SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The new year is bringing new businesses into the heart of Ocean Beach, despite the ongoing coronavirus restrictions.
The Ocean Beach Main Street Association reports five new establishments opening or coming to Newport Avenue. Some will replace businesses that closed before or during the coronavirus pandemic.
Denny Knox, the association's executive director, said some of the new and upcoming food-serving establishments are the OB Meat Company, Black Sands Hulu Lounge, JJ's Sports Bar, ChickenHeadz, and Luigi's Pizzeria.
Knox said that is in addition to existing restaurant owners transitioning to outdoor-only dining now that the stay-at-home order has lifted.
"Our weather is good for the most part, and people are willing to sit outside," she said. "These businesses have been able to remake themselves, trim expenses and stay afloat. I'm encouraged."
Luigi Agostini says he plans to open Pizzeria Luigi in the space now occupied by Bravo's at the corner of Bacon and Newport. He hopes to be up and running by March, with 15 to 20 staffers once he is up to speed.
"It was like, it's kind of crazy doing it right now, but I was like, this location is not going to come back on the market, ever," he said.
Martin Robles and Bruno Elias plan to open ChickenHeads in mid-February in the spot previously occupied by Livingston's Mexican Grill. The duo worked for Hodad's down the block, and are now launching their own fried chicken restaurant.
"Even though we are living in unprecedented times, we are confident in taking a gamble to bring OUR take on Fried Chicken. Ocean Beach has always been good to us so we can’t wait to stoke out the community later this month," the two said in a statement.
Longtime resident Mark-Elliott Lugo said the closures over the winter were devastating but that this recent resurgence has given him new hope that things are making their way back to normal.
"These new restaurant owners are taking an enormous risk financially and otherwise to open these businesses," Lugo said. "And I thought boy these people are really brave, they're almost like pioneers in a way."