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The China Star Super Buffet may be going out of business soon. Until a few years ago, Oceanside had six Chinese buffets. All had gone out of business except for China Star, at the southeast corner of Mission Avenue at I-5 (next to the Ocean’s Eleven Casino.)

China Star Super Buffet

1401 Mission Avenue, Oceanside

Last week, a "FOR LEASE" sign was posted on the restaurant’s fence facing the northbound I-5 freeway off-ramp. I asked the longtime brother and sister general managers, John and Li, “Is the restaurant closing or selling?” They said they didn’t know about the sign being posted until I pointed it out.

The next day, John and Li said they were leaving China Star in about four weeks, moving to a soon-to-open new restaurant, Royal Buffet, at the northwest corner of El Camino Real at Mission Avenue, in east Oceanside.

On April 15, Donna from the leasing agent Retail Insite, said the China Star lease ends in November. She said the owner, Deepak Choksi, is looking for new proposals. A new lessee could continue the Chinese buffet, change the type of restaurant, or tear it down and build something new. Choksi also owns the Travelodge Motel next door.

The distinctive China Star building, with its rock-face exterior and octagon-shaped roof, was at one time part of the local Jimmy’s Restaurant chain. Each of the seven former Jimmy’s locations in San Diego County had the same façade and roofline. Most are still in use as restaurants but not as Jimmy’s.

The speculation from regular China Star customers is that Carlsbad’s newly remodeled Luxe Asian Buffet at the Westfield Shopping Center has hurt China Star’s popularity. Luxe opened about three months ago and offers more choices than China Star, including a meat-carving station, Mongolian barbecue, and a dessert station with a chocolate fountain and ten flavors of hand-dipped ice-cream cones.

(revised 4/24, 11:25 a.m)

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Comments

Visduh April 18, 2016 @ 12:13 p.m.

Ken, the origin of those octagonal restaurant buildings predates Jimmy's. They were built in the early 70's in conjunction with some of the Big Bear supermarkets in the county. John Mabee, who owned Big Bear, decided that eating out, rather than eating at home, was the coming trend, and wanted to take advantage of it. So, he had those restaurants built. All had the same shape and size, and were very roomy. They operated under the Daisy's name for a number of years, but they never took hold, and eventually were taken over by others. I know about the one mentioned in Oceanside, and the one on East Vista Way, which was built on the corner of the parking lot of the Big Bear market. (That one is/was also a Chinese buffet.) I also recall one in Caliremont, and one in Chula Vista at Third and Palomar. When built they were fancy and spacious. But just because Mabee knew how to run supermarkets, he didn't seem to have the touch with sit-down eateries. His notion of dining habits was a decade or two ahead of its time.

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Ponzi April 18, 2016 @ 1:59 p.m.

There's also one on El Cajon Blvd. that I used to go to late at night for coffee with college friends. I went to it when it was called Daisy's. John Maybee also opened the Par Liquor stores usually on the same lot as his Big Bear's.

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Ken Harrison April 18, 2016 @ 2:48 p.m.

Great history guys. I loved Jimmy's. Sorry Visduh, Daisy's doesn't come to mind.

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