Northside Shack: A Community Oriented, Farm-to-Table Cafe

** Northside Shack Update ***

** Northside Shack Update ***

Hello Friends and Community,

I’ve been in communication with the City of Imperial Beach regarding regulations currently in place.  I have yet to hear from them with a sound solution.  As you are aware, we have been asked to take out a $2,000 Appealable Conditional Use Permit, an Appealable Coastal Commission Permit and repair the sidewalks in front of our proposed café site – totaling about $13,000.  To me, this doesn’t sound fair and isn’t a good business decision on my part.  We have decided to wait for possibly March when the new zoning laws take effect and in the meantime propose that the city make alterations to the sidewalk as previously represented in their master plan.  

Two options I have: 

  1. Take Northside Shack to another more welcoming and business savvy city; or
  2. Wait several months for the new zoning laws to take effect eliminating the    request for Conditional Use Permit and Coastal Commission Review Permit.   This, however, does not take care of the sidewalk issue.

I cannot do this alone and if the community of Imperial Beach wants to welcome a farm-to-table sustainably ran all natural café, the community is going to have to get involved.  If you would like to see Northside Shack café become a part of Imperial Beach, write or call the City Council and Mayor.  Together we can make this happen!!



City of Imperial Beach

City Council's Office

825 Imperial Beach Blvd.

Imperial Beach, CA 91932


Contact Mayor Jim Janney:

Office: (619) 423-8303

Fax: (619) 628-1395

E-Mail: JJanney@cityofib.org


Contact Councilmember Lorie Bragg:

Office: (619) 423-8303 

Fax: (619) 628-1395

E-Mail: loriebraggib@aol.com


Contact Councilmember Brian P. Bilbray:

Office: (619) 423-8303

Fax: (619) 628-1395

E-Mail: pbilbray@gmail.com


Contact Councilmember Edward J. Spriggs:

Office: (619) 423-8303

Fax: (619) 628-1395

E-Mail: ejspriggs@yahoo.com


Contact Councilmember Jim King:

(619) 423-8303

(619) 628-1395



Useful Links:




