When China Inn shuttered last year after 25 years in Pacific Beach, the property owner put the word out for a new tenant with "serious food intentions and an interest in elevating the community's dining scene".
Enter Mark Oliver, a native La Jollan with over 35 years in the restaurant business, including 20 years as a partner at the famed George's at the Cove.
Oliver, who also opened Mission Valley's Randy Jones All American Sports Grill, which shuttered last June, has been looking for the right location for a new, yet-to-be-disclosed concept for the past year.
In the 5,900-square-foot property at 877 Hornblend Street, he found the ideal coastal location in a neighborhood still underserved by full-service, upscale restaurants.
Oliver says that he plans to do a substantial remodel of the site, aided by Golba Architecture and David Robinson Design, that will dedicate a significant amount of of space to outdoor dining. The goal is to open by October 2015.
Though details about the menu and concept have not been released, Oliver promises that it will fill a needed niche in Pacific Beach and appeal to both locals and tourists; Location Matters' Paul Ahern, who facilitated the transaction, said "While Pacific Beach has always been known for its lively bar and nightlife scene, there has certainly been a growing demand from the community for alternative higher quality dining options in recent years that restauranteurs have begun picking up on. Given the significant stake in the community which the owner of this building holds while having resided in Pacific Beach for the past 40 years, the decision making process of selecting a new tenant went far beyond who was offering the most attractive terms, and instead was centered around finding the right operator with the vision for transforming the property into what has the potential to become a longstanding institution servicing the area for decades to come. We fielded leasing interest from various uses and walks of life patiently for over a year to find the best fit, and are ecstatic over seeing what Mark and his team create with the opportunity ahead of them."