Souplantation Reboot Sets July Opening Date In San Diego

May 9, 2022

A former San Diego Souplantation location taken over by a new owner will reopen this July. 

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. There were at least eleven Souplantation locations in San Diego County when the company abruptly ended its run in 2020. 

La Mesa resident Dmitry Braverman has leased the former Souplantation location on Fletcher Parkway in La Mesa and will revive the concept using previously-released and copycat recipes, as well as having the assistance of some former Souplantation staffers. Braverman is 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. Upon reopening on July 4, the space would operate as an adult day care with the restaurant holding special hours for the clientele of Golden Life until 2pm, then opening to the general public starting at 3pm.

Following the publication of our original article about the Souplantation reboot, a representative of the Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes parent company Garden Fresh Restaurants reached out to us to be put in contact with Braverman. A longtime area chef that consulted on menu development for the original Souplantation chain also was put in touch with the new owner of the La Mesa location. Since the 2020 closure of all Souplantation restaurants, Winter Park, FL-based company Punch Card Mgmt LP has acquired the rights to the Souplantation name, so Braverman is in the process of negotiating a license for its use. 

The Souplantation revival restaurant is anticipated to open on July 4, 2022, at 9158 Fletcher Parkway in San Diego's La Mesa. For more information, follow the concept on Facebook & Instagram