Souplantation May Return To San Diego...Well, Sort Of

February 27, 2022

A new owner has taken over a former San Diego Souplantation location and hopes to revive the once-nationwide concept, which shuttered all locations in 2020 amidst the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Founded in San Diego over four decades ago, the first Souplantation restaurant was opened by founder Dennis Jay in 1978 on Mission Gorge Road in San Diego. After growing to two locations with the help of friends, Jay sold the pair of buffett-style eateries to Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp in 1983. The eatery grew to over 130 locations over the years, with all those located outside of California named Sweet Tomatoes. In 2016, the company filed for bankruptcy and shuttered dozens of outposts, but 97 locations remained. In May 2020, we at SanDiegoVille broke the news that all Souplantation restaurants (and sister concept Sweet Tomatoes) had laid off more than 5,000 employees across the country and would not be reopening any locations due to uncertainty for the buffet restaurant sector in the face of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Souplantation executives later confirmed our report was true after multiple outlets picked up our story. 

La Mesa resident Dmitry Braverman has leased the former Souplantation location on Fletcher Parkway and aims to revive the concept using previously-released and copycat recipes. Braverman is also in the process of opening Golden Life Adult Day Health Care as part of the property and believes that resuscitating the Souplantation brand in La Mesa would be beneficial to his clients and the community. Once unveiled later this year, the space would operate as an adult day care with the restaurant hold special hours for the clientele of Golden Life until 2pm, then open to the general public starting at 3pm.

"We operate an Adult Day Care center and are trying to preserve Souplantation's special atmosphere," explained Braverman. "We would like to keep the name or make minor alteration to it. We hope to open doors by the 4th of July."  

There is no word whether Souplantation parent company Garden Fresh Restaurants has provided consent for the name to be used for the La Mesa project. There were at least eleven Souplantation locations in San Diego County when the company abruptly ended its run in 2020. 

The Souplantation revival restaurant is anticipated to open by this summer at 9158 Fletcher Parkway in San Diego's La Mesa.