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    Saska’s, an iconic Mission Beach steakhouse, reopens Feb. 23
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 17, 2017 | 11059 views | 1 1 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    'The Original' entree featuring filet mignon and lobster tail.
    'The Original' entree featuring filet mignon and lobster tail.
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    Sold in summer of 2015 and closed for renovations since last fall, Saska's Steak & Seafood is returning with an updated design and menu – but the same classic feel. Now called Saska’s, the popular family-run Mission Beach eatery, which opened in 1951, is set to reopen Feb. 23. Saska's has been meticulously restored by The Patio Restaurant Group, which also owns The Patio on Lamont, The Patio on Goldfinch, Fireside by The Patio, The Swell Cafe, Surf Rider Pizza Co. and Bao Beach. One of San Diego’s oldest steakhouses, the game plan in revitalizing Saska's was for it “to remain a staunchly traditional, unflinchingly classical steakhouse of yore,” according to The Patio Group. With Saska’s grand reopening, The Patio Group aims to “move forward by looking back to the past.” Branded as “San Diego’s Original Steakhouse,” Saska's will showcase a sleek, refined interior with an intimate setting that harkens back to the good ole days, embracing originality over novelty, and timelessness over fleeting fads. “Saska’s is one of my favorite restaurants in San Diego. I’ve been a regular for more than 20 years,” said Patio Restaurant Group owner/CEO Gina Champion-Cain. “Restoring the long-standing restaurant to its former glory is a dream come true, and a passion project brought to life.” Champion-Cain also operates Luv San Diego Surf and is CEO of Luv Surf Brands, LLC, a San Diego-based lifestyle brand for real estate, hospitality and branded merchandise. Saska’s new menu is a take-off from the classic menu of the ’60s and ’70s. It includes Shrimp Louie salad, creamed spinach, various cuts of steak, and a wide variety of seafood including grilled salmon and Alaskan king crab legs. Customers will also be able to choose from a number of other traditional menu favorites such as a half-pound cheeseburger, fettucine alfredo, briased short rib and teriyaki marinated chicken breast. Sides and desserts showcase ice cream, cheesecake, mud pies, chocolate cake and seasonal pies. “We’re not trying to emulate a classic American steakhouse,” said restaurant general manager Ryan Rohrbacker. “We are a classic American steakhouse that’s going back to our roots and sticking to what we do best.” By highlighting their protein-centric dishes, including signature cuts such as “The Duke” sirloin and “The Original” filet mignon, Rohrbacker noted Saska’s is aiming to put the “steak” back in “steakhouse.” Executive chef Michael Ground is enhancing Saska’s storied meat program. “A steakhouse isn’t rocket science,” Ground noted. “It’s really about taking the best cuts of a cow and preparing them simply to elevate their quality.” The chef said all of Saska's steaks are hand-cut daily to ensure consistent quality and grilled over an open flame for an optimal sear. Saska’s drinks program too is classically -inspired, offering crowd pleasers such as the Old-Fashioned, the Whiskey Sour, and the Last Word. Joe Saska and his wife opened the family owned and operated the restaurant at 3768 Mission Blvd. in 1951. When Saska died, the business was handed down to son Mike. After Mike died of a heart condition, the business was transferred to brothers and sisters Tommy, Mary and Jimmy. Saska’s transferred ownership on Aug. 10, 2015 to The Patio Group. At that time, Champion-Cain noted Saska's fit into her company's plans on “expanding our brand and our neighborhood-centric eateries along with our coffee and surf shops and our gourmet food store.” Champion-Cain said Saska's fit into her plans incorporating “a hospitality theme catering to the local neighbors.” Saska’s will provide dinner service daily, with brunch offered during the weekends.
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    Hockeyjockey
    |
    February 18, 2017
    This was where I had my very first Lobster meal back in the day. My parents were from the East Coast and they were so Happy to eat at a place that reminded them of home.

    Wonderful news that the Owners see the value in restoring to the Past.

    On my to do list the next time I am in

    San Diego!
