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Pannikin La Jolla’s longtime run ends as popular cafe will assume a new identity a block away

Pannikin La Jolla packed up its pots and patio furniture April 25, having closed at 7467 Girard Ave. the day before.
Pannikin La Jolla packed up its pots and patio furniture April 25, having shut down at 7467 Girard Ave. the day before. Owner Amanda Morrow plans to open a new cafe under a new name at 7530 Fay Ave., the former site of Rubio’s Coastal Grill. The name of Pannikin La Jolla’s Instagram page was briefly changed April 25 to Flower Pot Cafe and Bakery.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

It’s the end of Pannikin as La Jollans have known it for decades, as the venerable cafe ended its stay at 7467 Girard Ave. on April 24.

However, Pannikin La Jolla owner Amanda Morrow said she will “soon” open a new establishment under a new name about a block away at 7530 Fay Ave., the former site of Rubio’s Coastal Grill.

She would not provide details about the new cafe, but the name of Pannikin La Jolla’s Instagram page was briefly changed April 25 to Flower Pot Cafe and Bakery.

Longtime La Jollan and Pannikin supporter Christopher Canole, who said he has visited the cafe almost daily since Bob Sinclair opened the original Pannikin Coffee & Tea on Prospect Street in 1968, said the new location will open as early as Wednesday, June 1.

Until then, Canole said, Morrow will be serving coffee, espresso drinks and pastries at The Lot La Jolla on Fay Avenue.

Pannikin had been in the Girard Avenue location since 1971, and Morrow bought it in 2007 after working there for years. She has operated as Butch Coffee Inc., using the Pannikin name under license from the owner of the brand, PCT&S Inc.

Morrow, who operated Pannikin with Gloria Serna and Dan Grunow, received 30 days’ notice of lease termination in mid-March from the Clem Abrams Trust, which owns the Girard property.

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 in the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County and has not been found.

Abrams’ trust is administered by his daughter, Crisara Abrams. Crisara has been making decisions regarding the Pannikin property, her brother, Clinton Abrams, told the La Jolla Light in March, and Morrow and the landlord were unable to agree on new lease terms, according to Morrow, who called the situation “heartbreaking.”

Clinton said he disagreed with the decision to evict Pannikin, calling it “an outrage.”

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

Pannikin packs up to leave its decades-long location at 7467 Girard Ave. on April 25.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

In a statement to the Light on April 25, Morrow said “the business relationship between Clem Abrams Trust and Butch Coffee Inc. will conclude on April 30. Private-party lease matters will remain private as the two entities move forward separately with new endeavors.”

She said “Butch Coffee is grateful for the La Jolla neighbors, residents and visitors who have been integral to their success and looks forward to serving them again.”

“The Clem Abrams Trust has appreciated this business relationship, initially with the original owners of the Pannikin brand and more recently with Butch Coffee Inc., and wishes the Butch Coffee team many years of continued success in a new home,” Morrow’s statement continued.

Morrow said she will no longer be affiliated with the Pannikin brand as she moves to the new location.

Ownership of the former Pannikin La Jolla will open a cafe under a new name at the former Rubio's location at 7530 Fay Ave.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The news of the lease 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 25, the GoFundMe account (bit.ly/PannikinDonations) had raised more than $80,000 “to assist in the search for a new location.”

Some $30,000 of that amount came from a single anonymous donation April 17, Rudolph said.

Rudolph told the Light that the money will be given to the cafe “when they request it.” ◆

Updates

3:45 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.

6:38 p.m. April 25, 2022: This article was updated with the name of Pannikin La Jolla’s Instagram page being changed to Flower Pot Cafe and Bakery.