ENCINITAS — A popular Leucadia restaurant’s plans to expand by getting its outdoor patio permitted and selling beer and wine received a unanimous OK from the Encinitas Planning Commission.
The commission’s May 2 vote comes after a monthlong delay by the applicant to address concerns about the amount of parking as it pertained to the square footage of dining space.
“Other than the fact I cried tears of joy all night I was so happy, I’m good,” said Rhiana Glor, who owns the Nectarine Grove as well as Healthy Creations in New Encinitas. “We are just very grateful to the city for helping us to make it work.”
Nectarine Grove opened in early 2018 in the shell of the former El Torito Meat Market near the intersection of Leucadia Boulevard and Coast Highway 101.
The restaurant, known for its locally sourced menu, paleo, gluten free, dairy free and vegan-friendly options, as well as its smoothies and drinks, has rapidly become a popular establishment along a very energetic stretch of Coast Highway 101.
In the past two years alone, the stretch of Leucadia’s core street has added a St. Archer tasting room, Surfhouse boutique hotel and Nectarine Grove in a stretch that already had popular establishments such as Coffee Coffee, the Regal Seagull, Solterra Winery and Le Papagayo restaurant.
The Planning Commission on May 2 took less than 15 minutes to ask questions of the applicant’s team. Nobody from the public opposed the plans.
Commissioners conditioned the approval to require “parking in rear” signage in the front parking lot, a fence between the children’s area of the patio from the rest of the outdoor area and a sign stating no alcohol can be consumed in the children’s area.
Glor said getting the city to sign off on the beer and wine proposal was key because the request was driven by customer demand. And now, with the approval, they are that much closer to being able to meet the demand.
“We had always hoped to serve beer and wine, but it was not a huge priority for us,” Glor said. “We wanted to get open and see what our customers were asking for, etc. Very quickly we learned they would like beer and wine. We get asked on a daily basis, even get phone calls asking before they come in if we are serving it yet because they would like a glass of wine with dinner, etc.”
The city’s approval takes effect May 20 following the mandatory 15-day appeal period. Following the approval, Glor said, the city’s design review team must approve the design and then the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will have to approve the liquor license request.
Glor anticipates Nectarine Grove will complete those steps in two months.
“But this (the commission) was a biggie for us,” she said. “It took us a while, but we got it, and I am so excited, and I can’t tell you how relieved I am.”