Business Roundup: Roppongi out, Duke’s in
Prospect Street in La Jolla continues to see changes. Hawaiian restaurant, Duke’s La Jolla, opened this month, Roppongi Sushi closed last month, and Daniel Jewelery plans to close in the coming months. Down on La Jolla Boulevard, a men’s salon is preparing for its grand opening at the end of November.
The long awaited Duke’s La Jolla is a 13,000-square-foot Hawaiian/California cuisine eatery at 1216 Prospect St. named in honor of Duke Kahanamoku – native Hawaiian, six-time Olympic swimming and water polo medalist and the father of modern day surfing. The restaurant has a statue of Duke fronting the building.
Duke’s La Jolla is owned and operated by San Diego- and Maui-based TS Restaurants. “Over the years, we have looked for new opportunities in San Diego, and we focused-in on La Jolla a few years ago because of La Jolla’s abundance of culture, history and beach lifestyle,” said Jackie Reed, CEO. “In creating a sense of place for a new Duke’s restaurant, a concept that honors the father of modern day surfing … La Jolla provides the perfect backdrop ... we look forward to many years of aloha at our new Duke’s.”
The Marengo-Morton Architects-designed restaurant features two dining areas: the main 230-seat capacity level, and a second 150-seat capacity level. Both floors have outdoor dining. The menu focuses on the cooking techniques of Hawaii and California, and uses all-natural, seasonal and locally sourced products. Executive Chef Anthony Sinsay, TS Corporate Chef Scott McGill and TS Regional Chef Dustin Anselm collaborated to develop menu items specifically for Duke’s La Jolla. Signature items include: Tahitian Octopus, Lilikoi Ceviche, Roasted Firecracker Fish, and 24-hour Kalbi Short Rib. dukeslajolla.com
Roppongi Sushi closes
La Jolla restaurant Roppongi Sushi closed its doors at the end of October after 17 years in the Village. Owned by Ladeki Restaurant group – also owner of Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza at 702 Pearl St. – the 8,000-square-foot restaurant was located at 875 Prospect St.
“I had a 20-year lease and when the lease (came to an end), I had to make a decision to keep it open or close it,” owner Sami Ladeki told La Jolla Light. With the closures of other west-end Village restaurants, including Amici’s Pizzeria, Aroma Café and Amaya, Ladeki said he decided to also close up shop.
“Roppongi wasn’t doing great, and at the end of the day, the way La Jolla is going, for me to keep it open would mean I would have to change the concept and basically start over,” he said. “I had tears in my eyes when I closed it, but these things happen. We had a good run for many years, but everything must come to an end.”
Ladeki said he is exploring opening a Roppongi location in North County San Diego or Little Italy. He also said he would be open to launching another restaurant in La Jolla in the future, but nothing is planned.
His other La Jolla restaurant, Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, which has been closed since efforts to put out a grease fire caused significant damage in early September, will hopefully reopen in early 2016, he said.
In the meantime, Ladeki said he will be redoing Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza’s menu to make it more diverse, improve its catering services to reach more offices, and open a location in Las Vegas. “We’re always working on something,” he said.
After 36 years in business, Daniel Jewelry at 1241 Prospect St. is closing. Owner Jim Lavi said the lease to the space expires next summer, and once all the merchandise is sold, he will shut the doors and retire.
18/8 Men’s Salon
On the other side of town, 18/8 is planning to open at the end of November at 7407 La Jolla Blvd., across from the Maserati dealership. The full-service men’s salon will offer haircuts, facials, therapeutic scalp treatments to help prevent hair loss, hand and nail care, classic straight shaves, waxing services, and hair coloring/gray blending. 18/8 will also have a membership program with VIP treatments, including seven haircuts a year, seven cleanups in between haircuts, and discounts on grooming services and retail products.
The La Jolla salon joins more than 20 franchise locations in several states, and is owned by La Jolla native David Bolton, and his wife, Lori. As previously reported in La Jolla Light, Bolton said he decided to open a franchise after an 18/8 opened near his Rancho Santa Margarita home, and he experienced the services for himself. After the first time getting his hair cut at the men’s salon, he said, “I’m never going anywhere else.”
18/8 is hiring barbers, stylists and receptionists with applications at eighteeneight.com/lajolla-ca/
Hours will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
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