After More Than 70 Years In Business, Pacific Beach's Pernicano's Family Restaurant To Shutter At End Of Summer

June 6, 2019

It was a Pacific Beach institution before Pacific Beach was even a neighborhood. Considered by many as the restaurant that introduced pizza to San Diego, Pernicano's Family Restaurant on the border of North Pacific Beach and La Jolla will close at summer's end after more than 70 years in business.

Pernicano's Family Restaurant was opened in 1947 on a quiet stretch of Turquoise Street on the border of Pacific Beach (then "Bay Point) & La Jolla by Johnny Pernicano, Sr.. Johnny started his restaurant career working at Pernicano's Casa di Baffi restaurant in Hillcrest along with his brother George, who was also a minority owner of the San Diego Chargers. Back in its heyday, celebrities visited the Italian restaurant, and Johnny would hang the autographed photos lining the wall behind his piano. Eventually the Pernicano family went on to operate 10 restaurants in San Diego, one for each of the 10 Pernicano brothers. Every year around Christmas, Johnny Sr., would dress in full Santa Claus garb and give presents to kids from the once-seaworthy gondola boat table at the center his restaurant.

Pernicano Sr., now 91 years old, is ready to retire, as is his 61 year-old son, John Jr., who has been managing the restaurant and overseeing the kitchen. The family is currently seeking the right tenant to lease the space. When John Jr. turns 62 this September, he wants to have someone in place to take over the eatery and make it their own. Until then, Pernicano's will continue to serve its menu of classic red-sauce Italian cuisine like it has for the past 72 years.

Pernicano's is located at 711 Turquoise Street in Pacific Beach. For more information and to make a reservation, call 858.488.2900