New ‘food’ options for vehicles, people and pets in Rancho Bernardo, 4S Ranch
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
A renovated gas station and new restaurant, vitamin store and pet food market are the latest developments on the Rancho Bernardo and 4S Ranch business front.
Soapy Joe’s — the former Westwood Shell gas station — opened over the weekend after a more than seven-month renovation that included gutting and expanding the former building. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Manager Brian Sheena said the name Soapy Joe’s refers to the business’ “state-of-the-art” car wash that includes turbo blowers and chamois dryer system that he claims is “better than most” car washes in the area.
“It is really unique,” Sheena said, as he detailed wash options starting at $5 for a wash, rinse, turbo dry and complimentary self-vacuum option, and go up to $18 for the deluxe package that includes a foam bath, and multiple applications of rain repellent, conditioner, wax and paint sealant that requires a 50-gallon high-pressure rinse.
This is the ninth Soapy Joe’s in the county. For those who want their vehicles looking their best all the time, Sheena said there are monthly packages starting at $30 that allow unlimited washes at all locations. “It’s like a gym membership,” he said.
The station at 16998 W. Bernardo Drive is offering Chevron-brand gasoline via six pumps — one more than before, so 12 vehicles can be accommodated at a time. With the elimination of the station’s vehicle repair bays, the food market was expanded from 150 square feet to 2,600 square feet. It is now a 7-Eleven, offering all the company’s products including fresh sandwiches and doughnuts brought in each morning, Sheena said.
Over in Rancho Bernardo Vons Town Center, The Kebab Shop is tentatively scheduled to open in late January at 11980 Bernardo Plaza Drive.
Co-owner Arian Baryalai said the restaurant is inspired by the kebab shops in Europe. He described it as “fast casual” dining and said the menu will feature a lot of fresh, Mediterranean salads along with wraps called döners and sandwiches called shawarmas. Plated options include grilled meats, salmon, shrimp and chicken, along with vegetarian skewers. There is also a kid’s menu.
Besides dining in, the restaurant offers take-out ordered via phone at 858-451-1434 or online at www.thekebabshop.com. Catering is also available. The hours will be 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.
Baryalai said the company that opened in San Diego County in 2007 will have six locations once the RB restaurant opens. The others are in downtown San Diego, Little Italy, Mira Mesa, Encinitas and, opening last week, Mission Valley. He said Rancho Bernardo was chosen because of the variety of customers in the area.
Also new to the Town Center is a GNC store at 11952 Bernardo Plaza Drive that offers vitamins and health supplements. It opened earlier this month. Its hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
In 4S Ranch Village, Amy and Eric Hodges plan to open a Wholesome Choice Pet Market in the next few weeks, Amy Hodges said. Their first store by the same name opened five years ago in Rancho Bernardo.
The store at 16615 Dove Canyon Road, Suite 115, will offer the same natural, human-grade, grain-free dog and cat food made in the United States, many by local companies, she said.
Making the 4S Ranch store different from the RB one will be two do-it-yourself pet wash stations featuring organic shampoos, dryers and towels. It will be available on a walk-in basis.
Hodges said many customers have asked about grooming, which it does not offer, but because there is a trend in the independent natural pet food market toward wash stations, she decided to offer it in the 4S Ranch store.
Those familiar with the RB store will see many of the same employees at the 4S Ranch store, who will work at both locations. Hodges said it is important to her that the staff be well-educated on pet issues so they can answer customers’ questions.
“Our mission is to educate customers on ways to keep their pets healthy,” Hodges said, adding the food might be slightly higher priced, but savings come in medical bill costs.
She said the store came about after she changed her cat’s diet, which led to it no longer needing medications for certain health issues. “I wanted to share my experience and help pets be healthy.”
For now, both stores will have the same hours: 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 5:30 p.m. Sundays.
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