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Oceanside facing big comeback

Crackheads, Junior Seau center, bandstand on ocean, Succulent Cafe

Oceanside gets a new stainless steel halo over Pier View Way.
Oceanside gets a new stainless steel halo over Pier View Way.

JULY 7 UPDATE:

Oceanside's most embarrassing vacancy will soon be cranking. The space at the corner of Pier View Way and Coast Highway, vacant since late last year, will soon be abuzz with another successful Carlsbad business setting up shop in downtown Oceanside. Handel’s Ice Cream, which has drawing lines of customers at its State Street storefront in Carlsbad, will open at the location formerly occupied by the Breakfast Club diner, immediately south of city hall.

The historic three-story downtown hotel in Pier View Way built in 1888 has entered its last remodeling phase after two years of construction setbacks. The boutique hotel will be called The Brick and will have hotel rooms on the second and third floors. The first floor will become the Q&A Restaurant and Oyster Bar named after the chef brought in from New Orleans, Quinntan Austin. The fourth, rooftop floor will be a tropical/Caribbean-style bar called CocoCabana. The new bar and restaurant will be owned and operated by Grind & Prosper, the same company that operates Miss B’s Coconut Club in Mission Beach and Louisiana Purchase in North Park.

The Q&A Restaurant will serve food to the CocoCabana upstairs (via a newly-installed elevator) as well as to customers at the adjacent Frankie’s bar and Stone Brewing which are independently owned but are part of the Brick hotel complex. The Succulent Café, mentioned below, will be located at the back of The Brick near Stone Brewing.


The inferiority complex began in the 60s when most of Oceanside’s car dealerships picked up and moved to Carlsbad. The booming car center called Car Country Carlsbad is now at 15 dealerships. The move led some Oceanside locals to wonder if their hometown would never catch up to Carlsbad as an economic hub and sales tax generator.

But the tide is turning. One Carlsbad entrepreneur is cloning his successful eatery for a key Oceanside street corner, and another is leaving Carlsbad altogether for the city to the north.

A denied used car lot brought Crackheads to Oceanside.

A major change to Oceanside’s business profile came two years ago when a proposed used car dealership was told at a planning commission meeting they weren't welcome, even though they wanted to use a lot on Coast Highway had been used to sell used cars for decades.

That corner which sat vacant for two years, is about to be reimagined as an outdoor eatery, styled after Carlsbad’s popular Crackheads on the corner of State Street and Carlsbad Village Drive.

Carlsbad Crackheads clones itself in Oceanside.

“I just got bored with brick and mortar,” says James Markham, the restauranteur who created the Pieology and Modern Pizza chains. He than came to Carlsbad where he created the Windmill Food Hall on Palomar Airport Road in Carlsbad. When he sold Windmill, Markham created the Carlsbad Crackheads. He says the new Oceanside Crackheads will follow its Carlsbad sister cafe and be housed in four imported storage bins that will each serve different fare like tacos or pizza.

“I wanted to create a cool patio vibe like you were having a drink in somebody’s back yard,” Markham explains. He says the plans to do the same thing in Oceanside call for the demolition of the old building that was often used to negotiate used car sales with Marines.

Peter Loyola launched his Succulent Café in downtown Oceanside in 2013, selling potted greenery in a coffee house setting. After four years he relocated to Carlsbad’s downtown Village, and now he says he is making plans to pull up stakes again and return to downtown Oceanside.

Will Oceanside’s depression era “bandshell” become SoCal’s only beachside concert venue?

“I never wanted to leave Oceanside, but issues with the landlord made me relocate the café to Carlsbad,” says Loyola. “Oceanside has a vibe that fits me more. It has more grit, more diversity, and more down-to-earth people.”

Loyola says the the returning Oceanside Succulent Café will be adjacent to the three-story brick hotel on Pier View Way built in 1888 that has been undergoing remodeling for almost two years.

Current photo of bandshell

He says Oceanside is more small business friendly. Loyola says Carlsbad was more “rigid when it came to opening my small business.” He says Oceanside, on the other hand, had the mentality of “…let’s come up with a solution to the issue rather than just saying no.” In Carlsbad, he says, “…I received more ‘no’s’ and I felt like I was more on my own to come up with solutions that fit their criteria. The differences between Carlsbad and Oceanside can not be more stark.”

Succulent Cafe returns to Ocanside after four years in Carlsbad.

Carlsbad still leads as a hub of biotech and communication companies with world-famous companies like Viasat and Maxlinear. Oceanside’s smaller tech roster includes Gilead and Genentech. One of those, a research and manufacturing facility in a 14,000-square-foot complex called Sparsha Pharma, has made a significant change to its business model and public perception.

Two years ago the self-contained company set out to develop and manufacture pain-killing fentanyl patches

Oceanside’s gym by the sea: Will the Junior Seau Beach Community Center survive in the new beach resort era?

Sparsha Pharma now focuses on products with much less controversy. Michelle Geller, Oceanside’s Economic Development manager, says of Sparasha Pharma, “They wanted something that wasn’t as problematic as fentanyl so they switched to over-the counter pain patches with Lidocaine.”

