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Nighclub owner details plans to turn Jack’s into Mike’s La Jolla

Jack’s is going to be Mike’s.

La Jollan Mike Viscuso, a nightclub owner and restaurateur, who has ownership interest in On Broadway, belo and Deco’s nightclubs in downtown San Diego, said Friday he wrapped up lease negotiations for the former site of Jack’s La Jolla at 7863 Girard Ave. this week.

Viscuso said he intends to spend about $3 million over the next four months remodeling a portion of the building with an anticipated Halloween grand opening. Other changes also are on tap at the highly visible spot in the heart of the Village that’s been empty since Jack’s closed suddenly last July.

The new establishment has been rechristened Mike’s La Jolla.

Asked why that name, Viscuso replied: “Harry’s has been here 50 years. George’s is an institution. There’s a Sammy’s and a Jose’s. I thought, ‘Why don’t we call it Mike’s?’ ”

La Jolla entrepreneur Peter Wagener applauded the news that Jack’s, which closed abruptly nearly a year ago, has been sold and is being redeveloped.

“I think it’s really great,” he said. “We’re glad to see that blind spot is gone.”

The deal to acquire the former Jack’s site has been in the works for some time.

“It’s been over a year and a half and I’d originally been working with the previous owner, Bill Berkley, who had some problems and closed,” Viscuso said. “Then I was talking to one of the brokers and the bank that had the master lease went under. Last week I signed a 20-year lease with the new bank that acquired the site for a little over 18,000 square feet of space in 55 percent of the building.”

The portion of the multi-level site Viscuso is remodeling includes the coffee shop on Girard Avenue, the entire second floor and mezzanine level and the entire 3rd floor.

“I’m going to have two casual dining concepts and a fine dining concept with an entertainment element,” he said.

Viscuso said his reinvented coffee shop will appeal to tourists serving items under $5 — pizzas by the slice, jumbo hot dogs, breakfast burritos, homemade muffins and cookies, churros and pretzels.

Dining on the second floor and part of the third floor will be open 6 or 7 days for lunch through happy hour.

“It will be more casual dining and all entrees will be between $10 and $15,” said Viscuso.

He added his fine dining concept will feature steaks, seafood and pastas.

“I’m bringing my executive chef who has been with me more than 20 years, Angel Guzman,” said Viscuso adding there will also be a piano bar offering jazz entertainment, as well as “more high-energy-type” music and entertainment in a full-service nightclub with bottle service on the third floor open until 10:30 p.m.

Elsewhere in the building, Viscuso said Let’s Go is moving out and a Panera Bread bakery is moving in. He said there are plans, not yet complete, to revamp the rest of the building’s retail space with such possibilities as a spa and an art shop with a wine and cheese bar.

“That whole corner is going to be completely renovated with a new face and new businesses and it’s going to create some nice synergy for the heart of La Jolla and I’m just happy to be a part of it,” he said.

“It’s just a wonderful space — it flows,” noted Viscuso, adding the space he’s remodeling will also include his corporate headquarters relocated from downtown. “It’s going to be my flagship property out of all my venues,” he said.