After Two Decades In Business, Costa Azul Will Close In Coronado After Being Ousted From Building | Arizona-Based Fox Restaurant Concepts To Open All-Day Restaurant In Its Place

September 2, 2018

After twenty years in business, Costa Azul bar and restaurant is closing for business at the end of today's service. The longtime "Cheers of Coronado" was reportedly forced out of its space by the new property owner and is being replaced by an all-day bar & restaurant from Arizona-based Fox Restaurants Concepts.

Opened in August 1998 by husband and wife Brant & Carol Barber and Kathleen Byne, who also own Island Pasta in Coronado, Costa Azul was essentially removed from its longtime space after owners were not offered a new lease with the building's owner, Kleege Enterprises, which bought the land on Orange Avenue between C Avenue and 10th Street in 2017 for $22 Million. Leading up to the closure, Brant Barber posted on the Coronado Happenings Facebook Group thanking customers and ensuring that he is actively looking for a new space to reopen Costa Azul.

Owned by former professional tennis player and Claremont High School graduate Bruce Kleege, who also owns a residence in Coronado, Kleege Enterprises owns property all around San Diego County. After Kleege purchased the the stretch of property that houses twenty or so business locations in mid-town Coronado last year, some stores closed as rents were increased while others were forced out for fancier tenants, including El Cordova Garage, which will be replaced next year by a branch of South Park-born Buona Forchetta. The companies that occupy Kleege's Coronado property also include Bay Books, the former office of the Coronado Eagle & Journal Newspaper, and two restaurants from David Spatafore’s Blue Bridge Hospitality - the original MooTime Creamery and Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge.

"We are trying to keep it as local as possible," Kleege said in an interview with the Coronado Eagle & Journal newspaper last year. "It’s always better to have someone with a tie to the community, rather than from the outside."

Yet it's a (technical) outsider that will be taking over the Costa Azul space. From Sam Fox of Phoenix, AZ-based Fox Restaurant Concepts (who reportedly does own a home in Coronado), a yet-to-be-named, all-day American grill is opening next year. The restaurant will likely be similar to Fox's The Henry concept but with a more coastal vibe. Expect a menu of coffee drinks, breakfast dishes and pastries in the morning, with lunch, dinner and cocktails offered from afternoon to evening.

The building at 1031 Orange Avenue will undergo a substantial renovation, with the addition of a new back patio, an indoor/outdoor bar, a glass-encased exhibition kitchen, and a test kitchen used for developing new dishes with local chefs. In addition to opening True Food Kitchen in 2012 at Fashion Valley Mall, a national concept which Fox sold off in August 2017 to an investment group that includes Oprah Winfrey as a member, Fox Restaurant Concepts has several other restaurant open and in the works in San Diego, including Flower Child in Del Mar, Blanco Tacos + Tequila in Fashion Valley Mall, and two locations of North Italia - one heading into Fashion Valley Mall and another into Del Mar Heights' incoming One Paseo mixed use development.

Fox Restaurant Concepts was founded in 1998 by Sam Fox, a college dropout who used his tuition to open his first restaurant at the age of 20. Fox is now the owner of dozens of restaurants, is an eleven-time James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurateur, a New York Times best-selling cookbook author and was recently named one of the 50 most influential people in the restaurant industry by Nation’s Restaurant News for the fifth consecutive year.