kickstarter.com video:  Northside Shack





This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Erika Lowery December 07, 2012 at 04:38 AM
We have a new councilman, Bobby Patton who replaced Jim King. I wish you the best of luck.
Libi Uremovic December 07, 2012 at 02:21 PM
contact the office of juan vargas....he's our state representative, but he just won the federal congressional seat, so he's moving up... call vargas and see if he can step in - 619-409-7690
Libi Uremovic December 07, 2012 at 02:22 PM
if anyone gets a response from a councilman in this town it would be a 'xmas miracle'...
Pamela Olvera December 09, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Thank you Erika ! I went by what's listed on the City's website. Im sure people will be routed in the right direction. And thank you Libi... good rout to take!
Brian P@ Bilbray December 11, 2012 at 05:45 AM
pamela please call me i work 7 to 4 everyday but free anytime after that 990 6760
Davesurf December 12, 2012 at 03:51 PM
I hope this Northside Shack goes into business here in I.B. Where will it be located?
John Galt December 12, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Pamela - Choose a better location. The location your talking about the curb truns down making it unsafe. The $$ cost of fixing it is way out of line. Maybe the problem could be solve with large potted plants. 1) The old Burger King location is already set - already has curb upgrades and free parking. 2) Partner up with one of the existing businesses along the pier or Seacoast. 3) Take your idea to Hillcrest, Del Mar, Coroanado. (Places with money) 4) Someplace along the bayfront. Lots of people walking and riding. Maybe the city will allow for a residence conversion. I know several that may work. This would allow people to bird watch while eating. Don't be afraid to approach property owners. I like the idea, I just don't think the location is right. I looked at bringing in a Golden Spoons and decided against it because of demographics. Good luck.
Libi Uremovic December 13, 2012 at 04:17 AM
pam, our imaginary friend has reminded me of a piece of property that is located north of the post office...cute little house with a yard that's zone commercial.... people tried for years to start a business on the property, but the city has refused... ...now the city wants to enact eminent domain... talk to the owner of the property...find out if the city's trying to take the property...that could be the basis of your problem...
Pamela Olvera December 13, 2012 at 05:04 AM
actually libi, i looked at that location when it was on craigslist. i really wanted to do a small farm to table and use the back as a garden. i wanted to have live music and a chefs table on the garden. the owner wanted to much for both the front and back and it would have been a complete start up - grease trap, plumbing, etc. but i did think of it - thought of it allot actually. too bad it cost too much in the end. it never got to the level of the city.
Pamela Olvera December 13, 2012 at 05:10 AM
john - what do you mean "the curb turns down"? it will cost me around 4-6k to bring up to code. and ive thought of all that you recommend besides the idea of speaking to property owners. i never thought about that one - humm. our new zoning laws might be more lenient to that idea. you are right on the golden spoon. my cafe knows its people and knows how to make healthy, sustainable and delicious food options. i just want the opportunity. im pretty practical and have some sound ideas. you'll see ;)
Pamela Olvera December 13, 2012 at 05:14 AM
sorry - typing fast
Pamela Olvera December 13, 2012 at 05:14 AM
all i need is for the community to agree. contact your major, councilman/councilwoman, city manager, etc and let them know we all could benefit from this cafe!
Jack Fisher December 15, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Have you thought to approach an exsisting cafe that may need a new idea/look/owner ? I know a few of the cafes near the beach have struggled and they may want to partner up. I'm not sure that your original location would be the best one in the city, but that is your call. Good luck and phooey on the City!
Ed Sorrels December 15, 2012 at 05:43 AM
Libi, You know damn well that the only councilperson that ever got back to you we just fired !Well not to you but he was very helpful to me both over the phone and in person here at my house when I had questions about my building addition this last summer, and he had those special qualifications that none of the others do as he is a contractor
Libi Uremovic December 15, 2012 at 05:58 AM
jack - that's a good idea...the wave cafe closes at 2pm ....she could rent the facilities and serve lunch and dinner... he pays a massive amount of rent for that property and with the hotel shut down for years he's really struggling... ed, king never called me back...i sent all of the council the spreadsheets showing the checks and they've never replied or asked a question...
Libi Uremovic December 15, 2012 at 06:01 AM
pam - talk to the owners of the wave cafe about sharing their cafe....i'll help you guys cut the deal if you need to... it would give him some relief on his fixed costs and it would give you revenue and build your local clientele....
Ed Sorrels December 15, 2012 at 06:08 AM
Damn good idea Libi, I love the place he has the best damn sausage I have had since I left Arkansas and I love to eat there, an afternoon change to gardedn fresh would be really nice ! He just didn't like you, Remember how fast your sign got torn down, LOL none of them like you !
Libi Uremovic December 15, 2012 at 03:29 PM
i think it would work for both of them ed...the guy that owns the wave just had hernia surgery and needs to slow down, but his overhead is so high he can't stop working....some would say that sounds like a person living behind the iron curtain, but that's life in the new amerika for the working man... ib beautiful had tried to start a community garden...maybe pam can hook up with them for a place to grow her produce...
Pamela Olvera December 15, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Good morning guys... Libi - I have a 30 x 30 community garden plot at the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden close to Suzies Farms. I plan on using what I grow in my cafe. As far as the Wave Cafe - his food is good but most of it is very unhealthy. Not to mention he uses ingredients I dont use - like vegetable oil spray or oil, butter, etc. He buys most of his food frozen from sysco or other major corporations. I wouldn't even know how to convert it into a healthy cafe in the afternoon. It would be far too much work. My menu consists of: - Organic pour over coffee or french press - Raw juice bar with fresh fruit and veggies from our local farms, such as Suzies - Fresh fruit and veggie smoothies with almond milk, coconut milk, and veggie base drinks - Vegan pastries and/or organic healthy simple pastries - Fresh garden salads from veggies and fruit freshly picked from our local gardens - Sweat and savory waffles and paninis - Fresh seafood from local sustainable sources - Charcuterie plates with fresh cheeses and cured meat from local sustainable sources - Fresh baked bread daily - Sustainable daily specials called "sustainable bites" I could possibly team up with him and bring his cafe up to modern times and keep some of his popular menu items but for the most part we are two very different concepts.
Libi Uremovic December 15, 2012 at 05:39 PM
