Look what’s in Santa’s Bag!
This holiday season, save yourself the stress of getting “malled.” You’ll find wonderful gifts in one-of-a-kind stores on University, Adams Avenue, along 30th Street and in all the nooks and crannies that only we locals know about. Support our local businesses and their owners who give back to our community in countless ways.
Our holiday elves were out and about early this year, and just look what they brought home!
The A-B Sporting Goods is a 63 year old tradition in North Park. Family owned and operated since 1946, first owned by David Schloss, now owned by his son Joe Schloss, who runs the store with his son, Gregg. If you need shoes by Nike, Converse, K-Swiss or other major brands, this is the place. If you need baseballs, basketballs, footballs and the equipment and clothing to play these games, they have it. You can buy your athletic award jackets, your merchandise can be lettered for you and Little League players and Pop Warner players can be outfitted. Stop by, you will be pleased.
A&B Sporting Goods
3027 University Ave.
‘The Mind and Body Are One’
Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art that uses a system of throws and holds. Those who practice aikido enjoy a great cardio workout while learning effective self defense, discipline and respect. Aikikai, founded in 1981, is celebrating its first year at its new home in North Park. Sensei Deena Drake is a 4th degree Black Belt, who began training in 1995. Here you’ll find classes for all ages, males and females, open hand techniques, defense training and meditation practice. Visitors are welcome; special holiday rates are offered.
3773 30th St.
Expecting out-of-town guests?
Treat them to a stay at this historic Craftsman home built by former San Diego Mayor Frank Frary in 1904, that is filled with antiques and a warm spirit that makes it a true “oasis in the middle of a city.” The home’s large salt-water pool is surrounded with gardens and decks. Breakfasts are special here and chef Michael O’Brien’s homemade muffins – sometimes applesauce, sometimes blueberry, sometimes pumpkin — are always delicious, says mom and owner Carole Dugdale. There’s also quiche, waffles, pancakes, baked egg dishes, fresh fruit. “Never any meat, and we grind our own coffee,” says Carole.
Carole’s Bed and Breakfast Inn
3227 Grim Ave.
Inspired by Sacred Geometry
Cirello jewelry is handcrafted, using reclaimed stainless steel and other materials native to the San Diego region. Artist Matthew Cirello explains that his handmade pieces that include bracelets, earrings, pendants and belt buckles, are meant to “creatively captures and visually express the connections that life weaves among all conscious beings.” The gallery began in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village and this year relocated to Ray Street, home to San Diego’s burgeoning art and cultural community. What started as a solo enterprise by artist Cirello soon turned into a partnership with long-time friend and steel fabricator, Jonathan Wheeler. Together, they have fused their passions, skills and capabilities to offer unique and beautiful artisan jewelry design and manufacturing.
3803 Ray St.
Grant’s: your headquarters for San Diego’s best culinary products
Grant’s Marketplace is a locally owned and operated business that provides a specialty grocery market environment offering several notable San Diego products like Ballast Point beers, Stone Beers along with several other local craft beers, Bread & Cie breads and pastries, Julian pies, El Indio chips and tortillas, La Salsa Chilena salsas. Plus you’ll find premium nuts, nostalgic sodas, fine cheeses, an excellent wine selection, a fair trade, certified organic espresso bar and selection of organic house coffees, and a full Boar’s Head Deli with an extensive, fresh sandwich and salad menu. Grant’s is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; deli closes at 6:30 p.m.) Support Locally Owned Businesses, says owner Joe Grant.
2953 Beech St.
Wine a bit
Here’s the perfect spot to meet your friends and unwind in a warm space that includes a 40-foot bar, an indoor/outdoor patio and three lounge areas. You can also complement your wine (or beer) experience with delicious appetizers and entrees from Mosaic’s full kitchen. On Sunday’s, try brunch (yummy frittatas) and $1 mimosas. Mosaic is also the perfect place to select a bottle of wine to take to a holiday party, with most bottles priced from $18 to $35.
Mosaic Wine Bar
3422 30th St.
Don’t forget man’s best friend!
In addition to full grooming services, Pet Palace offers everything a North Park dog or cat would want for the holidays: Greenies, Happy Hips and Vitality treats, comfy beds, snazzy carriers, cologne, shampoos, leashes and collars, bully sticks, grooming supplies, etc. Pet Palace also carries three lines of pet food: Nutro, Dogswell and Wellness at the best prices around – they guarantee it. Are you buying a gift for someone else’s pet and not sure what their Fido or Fifi wants? Pet Palace offers gift certificates at any denomination.
