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Un-Boll-Weevil-ble

IB landmark with condiments, pool tables doesn't make it

“The pool tables were a hundred apiece, can you believe that? Now, everything is gone except a few beer mirrors and Boll Weevil signs.”
“The pool tables were a hundred apiece, can you believe that? Now, everything is gone except a few beer mirrors and Boll Weevil signs.”

The South San Diego Boll Weevil is the latest casualty among San Diego original restaurants closing this month.

"We had to take the condiment trays away once Covid hit," explained Alisha Russell. "To me, it was never the same after that. They also took away the pool tables and video games, leaving us near naked. Those were the main attractions that drew families there."

In the early to mid-2000s, I owned a car parts business near the South San Diego hamburger restaurant located by Home Depot, a block west of the I-5 and Palm Avenue exit. The unlimited hamburger toppings, including fresh tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickles and condiments, and the giant-sized beer schooners, were the draw for my buddies and me.

"I'll miss the friendly faces of regular customers, and the sense of family and belonging," Russell said, "and the camaraderie of our staff."

When family and friends visited my car shop, I'd frequently treat them to the 1/2 lb. steer burgers or chicken wings here. For me, Boll Weevil was a San Diego must-go-to spot ranking up with the Roberto's on Highland Avenue.

Lorraine and Fred Halleman reportedly founded the Boll Weevil chain and opened their first restaurant on Midway Drive in 1967, then expanded to over 18 restaurants throughout the county and a Tijuana location.

"Victor Tongco and Thomas Walker opened their first Boll Weevil restaurant in 1990 on El Cajon Boulevard near SDSU," reported the ImperialBeachNewsCa.com site. "They opened the Southland Plaza Boll Weevil, in South San Diego, on Sept. 4, 1991."

After Russell graduated from high school in 1994, Tongco and Walker hired her. "I did everything," she said, "cook, serve, you name it, until 1996. Then I came back in 2006."

"In Sept. 2008, the parent company went bankrupt," continued the ImperialBeachNewsCa.com site, "but some independently owned restaurants stayed open, the South San Diego location being one of them."

Maritess, an Elite 2020 Yelp reviewer, ordered the grilled bacon cheeseburger from Russell, posted a photo about it, and rated the restaurant a four out of five.

The unlimited hamburger toppings, including fresh tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickles were the draw.

“This burger had lots of cheese, which I love. The meat was seasoned well with salt …. and was so juicy, and the crunch of the bread was great. The lady’s service was great; she was friendly with us and her other customers. They had TVs so you can watch sports. They had a pool table with an old-style juke book.”

Russell was one of the 14 employees that remained loyal to the South San Diego hamburger spot, which averaged a 4.5 out of 5 Yelp rating, until the very end.

"When Covid hit, we thought we were done for good, but with the paycheck-protection-program loan, we were able to reopen. The business was very small due to all the missing attractions we normally offered through the condiment trays, pool tables, and large gatherings in the back room. Eventually, it cost more to stay open than they were making here until they closed their doors earlier this month."

On December 13, Russell reached out to her Imperial Beach and South San Diego neighbors posting on Facebook, "Boll Weevil is selling everything inside the restaurant from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday the 16th."

"What a shame!" Linda responded. "An IB landmark that has lost the economic battle of the times. Wonder if they might have some wire shelves available?"

Another local inquired about the sports teams’ frames and photos that the restaurant sponsored since the 90s. "Are they selling them? I would love to buy one for my adult son getting married, he was on one of the teams, and we always joked about it when we went there."

The most popular inquiry to Russell was about the pool tables.

“The pool tables were a hundred apiece, can you believe that? Now, everything is gone except a few beer mirrors and Boll Weevil signs.”

"Since everyone is stuck at home because of [Governor] Newsom," commented Michael, a former regular at the closed hamburger restaurant, "used pool tables are a hot commodity. I’d pay $100 in a heartbeat. Man, this whole shutdown is un-Boll-Weevil-ble."

"But Boll Weevil on Winter Gardens Boulevard in Lakeside is still open," Russel said. "Walking in there is like a step back into time to Boll Weevil's heyday."

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“The pool tables were a hundred apiece, can you believe that? Now, everything is gone except a few beer mirrors and Boll Weevil signs.”
“The pool tables were a hundred apiece, can you believe that? Now, everything is gone except a few beer mirrors and Boll Weevil signs.”

