Manhattan Giant Pizza, Kealani’s set to close in Encinitas

Manhattan Giant Pizza, Kealani’s set to close in Encinitas
Two downtown Encinitas restaurant staples, Manhattan Giant Pizza and Kealani’s, will be closing later this month after new property owners took over the building on the corner of D and 2nd streets recently. Photo by Aaron Burgin

Correction: Due to a factually inaccurate information received by The Coast News, it was incorrectly reported that the new property owners were forcing the closure of the businesses. The previous owners issued the eviction notices. 

ENCINITAS — Two longtime eateries in downtown Encinitas are closing their doors on Oct. 26, as both are being forced to shut down by the previous property owners, representatives said.

Manhattan Giant Pizza and Kealani’s Hawaiian restaurant have both held their perch at the corner of D and 2nd streets for more than 20 years.

Recently, however, the building that houses all three businesses exchanged hands, and the new property owners issued 30-day eviction notices to the restaurants and a real estate business on the same block, said Jordan Bralla-Martin, longtime manager of Manhattan Giant.

Both restaurants will close Oct. 26, and they have to vacate the property by Nov 1.

“We weren’t given any recourse, it was ‘you’re gone and that’s it,’” Bralla-Martin said, who worked for the pizzeria for 13 years. “It’s pretty hard to swallow, we’ve got a great reputation in the community and have been here for 21 years, and all of the sudden, you’re gone.”

Bralla-Martin said Giant owners Eddie and Sharla Hamama attempted to renegotiate their lease arrangement with the new property owner, but were unsuccessful.

Employees at Kealani’s, which specializes in Hawaiian food and even sells CDs of Hawaiian artists, echoed a similar tune on Wednesday.

“It was a surprise, I didn’t think it would happen,” said Olivia Cuevas, who had worked at the Hawaiian restaurant for a year. “To be here 20 years, and to get kicked out, is a bummer.”

Property records show that the building was owned by Encinitas residents Maurice and Constance Lund, who passed away within a month of each other in the spring.

Bralla-Martin said that the property passed down to the couple’s children, who recently sold the property. He said the rumor is that the new owner is planning on demolishing the structure to make way for a mixed-use development.

The Coast News attempted to contact the Lund children to confirm the property’s sale, but did not receive a call back before publication.

Meanwhile, patrons lamented the demise of both restaurants, which they said contributed to the character of the downtown core.

“I’m bummed, super bummed,” said Lauren Michie, who said she would regularly grab one of Manhattan Giant’s oversized pizza slices after a day at the beach. “Change is inevitable, but it’s sad to see a business you grow up with go away.”

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