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Pannikin La Jolla plans going-away party April 9 before closing Girard Avenue location

Just days before its Girard Avenue location closes, Pannikin La Jolla's tea menu was thinning out April 7.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Unable to find an 11th-hour solution that would let it stay in its decades-long location, Pannikin La Jolla plans to mark its last weekend at 7467 Girard Ave. with an all-day event Saturday, April 9, featuring music and more. Final details are still in the works.

Amanda Morrow, who operates the cafe with Gloria Serna and Dan Grunow, received 30 days’ notice of lease termination in mid-March, which set Pannikin’s last day for April 9.

But Morrow, who bought the cafe in 2007 after working there for years, told the La Jolla Light on April 7 that the establishment likely would remain open through the weekend and then close.

Morrow said she has been looking to reopen Pannikin somewhere else in The Village, though nothing is definite.

The closure comes after lease renegotiations with the property owner, which began in December, failed to reach an agreement.

The property is owned by the Clem Abrams Trust. Abrams was a La Jolla developer who died in December 2018. His wife, Lydia “Dia” Abrams, went missing in June 2020 from her 117-acre ranch near Idyllwild in the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County and has not been found.

Abrams’ trust is administered by his daughter, Crisara Abrams. Her brother, Clinton, told the Light in March that he disagreed with Crisara’s decision to evict Pannikin.

As Pannikin prepares to brew its last latte at its decades-old Girard Avenue location in La Jolla, family members of the landlord are lending their voices to the growing community alarm over the possibility of losing the popular cafe.

“It’s an outrage,” Clinton Abrams said. “I want the Pannikin to stay. It is an absolutely critical part of La Jolla. It is iconic.”

Neither Crisara nor her attorney, Janet Gertz, have responded to requests for comment.

Bob Sinclair opened the original Pannikin Coffee & Tea in 1968 in one of the Green Dragon Colony cottages.

Pannikin moved to the Girard Avenue location in 1971. Sinclair also opened other Pannikin locations that either have closed or have different owners now.

Morrow had hoped in the days after receiving the lease termination notice that a solution could be reached to allow Pannikin to stay.

The news of the termination raised alarm among many community members, hundreds of whom have pitched in to help via a GoFundMe account set up by longtime local resident and La Jolla Town Council President James Rudolph.

As of April 7, the GoFundMe account (bit.ly/PannikinDonations) had raised more than $42,000 “to assist in the search for a new location.”

Rudolph told the Light that the money would be given to Pannikin “as soon as they know for sure they won’t be able to stay.” ◆

Updates

3:49 p.m. May 27, 2022: A representative of the Clem Abrams Trust issued a statement saying that “Crisara Abrams is the sole trustee of the Clem Abrams Trust. ... Previously it was reported incorrectly that the Clem Abrams Trust is administered by Clem Abrams’ children, Clinton and Crisara Abrams.” This article has been updated to reflect that.