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MZM Seacoast Owner’s Death Declared a Suicide

Zofia Migdalska had to close the bistro amid the slow economy. She died on July 24 at age 57.

The financial crises of the last few years not only left millions of Americans jobless and wrecked lives in its path of destruction, it also forced small-business owner Zofia Migdalska to permanently shut down her restaurant.

Migdalska, a former owner of the gourmet restaurant MZM Seacoast Bistro, closed down her business last year when she could no longer afford to keep up with the payments on the business loan for the restaurant during a deeply sluggish economy, said her husband Marek Migdalski.  

The couple was waiting for a new hotel to replace the Seacoast Inn to be built, and her husband Marek Migdalski is confident that if the hotel stayed open they "could have weathered the storm."

“The tough economy and the situation we were in for some reason, we just couldn’t last,” Migdalski said.

She also didn't understand the political system, he said, and why when the economy crashed the government would choose to bail out large businesses.

"She just could not understand the fact that the people that were responsible for this (economic) downturn got bailed out by the government and little businesses couldn't get a helping hand," he said. 

After the bistro closed, Migdalska began to battle severe depression, her husband said.

On July 24, she lost that battle. The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office officially ruled Migdalska’s death a suicide. She was 57.

She is survived by her husband, their only child Marius, and her sister Mariola Wells.

A funeral service for Migdalska will be held this Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Mary Magdelena Church in San Diego. Friends and those who knew her who want to pay their respects are welcome to attend.

Migdalski best remembers his wife of 34 years as a dreamer who loved life and touched those around her.

“She was never hesitant to help in any good cause,” he said. “She had a warm spirit that attracted so many people, which will leave the end of her last living impression on all of us."

Migdalska was born in 1954 and first met her husband in 1969 in their homeland of Poland.

When Migdalska immigrated to Philadelphia with her mother and sister, she kept contact with her future husband through letters. Their relationship blossomed, and in 1977 while she was back in Poland on vacation, the couple married.

“She was the first love of my life,” Migdalski said.

The restaurant business had always been in Migidalska’s blood. Her husband said it was like a family tradition to own a restaurant.

Migdalska’s grandmother started this tradition when she opened up a restaurant in Warsaw shortly after World War II. After moving to San Diego, the family opened The Three Mermaids, a Polish restaurant, on Adams Avenue in San Diego.

Migdalski said his wife's love for the city of Imperial Beach goes beyond MZM Seacoast Bistro. 

“She always tried to encourage the friends of ours, anybody she would run into, to ask them to basically go down to Imperial Beach and just enjoy it to the fullest, to at least acknowledge that there is this part of San Diego that is not necessarily popular,” he said.

A few months ago she went to the opening of Jersey Boys Diner at 875 Seacoast Dr., where MZM Seacoast Bistro used to be.

Migdalski said his wife is the most amazing person he ever met.

“She was the most beautiful, loving woman that we would ever know,” he said.

