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The New Downtown Revitalizers

Anthony Corso | Stratford

 

Ariel Siedman of the Eden Gallery.  Photo Tony Corso

Most efforts towards rebuilding American cities fail in one important dimension. Those involved tend to focus solely upon a building or rebuilding the physical City and its collection of commercial and residential structures. The possibility of exploring another dimension of revitalization recently emerged in Del Mar with the arrival of three young couples. Each of them has embarked upon a new business venture - offering the opportunity of enriching the City with their creativity, vision, and originality. One of them has opened a distinctive café (Café Secret), another a restaurant (Zell’s), the third couple opened an international art gallery (Eden Art Gallery) on 15th Street.
Each of them is posed to make a substantial contribution to the City. Each has an interesting, rich life story. But, for now, this is an introduction to the “New Revitalizers.”

THE EDEN ART GALLERY
The recently opened Eden Gallery shelters an eye-catching assembly of abstract sculptures, figurative pieces constructed of wire mesh, intensely colored metal flowers mounted on the wall and standing figures in delightful poses - all surrounded by walls of urban collages and vivid photographs.

The gallery is jointly-owned by a young 20-year-old named Ariel Seidman who acknowledges a debt of gratitude to his grandfather who lives in Del Mar. He followed the renovation of Hotel Auberge; saw that it was providing a number of shops on 15th street and encouraged his grandson and wife to come and open a gallery. The Seidmans came; both were captivated and captured by Del Mar’s ambiance and the prospect of opening a unique gallery.

Ariel describes his art as truly exceptional and distinctive with an emphasis upon works that are whimsical, vividly colored, modern, and very contemporary. Most important, he strives to offer art that anyone can enjoy. “One needn’t be a long-time student of art to identify with these works.” His art has proven to be readily understood-- especially by children.” Children have an immediate reaction; they understand that what they see is meant to be fun, amusing and humorous.”

Greg Glassman and Jenn Powers of Zell's. 
Photo Tony Corso.

ZELLS’S RESTAURANT
Twenty years ago Greg Glassman had a small, local café in South Mission Beach. Some time ago he inherited the Del Mar Café on Camino Del Mar, next to the library, from his grandfather Zell Camiel. Zell was described in the previous Sandpiper as “an iconic community figure in Del Mar” – one that people frequently addressed as “Mayor.”

A short time ago, with the encouragement and participation of his friend, Jenn Powers, the couple decided to cancel the existing Café Del Mar lease and become restaurateurs.

They describe Zell’s, which opened on August 19, as “upscale, yet casual, and family friendly, with reasonable prices - the kind of place where people come in once or twice a week, not just on special occasions.” They describe the menu: “We’re going to do five different flatbreads as a signature item with numerous variations, from roasted eggplant with pesto to spicy house-made sausage. The menu will feature such things as sustainable fish (sea bass), salads such as grilled calamari, a number of exceptional soups, and a hamburger that hopefully will be the best in San Diego.”

In terms of their modus operandi they intend to listen to what the community needs and wants and adapt and change as they nurture and expand the business and service. They go on to note, “We are calling it Zell’s to pay homage to a guy who was a pillar of the Del Mar Community and is the reason we have this opportunity.

Bratzo and Danielle Basagoitia of Cafe Secret. 
Photo Tony Corso.

CAFÉ SECRET
Cooking was always a passion for former Peruvians Daniella and Bratzo Basagoitia. “We always had a lot of people over. The one thing we love to do together is cooking.” Their aim is to present traditional food and cooking and introduce Peruvian food slowly as it gains acceptance. They are continually testing different types of Peruvian food, evaluating the response and, if positive, continue featuring it on the menu - a menu which is proving to be highly eclectic and international.

“We learned early on not to be too stubborn about fitting everything into our vision, but to acknowledge opportunities when they presented themselves, such as catering special celebrations, holding weekend tapas and wine events, serving breakfast to persons staying in the adjacent Inn or adopting small, but important, things, like offering organic Peruvian coffee when it proved a favorite among guests.”

This is our philosophy: “We want to serve the Community; we don’t want to jump into developing a larger and larger restaurant. We want to keep it small, building good relationships among our customers. We want to know everyone by name and feel that we have done something toward building a community. We don’t want to turn this into a five-star environment. We want people to feel that this is home and be comfortable.”

   
 

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