La Jolla Business Roundup: Passion Tree hard seltzer, Easter feasts, Vons renovation, more

Passion Tree hard seltzer founders (from left) Jake Ryder, Garrett Olsen and Andy Kuklock.
(Courtesy of Andy Kuklock)

From a rebrand and a renovation to Easter dining to new faces on the La Jolla business scene, here’s a look at what’s new:

Passion Tree hard seltzer has La Jolla ties

Though it was released at the height of the popularity of hard seltzer (carbonated water with alcohol and fruit flavorings), Passion Tree hard seltzer looks to be a little different.

La Jolla resident Andy Kuklock helped launch the drink last year, and it is available at Ralphs supermarkets and select liquor stores.

Kuklock said Passion Tree is different from competitors in its 5.5 percent alcohol content, natural flavorings and less carbonation.

“Ours is cold-brewed from sugarcane to create the alcohol, which is the cleanest way to brew the seltzer with premium flavoring,” he said. “So it tastes smooth and natural, with no artificial or chemical aftertaste.”

The company also partners with environmental agencies to plant a tree for every case sold.

“This year we’re expanding the concept and localizing it as well,” Kuklock said. “We’re excited about that. We want to give back.”

Learn more at

La Jolla Vons to become Pavilions

Preparation is underway at La Jolla’s Vons supermarket at 7544 Girard Ave. to convert it to a more upscale Pavilions. A timeline for the switch is not yet available.

A spokeswoman for the company said it is waiting on permit approval to begin the change. “We have some planned improvements to the La Jolla store ... to convert the store to the Pavilions banner,” said Courtney Carranza, director of communications and public affairs for the Southern California division of Vons.

“The Pavilions stores are similar to Vons but are more upscale,” Carranza said. “We will feature an expanded selection of organic produce, butcher block featuring wagyu beef and dry-aged beef, a wine cellar and a specialty cheese selection.”

Vons and Pavilions are owned by the Albertsons Cos. of grocery stores. Learn more at

La Jolla venues offer Easter dining options

The La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla will serve a prix-fixe Easter menu on Sunday, April 17.
The La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla will serve a prix-fixe Easter menu on Sunday, April 17.

Several La Jolla restaurants will be hopping with dining specials Easter weekend (Easter is Sunday, April 17).

Here are some options. Reservations are recommended.

La Valencia Hotel: The “Pink Lady” will serve a prix-fixe Easter menu from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. April 17. $99 for adults, $45 for children. 1311 Prospect St. (855) 476-6870.

The Marine Room: The oceanfront restaurant will serve a prix-fixe Easter jazz brunch with live music from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 17. Dishes will include crab cake Benedict, a seafood bar on ice, a carving station with ham, prime rib and leg of lamb, plus desserts. $175 for adults, $60 for children ages 6-12. 2000 Spindrift Drive. (858) 459-7222.

The Shores Restaurant: The Shores will serve an a la carte Easter brunch menu from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 17. Dishes will include lobster Benedict, bananas foster French toast and Atlantic salmon with orzo and dill champagne butter sauce. 8110 Camino del Oro. (858) 456-0600. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Grande Colonial names new general manager

Kim Avant has been appointed general manager of La Jolla’s Grande Colonial hotel and its Nine-Ten restaurant.

Avant has full operational and directional responsibilities for the hotel, including financial operations, rooms and related services, sales and marketing, and development of the company’s policies and staff, as well as management of all food and beverage operations for Nine-Ten.

Kim Avant is the new general manager of the Grande Colonial hotel.
(Courtesy of Grande Colonial )

The Rancho Bernardo resident has been part of the Grande Colonial team since 2010.

Under her watch, the hotel, at 910 Prospect St., is slated to undergo a complete renovation of its meeting and event spaces. Learn more at

Mendocino Farms rebrands, including La Jolla location

At the start of the year, Mendocino Farms (formerly Mendocino Farms Sandwich Market), rebranded with a new name and a new focus on salads and bowls.

With the rebranding, Mendocino Farms plans to rotate in new menu items every six to eight weeks and expand to add up to 13 new locations in 2022. The La Jolla location is at 8795 Villa La Jolla Drive.

“Our new brand identity reflects our future as a leader in the fast-casual space, especially as we introduce ourselves to guests in new markets,” said Kevin Miles, chief executive of Mendocino Farms.

Learn more at

Enclave Cafe opens with ‘food as medicine’ approach

Enclave Cafe, which focuses on “food as medicine,” opened what it calls the La Jolla HQ at the One La Jolla Center office building at 4655 Executive Drive in March.

Offerings include grab ‘n’ go breakfasts; lunch that includes bowls, sandwiches and more; and coffee and pastries. The cafe is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

In coming months, the 120-seat location will extend its hours and expand its offerings to include a “medicinal happy hour featuring small bites and cocktails designed to cultivate social connections while prioritizing health,” according to a news release.

According to Enclave, the food-as-medicine philosophy involves serving food that includes “medicinal ingredients loaded with antioxidants and rich nutrients sourced directly from local and sustainable origins.”

Learn more at ◆