yes, i am very aware of the two different food worlds that you and he represent....that's why i think it would be great for him and work for you too... he's a traditional american grill cook from the east coast .. but in cali fresh food is part of our culture and more people are taking care of their health through diet and exercise instead of popping pills.... his specialty is breakfast and just working breakfast is a 50 hour/week job ..he can open for breakfast and you come in behind him with lunch and dinner.. the quality of his breakfast foods would be enhanced with fresh breads and veggies .. he talked to me about opening for dinner 6 months ago, but he can't do it on his own ......let me know if you want to try it... i'll go down there with you and talk to him.....the idea is probably going to blow him out of the water at first, but i think it will work out great for both of you... i think you'll find a strong following in ib and sharing a restaurant space for 6 months or so would take a lot of the financial burden off you... ...and that's guy has been in the industry for decades...he knows things...you'll learn a lot from him too...
Pamela Olvera December 15, 2012 at 05:47 PM
(1 of 3) Mr. Fisher, The garage behind Subway will be transformed. The garage door will be removed and replaced with a half wall and rollup windows or sliding windows and stool seating all along the wall for people to enjoy the view. The front entrance will be extended to a larger commercial door and the two planters outside will be removed. Inside we will offer small dining space with local art displayed and a flat screen TV that will show football games or old surf movies. I plan on introducing pour over coffee via a pour over coffee bar. Artisan goods such as cheeses, breads, homemade jams, and food craft made by local people will be displayed for purchase as we have no access to that type of food here. It will be decorated much as a surf cafe but with a modern twist. Most of all the materials I will use will be reclaimed or recycled giving it a modern industrial look. I’m a bit worldly and creative in many ways, my cafe will be an extension of my own ideas and decorating. I know IB may not be the place for this but I know how to cook and decorate - nicely - on a budget. I know how to create modern dishes out of simple farm fresh goods. Not like fine dining in any way but more of a artisan rustic local cafe.
Pamela Olvera December 15, 2012 at 05:48 PM
I chose this location because of the view and its foot traffic. I plan on reaching out to other communities such as coronado, chula vista, eastlake, etc. for them to have a cool place to eat right in the heart of imperial beach. Don't get me wrong, I know what you mean and what you are trying to get to but redevelopment and community change starts slow. Maybe we can lead ourselves in the direction we would like to see imperial beach grow into. It takes a community folks and it takes knowledge. I have to say I am looking at other locations in ocean beach, point loma, lucadia, carlsbad, oceanside and neighboring beach communities because what the city requires is just far to stringent and not as business friendly as they should be. But change starts somewhere. This is why I am reaching out to the community for support. If we all push our local government to pass an ordinance or find funding to extend sidewalk improvements to that particular cul-de-sac the sidewalk issue will no longer be a factor. Do you know that just a few months ago they had no parking signs throughput the col-de-sac and sidewalk improvements were part of the plan but then all of a sudden the signs were taken down and the city decided against it. I have no idea why.
Pamela Olvera December 15, 2012 at 05:49 PM
The new hotel will have lots of traffic in that area, how do we plan on accommodating them if they left out the most important area for sidewalk improvements? Another obstacle is the appealable 2-3 month conditional use permit that requires a $2000 deposit and approval from the city counsel all because they want to re-designate one parking spot formally allocated to the garage. I will also need to hire an architect for this and pay for mailing letters to owners and residents within a 300-foot radius. The city of ib revised and passed a new set of zoning laws that were sent to the coastal commission for review and approval. This will eliminate the required additional parking and the use of the appealable conditional use permit. This is why I am waiting for the coastal commission to review and approve our revised coastal zoning plan. We should all get involved and contact the coastal commission and put heat on them to review and pass the zoning laws so that they may become in effect. From what I have been told they are far behind and have only a few people working on this due to state budget cuts.
Pamela Olvera December 15, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I wouldn't be opposed to it Libi. I think it may be a good idea that we can look into.
Jack Fisher December 17, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Pamela, please understand I would love to have a place that you describe open in Imperial Beach and I believe that your food and decore would be good. I assume that you have spoken to the other local eateries near the beach and have come up with how much money you would need to make each day to stay open and pay your bills. I know a bit about the restaurant business, having been in it for the last 25 years in all facets from large and small hotels to owner operated restaurants. I have my own small foodservice business and have thought of how to open a storefront in Imperial Beach, but I don't have the time or the money to try and change a city. We do need healthier choices fro eating here in IB. Do yo know about the changes in the cottage food laws that are in effect this January? Maybe get a booth at the farmers market and sell your best dishes and see what the reaction from the public is. More cost effective and it will help you get real world reviews and it will help get your name and product out there. This will help for future fundraising if it is needed. As far as the city goes, I attend most of the council meetings(to keep an eye on them) and want the city to help business instead of hinder them. Shame on the city for feeling that the law is more important than businesses that generate tax revenue
Pamela Olvera December 17, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Morning Mr. Fisher... Yes, I've looked into the new home-based kitchen baking laws and find them very tempting! Funny you mentioned the farmers market. I spoke to a rep and was told that Brian Beevers no longer manages the IB market and a few spots have become available. I met just yesterday with a gardner friend who ran a small booth at the farmers market in golden hills and was interested in joining me at the IB market and doing a farm-to-table weekly specials based on harvest and seasonable availability. Flatbreads, tacos, salads, etc... So that may very well become a reality. :) I'd like to meet you for coffee one day or pow wow with you on any future culinary events or ideas that may work for IB. I love your chocolates btw. And am familiar with your culinary talents - I pay attention to all of the SD chefs and in TJ and Baja and always read up on them or attend their events. In addition to being a chef I am a huge foodie ! Thanks for the advice and comments. :)


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something