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"Stunning" fast-food experience promised

El Cajon Boulevard developments include Starbucks and Wendy's facelift

Wendy's needs some work done
Wendy's needs some work done

The long-closed Coco's restaurant at 2644 El Cajon Boulevard in University Heights is finally scheduled for demolition. The site will become a Starbucks coffee shop.

Realtor Mike Clark with Cushman & Wakefield said they “had a signed lease with a tenant for a very long time.” The delay in starting construction was due to the City of San Diego's slowness in issuing the building permit, Clark said.

Starbucks to occupy the former Coco's restaurant

Specific details on the style and size of the Starbucks outlet were not available from the company, but an unnamed spokesperson emailed: “We’re always looking for great locations to meet the needs of our customers, and we are happy to confirm that we are in the very early stages of opening a new location at 2644 El Cajon Blvd.”

The 7-Eleven company had previously negotiated to build a new store at the location, but that proposal fizzled. The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association opposed having a 7-Eleven there; the association didn't see it fitting in with infill development plans, which include upscale apartments and better restaurants.

Meanwhile, the Wendy's at 2825 El Cajon Boulevard (just west of Sonic Drive-In) is undergoing major exterior and interior building renovation. Its drive-through window remains open during construction. Wendy's saw its business suffer when the newer Sonic opened, offering a different menu and including custom shakes and carhops on skates.

The business association approved of Sonic coming in due to the retro vibe it adds to the neighborhood.

Nikki Cardinal, marketing director with franchisee Pennant Foods, LLC, said customers will "enjoy a stunning new Wendy’s experience when they visit the remodeled restaurant. Our remodel is expected to be complete early January…. Wendy’s has conducted nationwide research and studied every aspect of the customer’s experience in redesigning its restaurants."

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Wendy's needs some work done
Wendy's needs some work done

The long-closed Coco's restaurant at 2644 El Cajon Boulevard in University Heights is finally scheduled for demolition. The site will become a Starbucks coffee shop.

Realtor Mike Clark with Cushman & Wakefield said they “had a signed lease with a tenant for a very long time.” The delay in starting construction was due to the City of San Diego's slowness in issuing the building permit, Clark said.

Starbucks to occupy the former Coco's restaurant

Specific details on the style and size of the Starbucks outlet were not available from the company, but an unnamed spokesperson emailed: “We’re always looking for great locations to meet the needs of our customers, and we are happy to confirm that we are in the very early stages of opening a new location at 2644 El Cajon Blvd.”

The 7-Eleven company had previously negotiated to build a new store at the location, but that proposal fizzled. The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association opposed having a 7-Eleven there; the association didn't see it fitting in with infill development plans, which include upscale apartments and better restaurants.

Meanwhile, the Wendy's at 2825 El Cajon Boulevard (just west of Sonic Drive-In) is undergoing major exterior and interior building renovation. Its drive-through window remains open during construction. Wendy's saw its business suffer when the newer Sonic opened, offering a different menu and including custom shakes and carhops on skates.

The business association approved of Sonic coming in due to the retro vibe it adds to the neighborhood.

Nikki Cardinal, marketing director with franchisee Pennant Foods, LLC, said customers will "enjoy a stunning new Wendy’s experience when they visit the remodeled restaurant. Our remodel is expected to be complete early January…. Wendy’s has conducted nationwide research and studied every aspect of the customer’s experience in redesigning its restaurants."

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Comments
11

Nikki Cardinal emailed a clarification regarding sales at that outlet: "Our sales have not suffered since Sonic opened. Last week we actually had record-breaking, same-store sales before we began our renovation. The first month Sonic opened our sales were soft, but rebounded quickly and have been positive since."

Dec. 15, 2015

This will certainly be an improvement to the neighborhood and I'm not a big coffee drinker. Kudos to the Reader for leading on these neighborhood stories. There really isn't any other as timely of source for these local developments.

Dec. 15, 2015

Once that Starbucks opens and puts out a press release, then the other local media will run a story.

Dec. 16, 2015

Wendy's will be "stunning", huh? Wendy's? Stunning?? The sleepiest of all the burger joints will reinvent itself to be stunning? In a way it's sad that Coco's isn't still there. Too many years ago I marveled at how they packed them in, up in Orange County. Back then, it was "Coco's Famous Hamburgers". We have one here in Vista that has their 55-plus menu that is most reasonable, and enough for an old man. That old man is myself. Just the right amount, just the right price, and friendly waitresses. What went wrong with Coco's?

Dec. 15, 2015

Coco's (and similar establishments) just couldn't compete in many areas where "fast casual" is the new norm in restaurants. Also more new eateries offer "farm-fresh" food. A good example is the very popular Carnitas Snack Shack in North Park. Breakfast Republic is another success. There are more examples. Now traditional fast food places are trying to stay in the game, with updated decor and better menus. TIme will tell if it works.

Dec. 15, 2015

To Tyler Chance on Facebook: The City has made it incredibly difficult (and expensive) to open a legal MJ dispensary anywhere in SD. So it didn't happen at the old Coco's site. Could a local coffee proprietor have built there instead of Starbucks? Yes, if they had leased or purchased the property. Money talks, and Starbucks can talk very LOUDLY.

Dec. 16, 2015

To Alex Clarke on FB: I think what Patrick Speer meant by saying Starbucks is "the Walmart of coffee" wasn't referring to employee treatment, but rather that it's the largest retailer of its type (like Walmart). I personally don't go to either store, but millions of people love both of them, just as millions love Target, McDonald's and Subway.

Dec. 21, 2015

January 20 update: The constantly-tagged Coco's building is a pile of rubble now, and Wendy's is about done with its re-do. So these are positive steps for the improvement of El Cajon Blvd.

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Jan. 20, 2016

February 5 update: With the Coco's building now gone, excavation has begun on the Starbucks site. This photo looks toward the west.

None

Feb. 5, 2016

Oct. 13: I tried the new "stunning" Wendy's recently, as I had a coupon. It looks better inside, but the food seemed about the same. Now they are re-doing the McDonald's at Texas and El Cajon Blvd.

Oct. 13, 2016

Likewise, that McDonald's looks great on the outside. I haven't gone in there ever, though. Fast food joints need to improve the food, not just the buildings.

March 20, 2018

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