3827 Ray St.
Make it a creative Christmas
The San Diego Art Department has the solution to holiday gift giving: not only can you buy unique and local creative gifts, you can make them, too! One-day workshops feature artful creations that include stained glass, glass ornaments, fabric printing, encaustic (pigments, dyes and waxed, layer with mixed media images), monotype and linoleum printmaking (great for Christmas card). SDAD’s gift shop is full of unusual finds that will suit your boss or mother-in-law. Locally made jewelry, smaller works of art, homemade glassware including fused glass bowls, handmade pine-needle bowls, cookbooks that includes the desert, coast and mountains of Southern California.
San Diego Art
3830 Ray St.
(619) 299-4ART (4278)
Building better bikes
What nicer present could there possibly be than to find a favorite old bike totally restored, painted, shined and ready to roll on Christmas morning? Restoring old bikes is the specialty at Thomas Bike Shop, serving the San Diego community since 1907. But don’t get us wrong; you’ll find the latest in bikes and all the gear to go with them at this South Park favorite, where Don and Jinna are at your service.
Thomas Bike Shop
1635 ½ Fern St.
Celebrate the Craftsman home
For the Craftsman home, a visit to Seaside Home in La Jolla is definitely in order. The second floor is filled with vignettes of Stickley Furniture’s Mission Collection in lifestyle settings, filled with accessories that make a Craftsman house a Craftsman home. But you don’t have to be a Craftsman homeowner to enjoy Seaside Home; the shop carries a full range of furniture, crystal, glassware, china, candles, lamps, books, throws, pillows, linens and more. Complimentary onsite design consultations.
7509 Girard, La Jolla
Hip for her, hip for him
South Park’s Maeve Riley boutique brings a chic sophistication along with reasonable price points in casual wear women’s and men’s fashions. Here you’ll find trendy handbags, a wide offering of jewelry including earrings, bracelets, belts and necklaces, and candles and fragrances that make perfect gifts when you’re not sure of “the fit.”
2328 ½ 30th St.
This eco-boutique features clothing for men and women made from earth-friendly materials including organic cotton and bamboo, and cruelty-free accessories including vintage and custom-made belts, gifts and art. Do check out Richard Fredrick’s belts that shine with Swarovski crystals…but you won’t find leather and suede on the premises.
2365 30th St.
When the look has to absolutely, positively be YOU
If you want a look that’s as individual as you are, rather than that of a department store mannequin, bop in to Mimi and Red’s where Michelle (Mimi) and Rhonda (Red) will help you find the perfect outfit. Maybe it will be chic jeans, a sheer top and jewelry that sets it off, or a dress with a contrasting clutch bag and belt. You’ll set heads reeling, but not your checkbook.
Mimi and Red Boutique
3032 University Ave.
Everyone wants the “pink shopping bag”
…from NYLA Kensington, of course. Fill it great garb inside that owner Tanya Champion has brought home from her travels to New York, Chicago, Canada and Europe. Here you’ll find great clothing lines: Mac & Jac, Kenzie Girl, Lapis and Rampage to name a few. Be sure to read Tanya’s online blog…full of fun tales of owning a clothing boutique.
4095 Adams Ave., Kensington
Calendars for the New Year
Share your neighborhood with gifts produced by the North Park Historical Society. The 2010 North Park calendar ($15) features high-quality, full-color photos of the area’s unique homes and landmark signs. For the definitive history of North Park’s first 50 years, don’t forget “North Park: A San Diego Urban Village, 1896-1946” by Don Covington, which features 90 historical photos ($22.95).
SOHO gift shop at the Marston House, 3575 Seventh Ave.
North Park Main Street, 3076 University Ave.
Vintage Religion, 3821 32nd St.
On-line at northparkhistory.org
From personalized design to installation,
designers and staff at Ampolos Design Center are equipped to guide customers through each step of redefining a kitchen or bath space. Their goal for each project is to beautify, improve storage and access, add value and accommodate clients’ lifestyle. The company offers windows and doors, remodeling, additions and new construction.
