Restaurants in San Diego's East Village feeling the squeeze

Posted at 5:09 AM, Nov 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-10 10:52:21-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - These days, it's hard to go a block in the East Village without seeing a restaurant that's out of business.

Recently, the Tilted Kilt, Market Hall, Smashburger, and Sol Cal Cafe have all shuttered. 

"I just noticed constant, consistent places are closing around here," said Ed Korb, who was visiting the area Thursday.

Alina Ahmed, who owns Cafe De L'Opera, on J Street, says it's ever-increasing rents, and higher costs like minimum wage and electricity that are squeezing her, and causing her colleagues to close. She's been in business for five years, and says it gets harder each time the calendar turns. 

"Everybody thinks that because you're close to Petco Park, which is a great location, you're going to make a lot of money," she said. 

Ahmed says she tried keeping her cafe open during Padre games, but even then the foot traffic couldn't justify it.

The East Village Association, which keeps a directory businesses, said in a statement that this part of the evolution of the neighborhood.

"As the East Village community continues to grow, so to does the sophistication of our businesses housing and residents, which lends to a competitive higher end urban environment, offering a uniquely downtown San Diego experience," the association said. 

A spokeswoman for the Tilted Kilt, which also closed its Mission Valley location earlier this year, said the owner of the space near Petco Park wanted to go in a different direction.