Sparsha Pharma administrative assistant Sue Logan says the fentanyl patch era was only ever in the research stage. “We never actually made any.”

The most dramatic swing in Oceanside’s fortunes would seem to be the opening of Oceanside’s two major beachfront hotels adjacent to the pier which operate nearly 400 rooms. One of those hotels, the Hyatt Mission Pacific, reports that all of its biggest suites, some priced as high as $1500, are sold out on its first Independence Day weekend and that the other beach-front rooms (up to $599) will likely sell out.

The two resort hotels are just part of the dramatic changes in the beachfront area at the base of the Oceanside pier. Major changes are on the way for the “bandshell” amphitheater immediately to the south of the pier and the Jr. Seau Beach Community Center just to the north. The amphitheater is the only outdoor concert venue on the beach in all of Southern California. The Santa Barbara Bowl is over a mile from the beach. And the major beach concert venues at the Santa Monica Pier, the Ohana Fest at Doheny State Beach and the Beach Life Festival at Redondo Beach all rely on temporary staging and seating.

Oceanside Councilman Peter Weiss says Oceanside has hired a consultant to make major changes to both the amphitheater and Seau Community Center which Weiss says is basically a little-used gym with little adjacent parking. He says an entire re-imagination of the area is on its way which may include the demolition of the Jr. Seau Beach Community Center.

The Covid-shuttered Surf Bowl, one of two surviving bowling alleys in North County, has recently re-opened with one employee saying business is better now than when it closed in March 2020. Oceanside’s “Olympic-sized” Aquatic Center is due to open in August, and plans have been approved and budgeted to bring imported water to Oceanside’s most popular skate park, “Prince Park,” this year.

A sewer line to Prince Park won’t be built until an adjacent housing development/wave park is built.

It is unclear if California’s drought may torpedo plans to build the wave lagoon part of the development.

Meanwhile, the Thursday evening Sunset Market, re-opened June 24 after a year, will have a new overhanging “landmark.” A huge Oceanside “O,” created by inter-connected stainless steel ellipses, will be built over Pier View Way at Tremont Street. The halo-like installation needs final city approval. The design created by Objects Projects, was selected in the 2021 Landmark Sign Competition hosted by Mainstreet Oceanside.

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Doing the Work
Oceanside gets a new stainless steel halo over Pier View Way.
Oceanside gets a new stainless steel halo over Pier View Way.

JULY 7 UPDATE:

Oceanside's most embarrassing vacancy will soon be cranking. The space at the corner of Pier View Way and Coast Highway, vacant since late last year, will soon be abuzz with another successful Carlsbad business setting up shop in downtown Oceanside. Handel’s Ice Cream, which has drawing lines of customers at its State Street storefront in Carlsbad, will open at the location formerly occupied by the Breakfast Club diner, immediately south of city hall.

The historic three-story downtown hotel in Pier View Way built in 1888 has entered its last remodeling phase after two years of construction setbacks. The boutique hotel will be called The Brick and will have hotel rooms on the second and third floors. The first floor will become the Q&A Restaurant and Oyster Bar named after the chef brought in from New Orleans, Quinntan Austin. The fourth, rooftop floor will be a tropical/Caribbean-style bar called CocoCabana. The new bar and restaurant will be owned and operated by Grind & Prosper, the same company that operates Miss B’s Coconut Club in Mission Beach and Louisiana Purchase in North Park.

The Q&A Restaurant will serve food to the CocoCabana upstairs (via a newly-installed elevator) as well as to customers at the adjacent Frankie’s bar and Stone Brewing which are independently owned but are part of the Brick hotel complex. The Succulent Café, mentioned below, will be located at the back of The Brick near Stone Brewing.


The inferiority complex began in the 60s when most of Oceanside’s car dealerships picked up and moved to Carlsbad. The booming car center called Car Country Carlsbad is now at 15 dealerships. The move led some Oceanside locals to wonder if their hometown would never catch up to Carlsbad as an economic hub and sales tax generator.

But the tide is turning. One Carlsbad entrepreneur is cloning his successful eatery for a key Oceanside street corner, and another is leaving Carlsbad altogether for the city to the north.

A denied used car lot brought Crackheads to Oceanside.

A major change to Oceanside’s business profile came two years ago when a proposed used car dealership was told at a planning commission meeting they weren't welcome, even though they wanted to use a lot on Coast Highway had been used to sell used cars for decades.

That corner which sat vacant for two years, is about to be reimagined as an outdoor eatery, styled after Carlsbad’s popular Crackheads on the corner of State Street and Carlsbad Village Drive.

Carlsbad Crackheads clones itself in Oceanside.

“I just got bored with brick and mortar,” says James Markham, the restauranteur who created the Pieology and Modern Pizza chains. He than came to Carlsbad where he created the Windmill Food Hall on Palomar Airport Road in Carlsbad. When he sold Windmill, Markham created the Carlsbad Crackheads. He says the new Oceanside Crackheads will follow its Carlsbad sister cafe and be housed in four imported storage bins that will each serve different fare like tacos or pizza.