Shorebird August 06, 2011 at 03:24 AM
I am so sorry to read this.Zofia was a lovely person. God's blessings to her and all her family. Very sad indeed.
Kelly Tracy August 06, 2011 at 04:03 AM
That is so Very sad, Zofia was such sweet friendly woman and MZM was one of my favorite restaurants ;-(
Patsy Brown August 06, 2011 at 05:53 AM
To Zofia's family" I pray for your comfort. I know what it feels like to lose a loved one this way. I experienced the same with my father. Now I know he is at peace, and I believe the same for Zofia. Patsy Brown
Barbara Sanders August 06, 2011 at 03:45 PM
On behalf of the Imperial Beach Optimist Club, we wish to extend our condolences to Zofia's husband and family. She was such a supporter of our club's efforts for the youth of Imperial Beach. We hosted several events at MZM and she was always, warm , attentive, and caring. What a tragedy !
Mike G August 06, 2011 at 11:21 PM
Too many ways to politicize this so I wont. My sincerest condolences to Zophia's family. I didn't know her, but by all accounts she was a kind, caring, hard working woman and for that alone I respect her. Rest In Peace Mrs. M. PEACE!
Melinda Wolicki August 07, 2011 at 01:55 AM
We are so saddened by the news. We LOVED that restaurant. God bless her husband and son. Tad and Melinda Wolicki
ibcalif August 07, 2011 at 02:46 AM
I should have mentioned Zofia first. Rest in peace Zofia and sincere condolences to her husband and family.
Evie August 07, 2011 at 07:55 AM
I am so sad to hear this news. My husband and I were regulars for breakfast. She was so proud of her son, Marius. She once gave me great advice about raising kids and I felt a bond with her ever since.
Gidge August 09, 2011 at 04:29 AM
For Zofia (Letter to the Politicians) I don’t know alot about politics Or numbers or how to Fix this mess But in my little peasant peabrain I know you are all going about it The wrong way, you’re wrong, same ol song While our troops, our elderly, disabled, and the working men and women carry the load, car companies and banks , are bailed out, I would think it's the seed they sowed You have your big houses And five car garages Investments you Can afford to protect No tax cuts for the millionaires But hey, who cares? They'll just pay a lawyer and Find a loophole Moms and Pops who have put everything Into what they do what they do is their life They’re not bailed out They’re not helped out What’s that about? You’re helping the American People ? I really don't think so To you it’s a game And both parties the same You really don’t get it!!! You don’t get depression at not making ends meet Or losing what you built from the ground To you it’s a game who gets to be king By bringing the poor man down I read in the paper a dear lady I know Could never understand They get rewarded, is that the plan? She worked all her life with no helping hand She couldn’t understand…..
John Haupt August 10, 2011 at 12:04 AM
Zophia was a perfectionist. She could not understand workers who would not give the same energy she gave as owner. She would always welcome me as a fellow businessperson to sit with her and have coffee and a smoke while discussing the difficulties of operating here without much support for her menu and price point. I know she kept waiting for folks from La Jolla & Coronado to discover her dream here in IB. It is very unfortunate they lost their business, commercial real estate, their home, and ultimately her life. in pursuit of providing a fine dining experience. I heard she was extremely upset when the bank took not only the MZM property but also her private property (dishes, kitchen equipment, etc) that she could have used to make a new start. Zophia was a lady who gave it her all and the result is a very sad story.
FRANCESCA PALUMBO August 22, 2011 at 05:22 PM
ZOPHIA, I WILL MISS YOU DEEPLY. I AM REMEMBERING OUR TALKS ON HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO OWN AND WORK A MOM AND POP RESTAURANT. WE PRAYED TOGETHER IN THE DARK UNDER YOUR CANOPY... SOOOO VERY SAD. GOD BLESS YOUR BEAUTIFUL SON AND TREASURED HUSBAND. LOVE FRANCESCA PALUMBO
Teresa Erhard September 13, 2011 at 07:40 AM
I wasn't aware of Zophia's passing until yesterday morning, when I was given an article clipping...My absolute sincerest condolences to her family on their incalculable loss. I didn't know her well, had been to the wonderful restaurant on a few occasions, and greatly enjoyed myself every time. May she find peace where ever she may be....as well as peace to her remaining loved ones. Tere Erhard
kristy September 17, 2011 at 02:13 AM
Zofia was a kind hearted, hard working woman. I remember her telling us her story of coming from Poland with the American Dream. A dream she felt could happen with hard work and she and her family were on their way. My heart goes out to the Migdalska family and they are in my prayers. The MZM Bistro was a hidden gem. The food was some of the best I have had anywhere, too bad the community of Imperial Beach could not appreciate it, and could not understand what an amazing culinary draw it could have been for the city. I was so sad the day they had to close their doors.
Liz Langley August 06, 2012 at 02:05 AM
I just heard about this and I'm so very sorry. Zofia was a wonderful lady. I met her years ago when I was selling advertising. During our conversations she learned I was thinking of moving and encouraged me to look in IB. she really was passionate about the neighborhood, and when I did eventually move here, it was always so nice to chat with her and I so enjoyed eating at the restaurant. It was the only good food in IB, but to say that doesn't really do it justice because the food was on par with fine restaurants in the tony parts of San Diego or any big city- a truly delicious surprise.. I was so sad to hear that they couldn't make it and I hoped that eventually they would find success elsewhere. It's a tragedy that Zofia fell victim to her circumstances and my thoughts are with her husband and son. I will remember her as she was during happier times.
Shorebird August 06, 2012 at 03:19 AM
God Bless you Zofia, you are not forgotten

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