Business Roundup: Wahoo’s La Jolla closing after almost 19 years, Pizza on Pearl becomes Mr. Moto


After almost 19 years in The Village, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos will close its doors at 637 Pearl St. as part of a larger corporate downsizing. Its last day of business will be Sunday, Dec. 16.

“La Jolla is a great community and we are proud to have served the residents at our Pearl Street location,” Wahoo’s Fish Taco co-founder Renato “Mingo” Lee told La Jolla Light via e-mail. “As the neighborhood evolves and sees the need for more culinary options, we sometimes have to make decisions based on those types of changes. Fortunately, as some doors close, we look forward to continuing our expansion in 2019. We are opening stores in Long Beach; New Jersey; Las Vegas and more.”

The taco shop has drawn loyal regulars from the beginning. Frequent Wahoo’s customers have included District 1 City Council member Barbara Bry, CBS News 8 meteorologist Shawn Styles and part-time La Jollan Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and now Utah U.S. Senator.

Bry told the Light she would miss “popping into Wahoo’s and ordering their vegetarian tacos.”

Daniel Lew, assistant manager of Wahoo’s La Jolla (and also the page designer for La Jolla Light) added: “While Wahoo’s has its share of tourist-customers, it was more of a neighborhood hangout for the vast majority of our regulars who live and work in La Jolla. Through the years, we’ve gotten to know most on a first-name basis — and even the cooks recognize them; they will start cooking many of our customers’ usual orders as soon as they’re spotted walking through the door.”

Other area locations, such as the Point Loma eatery, closed the first week of December.

Cruisers Sub Shop is set to open in place of the La Jolla location, and a change of ownership notice was posted in Wahoo’s window in late November. The Colorado-based shop offers sub sandwiches; “toasties,” griddled sandwiches; açaí bowls; beer and wine; smoothies and more.

Mr. Moto Pizza

A few doors down, Pizza on Pearl became Mr. Moto Pizza House in early November at 617 Pearl St. Mr. Moto owner Gibran Fernandez has owned Pizza on Pearl for the better part of a decade and told the Light he changed the name — not his pizza — to bring it in line with his franchise.

The pizza franchise has other locations in North Park, Point Loma and Pacific Beach; an Ocean Beach location is planned for 2019.

According to press material, Mr. Moto Pizza House was established in 2015 in Pacific Beach and boasts a secret recipe to make one-of-kind dough in-house for thin-crust New York-style pizza with a twist. “The perfectly kneaded-dough is tossed by hand and topped with a wide array of fresh, gourmet ingredients. In one year’s time, the technique has earned Mr. Moto great reviews, loyal customers and critical acclaim as Mr. Moto Pizza House proudly boasts the award for ‘San Diego’s Best Gourmet Pizza’ since 2016,” a press release states.

In addition to staple pizzas and pizzas of the month, the new Mr. Moto will offer pastas and wings at the La Jolla location. (858) 729-0717.

Voce del Mare

In the aftermath of Voce del Mare Italian restaurant owner Daniel Dorado’s arrest for sexual assaults, the Bird Rock eatery has closed its doors at 5721 La Jolla Blvd. In June, a judge ordered Dorado to stand trial on 27 counts of rape and sexual assault involving eight women.

The Shoal La Jolla

The Travelodge motel, which has been at 6750 La Jolla Blvd. since 1958, has been re-branded as The Shoal, an eco-friendly boutique hotel. Signage was hoisted to the 44-room hotel Dec. 3 to mark the change.

Adrenalina skate shop

By way of a “going out of business” sale, the Adrenalina skate shop, 5745 La Jolla Blvd., announced it is closing. The last day in operation is Dec. 30, and all items are marked down. Other details, such as why the skate shop is closing, were not available by deadline.