San Diego Souplantation Return Hits Huge Snag And Cannot Use Name

August 6, 2022

The return of a former San Diego Souplantation location has hit a huge snag and now cannot operate with the Souplantation name.

In May 2020, we at SanDiegoVille broke the news to the world 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. 

Earlier this year, we broke the news that La Mesa resident Dmitry Braverman had leased the former Souplantation location on Fletcher Parkway in La Mesa with plans to revive the concept using previously-released and copycat recipes, as well as having the assistance of some former Souplantation staffers. He originally planned to reopen on July 4, but was delayed citing an inability to pass fire inspections. Braverman has since confirmed he has hit another snag and was unable to get the rights to use the Souplantation name. 

Since the 2020 closure of all Souplantation restaurants, Winter Park, FL-based company Punch Card Mgmt LP acquired the rights to the Souplantation name, so Braverman was hoping to negotiate rights to a license for its use. He confirmed he did not come to an agreement and therefore cannot call his onsite restaurant by the Souplantation name, thus he is removing the sign and other branding. It is still undecided what the copycat Souplantation restaurant will be named. 

Braverman is in the process of opening Golden Life Adult Day Health Care as part of the property and thought that resuscitating the Souplantation brand in La Mesa would be beneficial to his clients and the community. His plans were to use the space to operate an adult day care during the morning with the restaurant holding special hours for the clientele of Golden Life until 2pm, then opening to the general public starting at 3pm. In an Instagram post published this morning, the company updated its followers with a photo showing the sign being replaced and explained the reopening was delayed for a "couple months".
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 until 2020. 

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