    Albion Pros soccer ready to kickoff season at Mission Bay High
    by DAVE THOMAS
    Feb 09, 2017 | 13883 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Albion Pros supporters, called The Deep End, at Mission Bay High School. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
    Albion Pros supporters, called The Deep End, at Mission Bay High School. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
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    Are you ready for some exciting soccer action in your neighborhood? If so, you don’t have to go too far. The Albion Pros will return to Mission Bay High School Stadium for their home games this season. Finishing 16-4-1 last season, Albion will lean on a roster this season that includes the talents of of Jose Merlo, Ricky Mckenzie, David Luquen, and many others. Albion looks to continue to set the standard in the league, moving its training facility to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista as well as bringing in UFC Gym as its sports performance partner. The 2017 team consists of the foundation that was responsible for the success in 2016, as well as several additions in key positions, that will be prepared for the pre-season home opener (5 p.m. Feb. 11, Mission Bay Stadium) vs. East Bay FC Stompers. Albion’s first league game is March 11 vs. Oxnard; and the U.S. Open Cup is in May. In late January, the team hosted its 2017 launch party at Primos Public Corner near Qualcomm Stadium. The event was held to allow returning fans (and new ones to the team) to learn more about the upcoming season. This Saturday’s pre-season home opener will provide fans the opportunity to learn more about the team, its coaching staff, and check out the team’s new uniforms. According to Albion director of operations, Tim Reintgen, “This pre-season’s schedule is full of high-caliber matches, with our NPSL playoff rival East Bay FC Stompers on Feb. 11, and Phoenix Rising from the USL on Feb. 25, all leading up to our league home opener March 11. Those two matches will set the tone for the new season, with a commitment to success and a style of play that will entertain the fans.” As Reintgen also pointed out, Albion’s commitment to success involves myriad of things. “We will continue to set the standard in the NPSL, with state-of-the-art facilities, sports performance, and the integration of our youth academy, providing a pathway for them to play professional soccer,” Reintgen added. “Everyone, from players, to coaches and front end, is 120 percent committed to excellence, and together, we are aiming for a run for the national championship and the U.S. Open Cup. We play for San Diego, we play to be champions.” 
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    Pacific Beach has No. 3 most dangerous intersection in San Diego
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 07, 2017 | 9721 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The problematic intersection at Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue was No. 3 on the list and has been the site of 16 total collisions with 17 serious injuries recorded between 2001-2015, according to Circulate San Diego. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    The problematic intersection at Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue was No. 3 on the list and has been the site of 16 total collisions with 17 serious injuries recorded between 2001-2015, according to Circulate San Diego. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Pacific Beach made Circulate San Diego's “The Fatal Fifteen” list of most dangerous intersections for pedestrians. The problematic intersection at Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue was No. 3 on the list and has been the site of 16 total collisions with 17 serious injuries recorded between 2001-2015, according to Circulate San Diego. The only two intersections ranked more deadly on the list – University Avenue and Marlborough Avenue, and University Avenue and 52nd Street. City spokesperson Anthony Santacroce said plans are in the works to improve Pacific Beach's busy intersection at Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue. “We'll be installing accessible pedestrian push buttons there, which are audible signals to go along with the visual signals already there to warn pedestrians and tell them what to do,” Santacroce said. “That adds another layer of instruction and safety to the already visual signals you find in your normal crosswalk.” Santacroce noted, in addition to the new high-tech pedestrian push buttons, that the city will also be “upgrading street lighting to LED lighting at that intersection,” which, he added, will give brighter and more clear lighting to that part of the street. Santacroce was uncertain exactly how soon improvements at the intersection will be made, other than to say it's a “high priority.” Pacific Beach civic leaders and residents reacted to the news that their beach community has one of the city's top three most lethal intersections. Sara Berns, executive director of Discover Pacific Beach, noted the community's business improvement district, as well as other community leaders, have been working with the efforts of Vision Zero to address pedestrian safety on Garnet Avenue, one of the six most dangerous corridors in San Diego regarding pedestrian vs. vehicle fatalities. “Vision Zero is a collaborative citywide effort to bring that fatality number down to zero,” Berns said. “Local efforts include a vision for Garnet Avenue to include a consistent visual crosswalk plan along the entire street that includes the scramble crossing at Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue. Unfortunately, that effort has been denied by the City because of the impediment to traffic. “We believe we need to start looking at Garnet Avenue as less car-centric, and more of a complete street, which gives equal opportunity for safety and travel to the pedestrian, bicyclist and car. We have a great community of diverse mobility here in Pacific Beach already with bikes, skateboards, walkers and cars and that needs to be recognized,” Berns said. Long-time Pacific Beach Planning Board member Chris Olson said he would like to see San Diego successfully implement a “pedestrian scramble” like the one done by Vision Zero in Los Angeles. Information on that is available at visionzero.lacity.org. Mike Beltran, chair of Pacific Beach Planning Group's Traffic, Parking and Streets Subcommittee, gave his take on why Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue is so bad. Beltran noted that “at Garnett and Mission you have pedestrians wanting to go west to the beach, east to the shopping on Garnett and all directions for food and beverages. The lights going east and west have no turn signals, so vehicles have to wait for pedestrians to cross before making those turns, and by the time the cross walks are clear, the lights start to turn causing drivers to speed through the intersection.” Beltran offered a possible solution previously tried successfully elsewhere. “My idea to fix this intersection is to create a pedestrian scramble similar to the one found in downtown San Diego at the intersection of Market and 5th,” he said. “This allows pedestrians to cross diagonally as well so the intersection can be cleared more quickly and vehicle traffic can carry on. It is my goal as the chair of the Traffic, Parking and Streets Subcommittee to bring this issue up and run it through the main board at our next meeting (Feb. 22).” Noting that 60 percent of pedestrian crashes in San Diego occur at intersections, often the same ones time and again, a report released last year by the Office of the City Auditor found that, “Many intersections with the highest rates of crashes, injuries and fatalities have not been modernized to improve pedestrian safety and generally continue to experience crashes.” In response, Circulate San Diego and its coalition of partner organizations is launching “The Fatal Fifteen,” an initiative to urge the city to fund safe and affordable infrastructure at the 15 most dangerous intersections in the city. Circulate San Diego is a regional grassroots organization formed through the merger of Move San Diego and WalkSanDiego, leading organizations dedicated to advancing mobility and making the region a better place to live, work, learn and play. Circulate's work focuses on creating great mobility choices, more walkable and bike able neighborhoods and land uses that promote sustainable growth.
