEC charging doc says she took in over $300 million of investor money and only $11 million was left when they froze her assets. She faked signatures, accounts, statements, escrow documents, etc. Full on Bernie Madoff stuff.


Traci Foster September 28, 2019 at 9:24 am

I Love Pizza, I have tried others in CA. My favorite place for Pizza is Marechiaros on 2nd street in El Cajon, CA. But I will give this a try, then write a review. Cant wait to try it


Traci September 28, 2019 at 9:28 am

I Love OB and walkering around there, so this sounds good at the end of the day of walking, relaxing


Don September 28, 2019 at 9:49 am

Hopefully they bring down prices for 2 slices and drink to more like Luigi’s levels since pizza quality comes nowhere near competitors like Square Pizza, Luigi’s, etc…


JMontemarano October 15, 2019 at 2:15 am

She needs to have her assets disgorged, claw back all the fun money she stole to finance her fake life and she needs to go to prison for a long time. She’s a con artist and a fraud.


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