“I wanted to create a cool patio vibe like you were having a drink in somebody’s back yard,” Markham explains. He says the plans to do the same thing in Oceanside call for the demolition of the old building that was often used to negotiate used car sales with Marines.

Peter Loyola launched his Succulent Café in downtown Oceanside in 2013, selling potted greenery in a coffee house setting. After four years he relocated to Carlsbad’s downtown Village, and now he says he is making plans to pull up stakes again and return to downtown Oceanside.

Will Oceanside’s depression era “bandshell” become SoCal’s only beachside concert venue?

“I never wanted to leave Oceanside, but issues with the landlord made me relocate the café to Carlsbad,” says Loyola. “Oceanside has a vibe that fits me more. It has more grit, more diversity, and more down-to-earth people.”

Loyola says the the returning Oceanside Succulent Café will be adjacent to the three-story brick hotel on Pier View Way built in 1888 that has been undergoing remodeling for almost two years.

Current photo of bandshell

He says Oceanside is more small business friendly. Loyola says Carlsbad was more “rigid when it came to opening my small business.” He says Oceanside, on the other hand, had the mentality of “…let’s come up with a solution to the issue rather than just saying no.” In Carlsbad, he says, “…I received more ‘no’s’ and I felt like I was more on my own to come up with solutions that fit their criteria. The differences between Carlsbad and Oceanside can not be more stark.”

Succulent Cafe returns to Ocanside after four years in Carlsbad.

Carlsbad still leads as a hub of biotech and communication companies with world-famous companies like Viasat and Maxlinear. Oceanside’s smaller tech roster includes Gilead and Genentech. One of those, a research and manufacturing facility in a 14,000-square-foot complex called Sparsha Pharma, has made a significant change to its business model and public perception.

Two years ago the self-contained company set out to develop and manufacture pain-killing fentanyl patches

Oceanside’s gym by the sea: Will the Junior Seau Beach Community Center survive in the new beach resort era?

Sparsha Pharma now focuses on products with much less controversy. Michelle Geller, Oceanside’s Economic Development manager, says of Sparasha Pharma, “They wanted something that wasn’t as problematic as fentanyl so they switched to over-the counter pain patches with Lidocaine.”

Sparsha Pharma administrative assistant Sue Logan says the fentanyl patch era was only ever in the research stage. “We never actually made any.”

The most dramatic swing in Oceanside’s fortunes would seem to be the opening of Oceanside’s two major beachfront hotels adjacent to the pier which operate nearly 400 rooms. One of those hotels, the Hyatt Mission Pacific, reports that all of its biggest suites, some priced as high as $1500, are sold out on its first Independence Day weekend and that the other beach-front rooms (up to $599) will likely sell out.

The two resort hotels are just part of the dramatic changes in the beachfront area at the base of the Oceanside pier. Major changes are on the way for the “bandshell” amphitheater immediately to the south of the pier and the Jr. Seau Beach Community Center just to the north. The amphitheater is the only outdoor concert venue on the beach in all of Southern California. The Santa Barbara Bowl is over a mile from the beach. And the major beach concert venues at the Santa Monica Pier, the Ohana Fest at Doheny State Beach and the Beach Life Festival at Redondo Beach all rely on temporary staging and seating.

Oceanside Councilman Peter Weiss says Oceanside has hired a consultant to make major changes to both the amphitheater and Seau Community Center which Weiss says is basically a little-used gym with little adjacent parking. He says an entire re-imagination of the area is on its way which may include the demolition of the Jr. Seau Beach Community Center.

The Covid-shuttered Surf Bowl, one of two surviving bowling alleys in North County, has recently re-opened with one employee saying business is better now than when it closed in March 2020. Oceanside’s “Olympic-sized” Aquatic Center is due to open in August, and plans have been approved and budgeted to bring imported water to Oceanside’s most popular skate park, “Prince Park,” this year.

A sewer line to Prince Park won’t be built until an adjacent housing development/wave park is built.

It is unclear if California’s drought may torpedo plans to build the wave lagoon part of the development.

Meanwhile, the Thursday evening Sunset Market, re-opened June 24 after a year, will have a new overhanging “landmark.” A huge Oceanside “O,” created by inter-connected stainless steel ellipses, will be built over Pier View Way at Tremont Street. The halo-like installation needs final city approval. The design created by Objects Projects, was selected in the 2021 Landmark Sign Competition hosted by Mainstreet Oceanside.

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Comments
3

Over twenty years ago, that bandshell was scheduled for demolition to make way for some sort of development. Oceanside High had its graduation ceremony there since time immemorial, but the 1998 ceremony was announced as the last one there. As to what didn't happen I have no knowledge, other than that it still stands. It is a nice spot and setting, and should be used. We will see what happens this time.

July 4, 2021

The bandshell was never scheduled for demolition. The city tried to give the land to a sleazy developer named Doug Manchester. The Coastal Commission killed the deal after a pair of "vocal" housewifes started a grass roots effort to save the public beach.

July 7, 2021

You know the story better than I. Did Oceanside High go back to using the bandshell for graduation ceremonies? It always seemed like a natural for that use. The school does have its football field and bleachers that could accommodate such ceremonies, but that's very close to noisy I-5.

July 8, 2021

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