Ampolos Design Center
10601 Tierrasanta Blvd., Suite K
San Diego, CA 92124
Something for Everyone
Holiday shopping at Auntie Helen’s is a fantastic opportunity to find great gift buys for everyone on your list. The shop offers men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, china and glassware, household appliances, tapes and CDs, jewelry, children’s toys and games, luggage and backpacks, framed artwork and mirrors and small furniture items. All proceeds support the free laundry service operated in the back of the store serving people with AIDS. Store hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Merchandise donations for the thrift shop are gratefully accepted behind the store. Bring in the ad from this newspaper for 25 percent off a one-time purchase.
4028 30th St.
Gorgeous Salon is a full service hair, nail and beauty salon run by Cindy Jarrett, who provides a range of services, including cuts, color, highlights, manicures, pedicures, skincare treatments, dermalogica, microdermabrasion, face mapping skin analysis, customized facials, eyebrow sculpting, waxing and more.
3605 30th St.
Tea at Your Service
Quality and customer service are the hallmarks of Halcyon Tea, to say nothing of the varieties of tea this shop offers. Halcyon also has a fine selection of stylish tea ware and a limited number of books — considered the best available in the field. The shop frequently invites customers to sit together to taste and smell a few different kinds of tea. “I’m a tea lover and always on the lookout for a great Earl Grey … found it here (Imperial Earl Grey),” says one satisfied customer. “ I’ve tried at least five other kinds and loved all of them.”
3009 Beech St.
A North Park Institution
Paesano’s Restaurant is a big part of North Park. Besides feeding families every day, it supports local schools in their fundraising drives and accommodates teams with their ceremonies. “We have done countless weddings, rehearsal dinners, wakes, holiday parties and birthdays,” says Guiseppe Ramona, son of Vicenzo and Antonietta Romano, who started the business in North Park in 1967. Giuseppe (Joe) now runs Paesano’s assisted by the staff of Brian and Sabina (your servers), chefs Amado and Francisco (brothers) along with Joe creating the appetizing meals. “Our customers are what realy make this restaurant a North Park institution,” says Joe. “We are deeply grateful for each and every one. Come by and see Vince on Friday evening.”
40 years of great food and friends. Buon Apetito!
Paesano’s Restaurant is a big part of North Park. In addition to providing great family fare at reasonable prices, the restaurant supports local schools in fundraising drives and accommodates sports teams with their ceremonies. Countless weddings, rehearsal dinners, wakes, holiday parties and birthdays have been held at Paesano’s. Vincenzo and Antonietta Romano started the business in North Park in 1967 and have run the business along with their children and other family members ever since. Their son Giuseppe (Joe) now runs Paesano’s with servers Brian and Sabina and chef/brothers Amado and Francisco. But what really makes Paesano’s special, says Joe, are their great customers.
Paesano Italian Food
3647 30th St.
The motto at Salon Serendipity is, “We love to pamper our guests.” The stylish shop offers a full complements of services — hair care, skin care and nail care. Stylists offer styling, cuts, color, perming, permanent straightening and make-up for special occasions. Estheticians can perform facials, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, back treatments, waxing, lash and brow tinting and ear coning. The manicurist will do natural nail manicures, pedicures, acrylics and gels along with fancy inlayed art, glitter and colorled acrylics and glitter gel toes.
4689 Marlborough Drive
Dog Lovers Unite!
At South Bark Dog Wash, the mission is to provide a place where dog lovers can congregate. The shop has created a spa-like atmosphere that is friendly, affordable and dog- and cat-centered. Among its services are self-serve wash tubs, organic shampoo and conditioners, drying stations, pet food, toys and retail items. All of its wash packages come with complementary aroma therapeutic cleansing blueberry facials, and softening grooming spray and silk extract. South Bark is housed in renovated ’50s-style building. The brick and wood decked outside patio area is used for training, brushing, socialization and special events. Handcrafted wood and metal fencing and bistro green colored walls covered with blooming plants surround the property. A doggie excretion area is provided for use if needed. South Bark provides everything a customer needs, except the dog (or cat). And its’ just a bark from the park (Grape Street Dog Park).
South Bark Dog Wash
2037 30th St.
Crazy For Burgers
Whether it’s a “Good Old Plain” lean Angus beef hamburger, a Chinook burger with sweet chili-cilantro sauce, an Australian Kangaroo burger with creamed horseradish sauce or any number of other items from Tioli’s Crazee Burgers, you won’t be disappointed. All burger orders come with fresh greens, tomatoes, red onions, pickle slices and Kaiser roll. Spice up your meal with draft or bottled beer, wine by the glass or bottle, a variety of non-alcoholic beverages and desserts like New York cheesecake and Tiramisu. Happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. daily and 9-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Tioli’s Crazee Burgers
4201 30th St.
