Richard Aguirre in November 2016
  • Richard Aguirre in November 2016
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Since opening the Surf Check coffee shop last year, Richard Aguirre says he has been embroiled in a permitting process that is unfairly targeting his business.

The Surf Check, a blue-and-white camper trailer located on the corner of an auto-shop lot at 1404 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard (at Point Loma Avenue), has gained some popularity.

Surf Check has gone back to basics while it goes through the permitting process.

Surf Check has gone back to basics while it goes through the permitting process.

“I opened in November. By May they shut me down,” Aguirre says. “We used to have a little deck here with chairs, and people would come, sit here, and enjoy…. And then I added another deck that was completely permittable. It was great. Customers were coming all the time, and then, all of a sudden, the city came and I said I couldn’t do this. I said, ‘Okay, why can’t I do this?’“

Aguirre was given a list of reasons from the city code-enforcement officer upon inspection, including improper setbacks, having tables and a deck, and not enough parking for the size of his building. (He says he’s in compliance on most counts.) Half a block away, meanwhile, Aguirre says there is a café with tables and umbrellas blocking part of the sidewalk.

“Unless someone calls in a complaint, nothing will happen, and I’m not that kind of guy. Even with the city official — she was standing here and I said, ‘How are they allowed to do that and I’m not?' She said, ‘You wanna open a case against them?’...

“Our whole goal is this,” says Aguirre, “we want a local spot — you know how hard it is as a local to spend $12 on a bagel sandwich? Prices are jacked up to tourists’ prices, rents have gone up — so where can you go eat, locally, that’s affordable? Our goal is to make badass meals for $5 so locals can’t afford to stay home and eat. We’ll have a line for tourists and another line for locals. You can feed the public for nothing and get a real good locally priced meal…right now, there is nothing like this around here and we’d make it killer.”

The Surf Check

1404 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, Point Loma

The Surf Check is open during the ongoing permitting process. Aguirre hopes to add the deck, patio, and, eventually, a grill and kitchen.

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JustWondering Oct. 18, 2017 @ 4:25 a.m.

Has me wondering if his nearby competitor were not the ones who filed complaint(s) against him. If it's so, they may perceive his business as a competitive threat to theirs. I find it odd that the code compliance officer suggested or inquired if he wanted to file a complaint against a neighborhooding business. I also find it disturbing that government becomes "weaponized tool" against business who submit taxes and fees which support the services used against them.


jettyob Oct. 18, 2017 @ 7:10 p.m.

Acai bowls, smoothies, bagels, and hot dogs. Thank you Richard.


nostalgic Oct. 18, 2017 @ 8:13 p.m.

Other food businesses in OB are much larger than the size of Surf Check and are called a "coffee cart" by the city. Some cart. Surf Check has a large number of supporters in the neighborhood, people love it, but so far no go where the ity s concerned. And, hey, Richard has his shirt on for the picture! those tables and benches first pictured are gone now, as the article states, but still no luck. Tourists take pictures of Surf Check all of the time - it looks so OB to them. That's the old OB. Now on its way out, it seems.


BradleyL Oct. 20, 2017 @ 9:33 p.m.

There has been a targeted effort against Surf Check. If these City inspectors looked around they would see other issues going on in the neighborhood. Same people issuing the complaints are the same people getting away with code violations and not facing repercussions for their actions.


jnojr Oct. 23, 2017 @ 10:21 a.m.

"Somebody else is doing something wrong over there!" isn't an excuse or a justification. If you're on the freeway, travelling with the flow of traffic at 85, not weaving around or passing or doing anything else wrong, you can still get a ticket. And while you're getting your ticket, everyone else will be whizzing by you at 85 MPH scot-free. Fair? Nope. But that's the way the world works.


BradleyLP Nov. 6, 2017 @ 11:12 a.m.

This sounds like something my girlfriend would write when she is drunk. Also sounds like something she would say when she's drunk, like when she's pounded a bunch of shots and is lit and says I'm fine to drive and I can drive however fast I want to.


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