Businesses helping businesses: Where the local workforce likes to eat

Businesses helping businesses: Where the local workforce likes to eat

I’m starting a new monthly feature with “Lick the Plate” where I round up folks from North County businesses and have them share their favorite places to eat and drink before, during or after work. Nixon in downtown Encinitas is my first profile.Nixon has always been one of those mystery places to me. The big brown building in downtown Encinitas that I’d never been in, but where very cool surf industry types create Nixon magic.

I’ve been a big fan of their watches for years, and I still sport an old school, no longer manufactured Power Slave model, which I love. They since have expanded into headphones, apparel and accessories and have become a styling, global powerhouse brand.

I had the good fortune of renting a room in my home short-term to Eric Simons about a year ago while he was looking for a place to settle around here after just taking a job with Nixon. Eric is an amazing East Coast surfer and just an overall good guy who cut his surfing chops growing up in Bethany Beach, Del. During his short stay here I sensed he had good taste in food, so that, combined with my Nixon curiosity made Nixon my first choice for this new feature.

I connected first with Beth VanBoxtel, a marketing and social media guru at Nixon who had some great feedback on her favorites. She took us over the hill to El Camino Real where she frequents Pizzicato. Beth calls ahead to see what slices are available, which usually includes four to six options, then she picks her favorite and gets out the door for under $5. Beth added “The main reason I love Pizzicato is because of their ingredients. I love their red peppers, crust, garlic and cheeses. I don’t know what I would do if this place ever closed down.”

Another local favorite of Beth’s is Via Italia Trattoria, which is a short two blocks from Nixon on Coast Highway. She is a huge fan of their gnocchi, attentive service and happy hour, which she frequents.

Customer service representative Vincent Marjes, the goofball pictured in the horned helmet above (which I suggested he wear) is hooked on Sambazon Café in Cardiff, which he claims has some of the best Acai bowls around. So much so that he will get in his car and make the under-10-minute drive down to Cardiff just to get one during the lunch rush. I know how he feels about getting in the car sometimes when working in downtown Encinitas with so many walkable options. The Machado Bowl is his favorite with bananas, granola and peanut butter.

Marketing Assistant Bridget Rodriguez is a huge fan of Whole Foods for breakfast or lunch. She loves their hot bars, which have “everything you can imagine,” but the pizza is her vice. If she feels like venturing somewhere different for lunch, Lotus Café is her pick, where she digs on the black bean enchiladas, chicken tacos, but she claims there isn’t anything there that she does not enjoy.

For dinner Bridget often ends up at HapiFish for their fantastic happy hour specials, which include a $4 Primo and sake combo.

Regional Sales Manager Stephen Chiaro says Honey’s in Encinitas is “the jam, for a hearty meal and a cup of your favorite hot beverage to get to get you started in the morning. The Breakfast Burrito and Chai Latte are my go-to choices.”

We have yet another Seaside Market fan, where Stephen orders up a tri-tip sandwich from the expansive deli for lunch, which he eats in the courtyard. I described a similar experience two weeks ago as part of my Seaside Market column.

Eric the Viking, as he was known living on Hygeia, or Eric Simons at Nixon, is a huge fan of the Pipe’s breakfast sandwich that he describes as “not too big, not too small, but just enough to get the job done with the occasional side of breakfast potatoes if you need some extra filler for that post surf feeding frenzy.” Well put my Viking friend. Eric is also big on Lotus Cafe. He fills up with their healthy fare and prime outdoor seating. Beachside is his go-to for the tallboy 22-ounce drafts for $4 and their beer of the month with some shuffleboard and outdoor fire pits to keep the chill off.

So that’s a sampling of where some Nixon folks hang out locally. All good choices and they were a blast to hang out with for the photos. If your company has employees that would be up for sharing their favorite places, hit me up with an email at the address below.

Lick the Plate can now be heard on KPRi, 102.1 FM Monday-Friday during the 7pm hour.
David Boylan is founder of Artichoke Creative and Artichoke Apparel, an Encinitas based marketing firm and clothing line. Reach him at or (858) 395-6905.


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