Scott Watkins, a founding partner and general manager of Urban Solace,
says he planned the restaurant’s “comfort service” so that diners feel that they have been invited to a dear friend’s house. “With a straight-forward dining and service experience, our guests’ comfort is our absolute priority,” says Watkins. The menu features a combination of American dishes, both classic and cutting edge, and a wine and crafted beer and cocktail list. Founding Partner and Executive Chef Matt Gorden has 17 years of experience in the restaurant industry. His philosophy in the kitchen: “Work hard and have a great time doing it!”
3823 30th St.
A Cut Above
Val Morrow has been in the grooming business since 1981 and has operated A Cut Above Pet Grooming for eight years. She offers regular, full-service grooming and her customers lavish praise on her work. “A Cut Above Pet Grooming was so wonderful to my babies,” says one patron. “I have a Yorkshire Terrier and a Maltese and when I picked them up they were so beautiful! They have long, curly hair so it takes tender loving care to get it right. They smelled amazing and they were so happy in there. The staff took such good care of them and loved them like I do. I will for sure be visiting again.” The business is open Wednesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A Cut Above Pet Grooming
2933 Lincoln Ave.
Whole Lot of Scents
Since opening in 1998, Clarity Soaps & Candles has established a reputation for making quality handmade soaps, candles, bath and skin care products. All of its candles have at least 50 percent recycled wax (some 100 percent is the goal). Customers can help by bringing in their used wax (but no jars). Gift baskets and wrapping is always free with purchase. Its products reflect Clarity’s commitment to its customers and the community. Clarity’s soap base is olive, coconut and palm. No perfume oils are used. No animals are used for testing. You’ll simply not find a better natural soap, Clarity boasts. Herbs and ingredients are put together for a purpose — not just sprinkled on top for looks; they are infused in the product.
Clarity Soaps & Candles
3022 Juniper St.
Good for the Soul
Brothers, long boarders and now entrepreneurs, Michael and Brian Salmon, brothers and long boarders, created a skateboard shop that is packed with originally design skateboards — all created in-house in a made-to-order fashion. The shop’s mission is to promote a lifestyle, not just a brand, say the brothers. The name is from the feeling that skateboarding and longboarding get from practicing the sport — a feeling that’s good for the soul.
3819 Ray St.
Something for Everyone
“We strive to offer something for everyone, something that will make them excited, happy and look great.” So states Material’s Website. “We offer some lines that are national, local, green, artistic, fashionable and moderate in price.” The store offers men’s clothing and men’s shoes, women’s clothing and women’s shoes, and accessories.
2910 University Ave.
A Master at Work
San Diego Ceramic Connection is a fully outfitted ceramics studio and gallery that was established in 1997 by Master Japanese potter Kouta Shimazaki. The studio offers three-hour classes, six days a week, with an open studio every Friday for all students. Kouta teaches his unique Japanese techniques in pottery in a group setting with individual attention each session. Students can learn beginning through advanced techniques with stoneware, porcelain, hand building, wheel throwing and glazing. Shimazaki says classes also are available in Japanese for Japanese speakers upon request.
San Diego Ceramic Connection
3216 Thorn St.
Here’s what one satisfied customer had to say about Western Steakburger’s dining fare: “Western Steakburger is what it tastes like when meat lovers from the Mediterranean (owner Gus Anastasiu) open a family business. For a small place, it has big menu with tons of choices.
Their steakburger. Take an above-average palm-sized beef patty and a soft fresh bun, add copious slices of gyros meat, then (at no extra cost) you can get ‘the works,’ which includes lettuce, tomato, pickle, relish and onion (red and white) on the other bun. Add as much ketchup and mustard as you like, and BITE. Then just sit and relax as the angels sing you to sleep.
The fries are thick and hot and soft and potatoey inside.
The onion rings are good portions. Western Steakburger gives off a masculine vibe. The John Wayne and Clint Eastwood decor is appropriate. The environment is always clean and well cared for.
After your burger and fries, you are ready to hibernate for a long winter’s nap.”
2730 University Ave.