1166 Orange Avenue, Coronado
(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)
Coronado is reeling in shock. One of their most beloved eateries, Rhinoceros Cafe & Grille, is closing down, kaput, about to go extinct. The place has always served middle-priced, middle-of-the-road American bistro food, which suits food-conservative Coronadans and the snowbirds who migrate here from the desert states during summer. The place always looks full.
So why close?
"I'm just tired," says native Coronadan Mayson Hwa, one of the two owners (with Scott Hanlon). "Running this for 22 years, it takes a toll."
A lot of Zonies are here this evening for a final dinner. "This was our go-to place," says one, Rheinhardt Glock. "In Phoenix, trapped inside by the heat, we'd dream of sitting outside, dining in the cool of the evening, with this Coronado sea breeze."
The place has had its share of famous customers too: Oscar Goodman, mob lawyer and longtime Las Vegas mayor, and his wife Carolyn, who's Vegas's current mayor, rocker Axel Rose, James Gandolfini, and Carlos Slim, who's neck and neck with Bill Gates for the title of richest man in the world.
So what's going to happen to Rhinoceros?
According to Hwa, it is to become a fish eatery with a bar specializing in local beers. The new guy is Scott Quan, who owns Escape Fish Bar in the Gaslamp, and also Yogurt Express in Coronado. They expect him to open in the Fall.
The silver lining? Hwa and Hanlon have decided to go out with a bang. They placed an ad in Coronado's local paper, the Eagle & Journal, addressing all its readers. "You are cordially invited to our Going Away Party, Tuesday September 2nd, after 1:00 p.m. We will stay open as long as the food and drink lasts!"
What? A free lunch?
"I have always speculated that one sure way to fill a restaurant and have a line out the door was to serve FREE food. I'm going to attempt that now," writes Mayson.
You might say the Rhinoceros will not be charging that night.
Guess the least we all can do is help her out.