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Other recent closings: Rock-n-Fit, Masala, Boston Bill's, Barolo, Acapulco, JAC Asian Cuisine. And what's up with Lovey's Tea Shop? We are informed that it is on spring break for the entire month of April.
Keith Bailey, left, and Surf Spot co-owner Derek Burns in the kitchen of the Pacifica eatery. (photo by Lori Eanes for The Wall Street Journal)
Built into a mountainside [Editor's Note: Rockaway Headland is not exactly a mountain, but I guess it looks like one to a New York newspaper reporter] along the ocean in Pacifica, Surf Spot keeps patrons coming back for its ahi tuna poke and pizza—along with a round of beach volleyball.
Chef and co-owner Derek Burns, 48, opened the restaurant with two partners last June with the hopes of combining his tastes for seasonal and global cuisine with a casual surf-culture atmosphere for locals and tourists.
Surf Spot offers "food [that] vacations are made of," says Mr. Burns, who adds that the menu was inspired by his travels in the South Pacific, Europe, and Latin America. "We wanted safe food for kids, like hamburgers and pizza, while giving the adventurer something new to try."
The menu features dishes including $7 Vietnamese-inspired sweet chili-glazed chicken wings and a $12 ahi tuna poke, a kind of raw salad popular in Hawaii. A local favorite is the $12 Ballpark Pizza, made with a beef hot dog, sauerkraut, onion, and mustard sauce.
In the back, the restaurant offers beach volleyball, hula hoops, and beach blankets.
Marlyn Hansen, 37, who brought her Pacifica family to Surf Spot for the second time recently, had a $9 pulled-pork sandwich while her children, ages 8 and 5, enjoyed a $9 cheese pizza. "The atmosphere is like a beach lounge. We hang out around the fire pit while giving the kids a safe place to play," she says.
Surf Spot is at 4627 Coast Highway in Pacifica [in front of Sea Bowl]. It serves lunch Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(from an item by Sharon Massey in The Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2013)
Shopping for groceries can be one of the more mundane aspects of existence, so why not enjoy the experience—celebrate the pleasures of good food and good eating.
That's why I seek out grocery stores like Oceana in Eureka Square, Pacifica Farmer's Market in Manor, Sun Valley Market in Park Mall, and Coastside Farmer's Market in Rockaway (in season).
I did try Fresh & Easy a couple of times when it first opened but didn't like its nonunion hiring policy, and frankly it didn't offer anything special except low prices. So when I heard Fresh & Easy was closing, I wasn't too surprised or unhappy.
Check out the online chatter about the fate of Fresh & Easy. Will Walmart, Whole Foods, or Trader Joe's move in? I honestly don't care, because I am sticking with my hometown favorites. They offer much of the variety and fun of a Trader Joe's, plus friendly local service (and tax revenue for our city).
So if you want to save some time and gas, don't drive over the hill and don't mourn Fresh & Easy closing, just try Oceana, Farmer's, and Sun Valley, and make your grocery shopping fun again. SHOP LOCALLY!
It was a Chevron service station a long time ago. Now the lot at 1055 Terra Nova in front of Park Mall and next door to Sanchez Library is for sale, our source says. The asking price is $650,000, according to the source.
To go with Lionel's recent op-ed here on Riptide about the Chamber of Commerce, click the link below for a copy of the chamber's 2010 IRS tax return, the latest available online at Guidestar. (The chamber usually has filed its tax returns in the fall, so the 2011 copy isn't available online yet.)
The bottom line is that in 2010 the chamber lost $68,451 (Line 18), almost half of its total assets as of the start of 2010. It also had a loss in the previous two years, although it was much smaller: $19,499 in 2009 and $11,747 in 2008. It will be interesting to get the 2011 numbers and see if the losses continue. But if the chamber is still losing that much money, it could explain why it is increasing its fees, although I think that may backfire if a lot of people drop their membership.
The Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, in a stunning departure from its longtime policy, has decided to exclude non-chamber members from its printed directory. In sending out notices of renewal to members, this change was first on the list:
"ONLY Chamber members whose dues are current will have the opportunity to advertise in our annual keepsake, the 2013-2014 Business Directory."
The policy of inclusion of any business wishing to have a listing or an advertisement in the directory goes back to at least 1980, according to Jean Headley of Headley Office Services, who joined the chamber in that year.
But that's not all, at least in terms of shocking changes for chamber members. Membership rates have skyrocketed, with one member telling this writer of a dues change from $160 last year to $295 this year! Others have reported increases of 50 percent from last year's rates. The notice of increase sent to members has the reassuring question:
"IN 'STICKER SHOCK' OVER YOUR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP DUES INVOICE? That was never our intention. The good news is we've changed the structure of your annual membership dues by adding more features which increase the value of being a Pacifica Chamber Member."
The notice then goes on to note various technological "improvements" to one's business visibility: (1) six-line listing in the directory, (2) listing in a mobile iPhone app, (3) uploading of photos, video, and customer testimonials to the chamber's website, (4) e-newsletter sent to members, (5) the chamber's employing a PR firm, which will supposedly drive more traffic to one's business website.
The chamber places the collective "value" of these items at $1,000. Pretty reassuring to a struggling local business facing a 50 percent to 100 percent increase in its chamber membership, eh?
The irony of all this is that some businesses have passed this by long ago and already get their new customers online with no assistance from the chamber. This writer's business has gotten almost all new business references from Internet searches,
The chamber directory, which used to be the local bible of buying, has not been the source of much of anything in terms of referrals in recent years. And full disclosure here: I haven't been a chamber member for years, having not seen any good reason to join.
One of the stated goals of our newly inspired chamber is "Endorsing political action." The chamber has taken some pretty bizarre positions in recent years, including its breathless endorsement of Pacifica's very high garbage collection rates, which are being inflicted upon the smallest commercial base of any city in the county.
How that can be considered "representing the interests of business with government" (the chamber's words) will have to be left to the reader's imagination.
The chamber also has enthusiastically endorsed the proposed six-lane widening of Highway 1 between Vallemar and Rockaway, which would create the only such six-lane stretch of Highway 1 in the state of California.
And then there's the chamber's entry into the local political world. On the invoice for payment by local businesses entering the brave new world of chamber membership is a "voluntary" $39 contribution to something called "BacPac," a political action committee (PAC).
On the California Secretary of State website, our chamber's PAC is called "Pacifica Chamber Of Commerce Business And Community Political Action Committee (PACPAC). There are no filings or contributions as of yet, and this appears to be new. Whether it's BACPAC or PACPAC, the chamber seeks to extract from members a contribution, as evidenced by the new billing invoice.
Perhaps politics should be left to the people and their government. Or perhaps a business organization such as the chamber of commerce should actually be in touch with its members to know their opinions. It seems that neither one is what's going on at present.