La Jolla Business Roundup: Renovations, ribbon cuttings and more welcome new enterprises to La Jolla

The Lobster West team cuts the ribbon on its new location at 1237 Prospect St. in La Jolla.
(Courtesy of J. Dixx Photography)

Just in time for summer, La Jolla’s latest business offerings include new places to eat, buy swimwear, get a haircut and more. Here’s a look at what has opened recently.

Lobster West

After a quiet opening in early May, Lobster West cut the ribbon on its new La Jolla location May 19, specializing in Maine lobster sandwiches. The spot at 1237 Prospect St. joins other locations in Encinitas and Coronado.

“My family is from New Jersey and would vacation up the East Coast. Seafood was always one of our nostalgic items from that time,” said owner and President Chad Taggart. “When we came here 15 years ago, we figured it was the one thing that wasn’t on every corner.”

The first Lobster West opened in Encinitas in 2013, and Coronado followed in 2016. Taggart used the same lobster supplier that entire time.

“It’s all about the sourcing for us and keeping up with the quality we expect,” he said. “What’s important to us as a family business is having a good, fun environment for people to come in and offering a simple sandwich.”

La Jolla was chosen for the third location because of its “community feel” and mix of tourists. “It’s a gorgeous town by the coast, and when people are by the coast they want seafood. It has the right energy,” Taggart said.

Lobster West also serves crab and shrimp sandwiches, and all can be served in different sizes and/or with sides.

Learn more at

Java Earth Coffee

With a grand opening planned for 11 a.m. Saturday, June 4, Java Earth Coffee will open its second San Diego location at 1030 Torrey Pines Road.

“La Jolla has been home to our family since 2003. Now, with the opening of the new Java Earth Coffee, we can’t wait to become even more involved in the community that’s so special to us,” said co-owner Debbie Artenstein. “We’re more than a coffee shop, we’re also a lifestyle promoting a relaxed, laid-back endless summer that’s ideal for the coastal community.”

In addition to coffeehouse staples such as drip coffee, espresso-based drinks, lattes (including the lavender latte) and mochas, Java Earth serves breakfast favorites such as burritos, bagels, specialty toasts, bowls and more. For lunch, there are smoothies, salads, sandwiches and other offerings.

The original location has been operating in north Pacific Beach since 2010.

Learn more at

The Kingly Hair Group Salon

Tucked away in the Windemere La Jolla complex, The Kingly Hair Group Salon opened at 6435 Caminito Blythefield on March 1. Run by husband-and-wife team Mike and Karen Varela, the salon offers “technical haircutting” and color services.

Mike Varela is a former educator at the Vidal Sassoon Academy but left in 2013 to start his own salon in North Park.

“The struggle with most stylists is inconsistency, and our goal has always been to provide the highest technical work on a consistent basis,” he said. “We always want the clients to leave feeling like they got more than they paid for.”

“A lot of people have a misconception of what haircuts are about,” Varela added. “The result of our work is not what it looks like when you are done with the styling; the result is how it looks when the client showers and maybe blow-dries their hair. When you put the structure into what you want it to be, you don’t have to style it to make it look good. It’s more than the cutting, there is architecture. ... It’s like a master tailor for your clothes — they know how to make something that will work for you.”

Varela said La Jolla is “what we’re all about” in that the salon “has always been more fashion-forward and La Jolla is where we wanted to be. [It] fits our aesthetic as a company — beauty, fashion, refinement and elegance.”

The salon currently is open by appointment only. For an appointment, call (619) 677-9766. To learn more, visit

Mediterranean Room

The Mediterranean Room was renovated as part of the La Valencia Hotel’s 95th anniversary.
(Courtesy of Robert Benson)

The Mediterranean Room (formerly The Med) and Patio Sol underwent a renovation as part of the La Valencia Hotel’s 95th anniversary and are now open to the public at 1132 Prospect St.

The space boasts a new Mediterranean-inspired design that “marries La Valencia’s nostalgic ambiance and original design details with modern comforts that enhance the transportive ocean views,” according to hotel management. “Patio Sol, along buzzy Prospect Street, has been transformed with expanded patio dining and a new lounge experience, including an outdoor bar serving the hotel’s signature cocktails,” plus a new menu.

“It was the perfect time to reintroduce our signature restaurant, the Mediterranean Room, as the hotel celebrates its 95th anniversary,” said La Valencia General Manager Summer Shoemaker. “The design brings attention to the ocean views our community knows and loves, and the elevated ‘patio under the palms’ has already become a guest favorite.”

Learn more at

Beach Bunny

Beach Bunny swimwear opened in the Westfield UTC shopping center on May 7 at 4545 La Jolla Village Drive. Specializing in bikinis, Beach Bunny pieces are “unique in applications, fabrications and hardware,” according to Angela Chittenden, owner of the UTC location.

“The Beach Bunny aesthetic is the fun-loving individual who likes to spend time making a statement in bikinis, whether it’s on the beautiful beaches of California or jet-setting around the world,” she said.

Chittenden said Beach Bunny is a “resort lifestyle boutique” that also carries beach bags, sunscreen, jewelry and ready-to-wear outfits for a night out.

She said UTC was chosen for San Diego County’s first and only Beach Bunny because of its reputation as an “outdoor lifestyle retail destination that prioritizes first-to-market brands.”

Learn more at

Do you have news about a La Jolla business? Please email Ashley Mackin-Solomon at ◆