The South San Diego Boll Weevil is the latest casualty among San Diego original restaurants closing this month.

"We had to take the condiment trays away once Covid hit," explained Alisha Russell. "To me, it was never the same after that. They also took away the pool tables and video games, leaving us near naked. Those were the main attractions that drew families there."

In the early to mid-2000s, I owned a car parts business near the South San Diego hamburger restaurant located by Home Depot, a block west of the I-5 and Palm Avenue exit. The unlimited hamburger toppings, including fresh tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickles and condiments, and the giant-sized beer schooners, were the draw for my buddies and me.

"I'll miss the friendly faces of regular customers, and the sense of family and belonging," Russell said, "and the camaraderie of our staff."

When family and friends visited my car shop, I'd frequently treat them to the 1/2 lb. steer burgers or chicken wings here. For me, Boll Weevil was a San Diego must-go-to spot ranking up with the Roberto's on Highland Avenue.

Lorraine and Fred Halleman reportedly founded the Boll Weevil chain and opened their first restaurant on Midway Drive in 1967, then expanded to over 18 restaurants throughout the county and a Tijuana location.

"Victor Tongco and Thomas Walker opened their first Boll Weevil restaurant in 1990 on El Cajon Boulevard near SDSU," reported the ImperialBeachNewsCa.com site. "They opened the Southland Plaza Boll Weevil, in South San Diego, on Sept. 4, 1991."

After Russell graduated from high school in 1994, Tongco and Walker hired her. "I did everything," she said, "cook, serve, you name it, until 1996. Then I came back in 2006."

"In Sept. 2008, the parent company went bankrupt," continued the ImperialBeachNewsCa.com site, "but some independently owned restaurants stayed open, the South San Diego location being one of them."

Maritess, an Elite 2020 Yelp reviewer, ordered the grilled bacon cheeseburger from Russell, posted a photo about it, and rated the restaurant a four out of five.

The unlimited hamburger toppings, including fresh tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickles were the draw.

“This burger had lots of cheese, which I love. The meat was seasoned well with salt …. and was so juicy, and the crunch of the bread was great. The lady’s service was great; she was friendly with us and her other customers. They had TVs so you can watch sports. They had a pool table with an old-style juke book.”

Russell was one of the 14 employees that remained loyal to the South San Diego hamburger spot, which averaged a 4.5 out of 5 Yelp rating, until the very end.

"When Covid hit, we thought we were done for good, but with the paycheck-protection-program loan, we were able to reopen. The business was very small due to all the missing attractions we normally offered through the condiment trays, pool tables, and large gatherings in the back room. Eventually, it cost more to stay open than they were making here until they closed their doors earlier this month."

On December 13, Russell reached out to her Imperial Beach and South San Diego neighbors posting on Facebook, "Boll Weevil is selling everything inside the restaurant from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday the 16th."

"What a shame!" Linda responded. "An IB landmark that has lost the economic battle of the times. Wonder if they might have some wire shelves available?"

Another local inquired about the sports teams’ frames and photos that the restaurant sponsored since the 90s. "Are they selling them? I would love to buy one for my adult son getting married, he was on one of the teams, and we always joked about it when we went there."

The most popular inquiry to Russell was about the pool tables.

“The pool tables were a hundred apiece, can you believe that? Now, everything is gone except a few beer mirrors and Boll Weevil signs.”

"Since everyone is stuck at home because of [Governor] Newsom," commented Michael, a former regular at the closed hamburger restaurant, "used pool tables are a hot commodity. I’d pay $100 in a heartbeat. Man, this whole shutdown is un-Boll-Weevil-ble."

"But Boll Weevil on Winter Gardens Boulevard in Lakeside is still open," Russel said. "Walking in there is like a step back into time to Boll Weevil's heyday."

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2

Way back in the day we used to go to the Boll Weevil on El Cajon Blvd. after we worked out at Vic Tanny's Gym. With burgers and beer we took care of any good we accomplished at the gym. Both are gone. Oh well, progress I guess.

Dec. 27, 2020

Growing up in Point Loma we were surrounded by Boll Weevil's. There was one in OB, Midway and Shelter Island and it was the "go-to" family dinner place. We ate there after family events, birthdays, graduations and every OB Xmas parade. I frequented the one up in Kearney Mesa until it recently closed. Sad, but things change and there are 20 other places to get a good burger in a 5 miles radius so I'm sure I'll get over it.

Dec. 27, 2020

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