La Jolla New Business Roundup: Village welcomes Waters Fine Foods, Alex’s Salon


Here is a rundown on the assortment of six businesses that have recently opened in The Village (and some others to come):

Alex’s Salon

Hairdresser Alex Ashirov said he’s always had a dream of owning a small salon in La Jolla — and was willing to wait for it. He recently took over the Village Barber Shop at 7517 Fay Ave. owned by Dean Blundell, who cut hair there for 50 years before he retired in March. It is now called Alex’s Salon.

“I moved to San Diego from Wisconsin 15 years ago and at that time, I saw this place and asked if (Blundell) would consider selling the business to me and he said ‘no.’ I tried a couple more times and he kept saying ‘no,’ so I opened a salon in UTC. I worked there that whole time, but when Dean announced he was retiring, I tried again to take over this location and finally he said ‘yes,’ ” Ashirov explained.

The UTC resident said he appreciates The Village atmosphere and hopes to contribute with the salon’s welcoming environment. “My priority is for this to be a friendly place, where any person who walks in is welcomed. We try to take the time, pay attention to our clients and get to know them and what they want, and we try to keep our prices reasonable,” he said.

The salon offers haircuts for men, women and children, as well as coloring and styling services. But Ashirov said he specializes in Brazilian blowouts (hair smoothing treatments). “I did two today and I have people come in for them all the time ... a lot of clients follow me for my blowouts,” he boasted.

The salon is open for walk-ins 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and Monday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, but Ashirov said he tries to accommodate before- and after-hours appointments. (858) 883-4030.

Waters Fine Foods and Catering

Waters Fine Foods and Catering quietly opened its La Jolla location on May 4 at 7441 Girard Ave., to serve fresh and seasonal sandwiches, salads, entrees, take home meals and desserts. With nearly 30 years in the business, the main catering kitchen is on Morena Boulevard, but has expanded to other locales. While there are tables at the Upper Girard restaurant for in-house dining, many patrons pick up meals to take home.

“Our customers were asking us to come to La Jolla for quite some time and when the opportunity presented itself, we decided to move,” said owner Mary Kay Waters. “We have a talented group of chefs who design and prepare delicious food, using the highest quality ingredients. We strive for extreme freshness … and we use primarily organic vegetables, fruits and herbs, as well as milk, grains, legumes, and nut butters. Our menu changes daily, with weekly seasonal specials. We offer many gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options, as well as a variety of meats, chicken and fish.”

Of the must-try items, Waters said this season there is: tarragon artichoke chicken salad; turkey, pine nut, basil meatloaf; the “best” enchiladas; roasted organic root vegetables; and assorted quiche with the “flakiest” crust. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. (858) 509-9400.

Muir Energy

A local hiker’s hobby has become an unexpected career with the launch of Muir Energy food packages for endurance athletes. Run by brother-and-sister La Jolla natives Ian and Francesca McNally, the company launched in commercial kitchens throughout La Jolla and was sold at the La Jolla Open Aire Farmers Market. But at the start of 2017, the business “gained some traction,” said Ian.

“My parents are big fans of John Muir, so I grew up hiking and now I’m a long-distance hiker and that’s where I got the idea for a real-food product I could take with me that would provide energy with clean, simple, high quality ingredients. I wanted to recognize all the ingredients on the label,” said Ian. The most commonly used ingredients are nut butters and dehydrated fruit.

Typically around five ingredients or less, the gel and spreads come in pouches and jars. “You could eat it by the mouthful or spread it on toast,” he said. “I made it for myself, but my friends would try it and loved it. They took it on a run, surfing, hiking and so on. It surprised me that people were interested, and it went from there.”

After dedicating the time to get FDA permits, he now sells at farmers markets, select athletics retailers and online at

J.McLaughlin Clothing

In April, J.McLaughlin opened at 7880 Girard Ave. to offer women and men’s clothing. “We are excited to add this destination to our roster. La Jolla was chosen as the first San Diego location to take advantage of the strong resident base in this seaside community. We look forward to bringing the community an inviting shopping experience and fostering deep relationships with those who may have just discovered the brand,” said J.McLaughlin CEO Mary Ellen Coyne.

According to press material, the store features a curated selection of the brand’s current collections, including innovative nostalgic styles, world-class silks, sporty cottons and cashmeres, and tongue-in-cheek designs. The location will also be the first to offer The Acadia Collection, a new line of golf and tennis-appropriate attire that embodies the active and stylish spirit of the J.McLaughlin clientele and the La Jolla resident.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The store plans to host community-based, in-store charity events on an ongoing basis. (858) 731-9338.

Drybar Hair Salon

Drybar hair salon, which specializes only in blowouts, will open its newest location at 8867 Villa La Jolla Drive, with a grand opening throughout the day June 9. The 1,600-square-foot salon will consist of 10 styling chairs and the signature elements that define the “Drybar experience.”

“We are so excited to be opening in La Jolla,” said Drybar Founder Alli Webb, in press material. “Having started Drybar in Brentwood and being a Cali girl myself, opening California shops has a special place in my heart!”

Tired of overpaying for professional blowouts, curly-haired Webb opened Drybar to provide the hair style at a flat price, regardless of hair length or type. The price for a blowout is $45 with additional services available. The list of signature styles reads like a cocktail menu: the Cosmo (lots of loose curls), the Straight Up (straight with a little body), the Southern Comfort (big hair, lots of volume), the Mai Tai (messy and beachy), the Manhattan (sleek and smooth) the Dirty Martini (tousled and textured) and, for the children, the Shirley Temple.

Kodiak Capital Group LLC

Kodiak Capital Group LLC, an investor in publicly traded companies, has chosen 1262 Prospect St. for its new San Diego office. According to its website, Kodiak Capital Group was founded in 2009, and is an operationally driven private equity firm that partners with management to make non-control equity investments in lower middle market businesses. Managing member Ryan Hodson said, “La Jolla is obviously a special place, and joining the community here is not only a real pleasure, but it will also allow Kodiak to better serve the abundant San Diego market. … Kodiak also looks forward to becoming an active and positive part of the business community in La Jolla.”

Chef seeking space

Chef Giuseppe Ciuffa, the chef behind the Museum Café attached to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, announced he’s in search of a new restaurant location in La Jolla. The Cafe will close Sept. 1 to accommodate the Museum’s expansion, which is expected to take several years to complete. “We’ve called the La Jolla location of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego home for 17 years,” said Ciuffa, who also owns Bottega Americano, Caroline’s Seaside Cafe and Giuseppe Fine Catering. “As we make plans to close for the major museum renovations, we are taking it as not just impetus to relocate but to unveil an entirely new culinary concept. I have the idea in mind and now I just need to find the perfect space to bring it to life.” Reach Chef Giuseppe at