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    Pacific Beach leaders initiate program to keep community clean and safe
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 03, 2017 | 14175 views | 2 2 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    District 2 Councilperson Lorie Zapf and Discover PB executive director Sara Berns hold up the novelty check at the Feb. 3 press conference in Pacific Beach. / Photo by Dave Schwab
    District 2 Councilperson Lorie Zapf and Discover PB executive director Sara Berns hold up the novelty check at the Feb. 3 press conference in Pacific Beach. / Photo by Dave Schwab
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    Public officials, businesses and residents collectively launched a clean and safe program to remove trash in Pacific Beach and make the community safer, while offering the homeless a hand up at a Feb. 3 press conference outside Moonshine Beach on Garnet Avenue. District 2 Councilperson Lorie Zapf hailed the efforts of Discover PB, the community's business improvement district, which took the lead, along with civic leaders, in inaugurating the clean and safe program. Zapf also made a contribution from her office, $20,000 in grant seed money for the new pilot program, presented in an oversized novelty check. In comments, Zapf alluded to an email she got from an East Coast police officer who said he and his family would no longer be coming to PB for vacations after a recent bad experience with rowdy partiers and panhandlers in the community. “We have to do something, we want them (tourists) to come back to this wonderful community,” Zapf said. “We are proposing a three-pronged approach that includes cleaning, security and homeless outreach,” said Discover PB's executive director, Sara Berns. “What we're proposing here is something that will change the entire community. The goal of our clean and safe program is to create upward mobility for the unhoused, creating opportunities for them.” Berns introduced hotelier Elvin Lai, Discover PB's vice president and owner of Ocean Park Inn. Lai said he's been seeking answers to making the community safer and cleaner after one of his patrons was hospitalized several years ago after an altercation with aggressive panhandlers. Goals of clean and safe include: • Sweeping and removing litter from sidewalks, right-of-ways, curbs and gutters in front of businesses; • Removing graffiti; • Emptying and maintaining trash receptacles; • Having roving street team members patrolling the community on foot and by bicycle looking to help curb public intoxication and other unacceptable behavior; and • Referring the unhoused to social services along with offering them employment opportunities. Acting Northern Division Capt. Tina Williams remarked that “public safety is a shared effort,” while adding clean and safe “is a fine example of San Diego Police Department partnering with the community down here at Pacific Beach.” Caryn Blanton, of PB Street Guardians, praised clean and safe for changing the community's focus on homelessness from “a soup kitchen concept” to a “potluck concept,” wherein everyone contributes as well as benefits from working together to combat social ills. Moonshine Beach owner Ty Hauter noted he deals with the homeless every day. He said he was pleased that “we're all working together to help those unhoused individuals tackle their situation.” Brian Curry, Pacific Beach Plan Group chair, said, “This is an absolutely exciting program.” Adding that “PB is forward planning,” Curry noted, “The homeless problem is significant and we want to help bring them into the fold by offering them opportunities.” Marcella Teran, a Pacific Beach Town Council member who heads up PB's Neighborhood Watch program, commented that the new pilot program will “present a more positive side to the homeless situation while bettering our community.”
