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.”

17 Comments
  1. Erik Wainwright 11 months ago

    Find another location in the same area and bring your customers with you. Nothing last forever! Change is inevitable! Sad but true!

  2. Janelle 11 months ago

    As a long time Cardiff resident and now Carlsbad resudent, I am sorry to see these places go an be taken over by corporate businesses that do not appriciate what “local” and “small business” mean. I drove down First St. or as it is called, 101, the other night and noticed many of thw old businesses were gone and replaced by hip and trendy new spots. This is happening all over San Diego. I like some of these restaurants, but I also want to go to my old favorites. Many new residents in Encinitas are not from San Diego or Southern California. They moved here to their overpriced home in the beach and now want to change the “small town” they moved to like the city they left. Coastal North County’s character has changed. Bulldozers demolish single level buildings to build overpriced modern 3 and 4 story homes with stamp sized patios and business space below. I like to see change if the owners keep with the character of the city and encourage local businesses to stay, vut when greed is involved, it pits a sour taste in my mouth. Do you want to see positive non greedy change? Write the Encinitas mayor, city council, planning committee, etc. Vote out the people who run the city and attend your local city meetings. Most meetings have the same people, so please go. Maybe if I did not live here for 40 years I would feel different. I hope Kelani’s and Manhattan Pizza move to another North County location. Just 10 to 15 minutes East has available restaurant place and this patron will follow you there.

  3. Dan Brain 11 months ago

    First el callejon is kicked out by new owners and now these two. Big loss for encinitas. Does the existing buildings have any historical significance? I believe on is an Art Deco design
    In the city of San Diego any building I believe over 50 years old must go through a historical review before being altered or demoed

  4. Dan Brain 11 months ago

    Should the city of encinitas have such a review process if they did we might be able to preserve some of our community character

  5. Shantih Black 11 months ago

    It seems a bit unfair really. So typical of greedy people who only had the advantage of being born to someone who had property. Personally I’m sick of Encinitas changing. We need to keep some things how they were and quit messing with a good thing. The people who have lived here and supported our community for decades shouldn’t be penalized because we aren’t “Orange County” we have a enough trendy crap here already.
    Sad that people are that greedy.

  6. Ashley 11 months ago

    Factual inaccuracy! The seller’s issued the eviction notice. The slum lords that owned the building failed to maintain it and due to the myriad of code violations and deplorable conditions the property could not be insured. The sellers in their rush to get money insisted on 30 days. Unfortunate that the owners didn’t care for the property or tenants. sellers could have put the money in to fix the code violations but chose to take money first.

  7. Bella Moda 11 months ago

    My business was forced out with success for over 15 years raised my rent every year. Got to the point I was working just to pay the landlord. And my space has been vacant since march 2016. Greedy Landlords

  8. PeterB 11 months ago

    While I’m totally sympathetic I also realize that a generation or two before us must have harbor rd the same sentiments about the so called progress.
    Yes, today are the good olde days of tomorrow.

  9. Darin 11 months ago

    Fyi all the tenants in the old leucadia towing yard are now being forced out too. That includes Moonlight screenprinting and other pillars of the community there. Killing the vibe and building these yuppie cash cows needs to stop. I guess running out natives and forcing change towards greed is thw American way. Just dont ask a native American for sympathy. Encinitas use to be cool.

  10. Ryan 11 months ago

    The current owners of this property are anything but greedy. Their parents died and they are grieving. Yes, they are selling the property and the new owner insisted she would only close on the property with it being vacant. It is very unfortunate, although the tenants were getting quite the deal for 20 years paying 1/2 market price. Most things come to an end. It’s just a part of life. One door closing is another door opening, sometimes life’s trials and tribulations are often blessings in disguise.

  11. Amber 11 months ago

    I’ve came to these restaurants for the last twenty years of my life. Encinitas born and raised, first when I was a kid with my family and then with all of my friends throughout my teenage years. Such a bummer what Encinitas has turned in to and day by day it’s only getting worse. Pretty soon it’ll just be another yuppy place filled with out of towners and places the locals can’t even afford. Encinitas was always a quaint little beach town, now look at it.

  12. John 11 months ago

    Dan Brain, I believe it is a historical building. Why would the new owners need these business evicted in just 30 days when surely they would need plenty of time to get their plans approved. Unless what Ashley says is right. It is so so sad. I feel terrible for both businesses. They are so good and all I know is if they pop up somewhere else, people will find them because they are staples in Encinitas. I will really miss that Hawaiian food & delicious pizza and meatball subs. I wonder if the sellers or buyers offered the small businesses anything? Probably not, greedy people.

  13. kennycahoon 11 months ago

    That really sucks. Why would they sell to them and ruin a part of encintas . Is the same Lund family that are the Lund team realtors in Encinitas.
    Must be desperate for cash.

  14. Judi 11 months ago

    I know in resedential you must give 60 day notice for tenants who have occupied the place for more than two years. Does anyone know the laws for commercial?

  15. D 8 months ago

    Look what happened to La Jolla

  16. dong 4 months ago

    Finding a new place to grow for this brand will not be too difficult.

  17. Nicole 1 month ago

    If Kealanis ever has a new location, it will have a following. My husband and I shared one of our first dates here. He lived in downtown Encinitas when the restaurant first opened. So sad returning , craving the plate lunch while pregnant and seeing a vacated building with the logo still attached to the windows. The last thing I want to see is another juice bar or Starbucks.

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