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    Frank J
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    February 06, 2017
    This is good news and I hope it has a big effect. A couple of things came to mind. I walk much of Garnet and the boardwalk daily. In your goals I hope you talk to the businesses with litter in front of their shops. One that come to mind is a certain tattoo shop on the 1000 block whose artists stand out front all day smoking and throwing butts around the palm tree out front. And why did it take 8 days to clean the 3" sand off the boardwalk after the 3 storms. We all knew the weather would be fine for 2 weeks after? And how about the loose asphalt along the sidewalks on Garnet where the water department dug. Still ugly after 6 months. Anyhow my pet peeves for now & I'll stop by the Discover PB office. Thank You.
    Pat J
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    February 06, 2017
    I've never heard back from Zapf or her office any of the handful of times I've contacted them. Good to know that she listens to tourists but not constituents.
    Groundbreaking ceremony for Plunge pool rebuild at Belmont Park
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Feb 03, 2017 | 3766 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Construction crews start razing the existing facade of the Plunge swimming pool after the ceremony. / Photo by Dave Schwab
    Construction crews start razing the existing facade of the Plunge swimming pool after the ceremony. / Photo by Dave Schwab
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    The artist's rendering of the Plunge pool.
    The artist's rendering of the Plunge pool.
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    Elected officials, stakeholders and nearly 100 Mission Beach residents paid homage to a local landmark, a fallen hero and a public-private partnership, during a Jan. 30 groundbreaking ceremony kicking-off restoration of Belmont Park's historic Plunge swimming pool. The event included a plaque unveiling dedicated to Maruta Gardner, a Mission Beach educator tragically killed in 2016 by an intoxicated driver while painting out graffiti near the Mission Beach jetty. “Maruta was involved in every aspect of the Mission Beach community – she embodied public service,” said Phylicia Cicalo-Aiken, Mission Beach Women’s Club president. “The plaque will stand as a testament honoring her work and commitment to our community for future generations and serve as a reminder of her love for Mission Beach.” In remarks before sledgehammer-wielding construction crews and heavy equipment began toppling the existing building, Mayor Kevin Faulconer talked about its significance. He noted San Diego pioneering developer John D. Spreckels created the Plunge swimming pool as the centerpiece of Belmont Park in 1925. “It was the largest saltwater pool in the world,” said Faulconer, adding Spreckels “generously donated it to the city” after his death. Pointing out the storied pool was “in desperate need of repairs,” Faulconer praised developer Pacifica Enterprises for “turning Belmont Park into a world-class destination. Restoring the Plunge is going to continue that momentum.” Noting the Plunge's restoration is “a public-private partnership if there ever was one,” Faulconer said the partnership is “making sure the Plunge is restored the right way, at no cost to taxpayers.” After acquiring the lease to Belmont Park in 2012, Pacifica Enterprises and the City of San Diego negotiated a new lease in 2015 and entered into a partnership. Pacifica has committed to advance $5.2 million to rebuild the facility owned by the City. The company will recoup the $5.2 million through rent credits over the next seven to 10 years. Pacifica also has agreed to pay for any cost overruns, which have been significant. The total cost to rebuild the Plunge building is approximately $11 million. The facility is scheduled to reopen in early 2019. District 2 Councilmember Lorie Zapf gave kudos to Pacifica. “We have witnessed Pacifica’s commitment to restoring this community gem to its historical standards and creating a world-class facility for all to enjoy,” Zapf said. “The Plunge has been around nearly 100 years,” noted Mission Beach Town Council president Gary Wonacott. “Many of us who grew up in and around Mission Beach learned to swim at the Plunge. Our parents learned to swim there, our children learned to swim there and, in some cases, our grandchildren learned to swim there.” Pacifica Enterprises’ plans for the Plunge include the complete restoration of the historic swimming pool, along with reconstruction of the building that surrounds it. A brand new state-of-the-art fitness center will be created on the new building's second floor operated by the nationally-acclaimed Fit Athletic Club. Boasting a predominantly glass façade, Fit Plunge will integrate exterior light with interior coastal textures. The new building will feature a glass retractable-roof system. It will promote natural air circulation and prevent some of the deterioration issues that plagued the old building from moisture and saltwater, while incorporating some of the Spanish Renaissance architectural features seen throughout the park. “The Plunge has been closed and in dire need of a comprehensive revitalization for far too long,” said Dario De Luca, president/COO of Pacifica Enterprises. “We are confident the revitalized swimming pool, coupled with the new athletic center as the re-imagined and reconstructed Fit Plunge, will serve as a source of great pride for the Mission Beach community for generations to come.” Pacifica Enterprises and its construction contractor, Lusardi, began demolition of the old Plunge building in mid-January. Construction of the new building and fitness center, as well as the restoration of the Plunge swimming pool, is expected to begin later this year.
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