By SDCNN Staff
Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant, located in the Kensington neighborhood of Uptown, received a top honor June 6 by Sen. Toni G. Atkins. During the annual California Small Business Day luncheon in Sacramento, Atkins bestowed the 39th Senatorial District’s 2017 “Small Business of the Year” on the local Mexican restaurant, held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel.
Ponce’s was first opened in 1969, by Ponciano Meza, and while the business has expanded since then, it is still in the same location. The Meza family believes their staff to be their most important asset and have always supported a living wage and health care benefits for all. They also believe in making an investment into their local community, and do so regularly by sponsoring Little League teams, participating in beach cleanups, The San Diego Community Center’s annual Dining Out For Life, and various other community projects. Representing Ponce’s in Sacramento were current owner Ponce Meza Jr. and Mikey Knab, director of operations.
On June 23, Sen. Atkins then held her annual Small Business of the Year mixer at The Studio Door in North Park, where she honored 19 other small businesses from the 39th District. Owned by LGBT artist Patric Stillman, the gallery was in the midst of its “PROUD” exhibition at the time of the small business event.
Following are some of the businesses honored that are relevant to our community:
Coronado — Root 75 Flower Shop: Thriving on Coronado Island by the ocean, Root 75 Flower Shop sells beautiful flowers to everyone who cannot resist the temptation. Kristy and Katherine, whose friendship spans back to fourth grade, founded this shop in their hometown on state Route 75 so that they could follow their passion and do what they love every day. With experience in operating in big cities such as New York and Chicago, they offer deliveries as well as gorgeous flower decorations for weddings and receptions. Their authentic and home-style shop provides a modern and dynamic flower display that attracts people from all over San Diego.
Downtown San Diego — Café Chloe: Set in the heart of Downtown’s East Village, Café Chloe draws coffee cravers and French-food fanatics alike to this cozy, urban-style café. The menu ranges from café moto teas and espressos to hand-chopped steak and pumpkin-bread pudding. Founded in 2004, Café Chloe quickly became one of the first big restaurants in East Village and has remained quite popular to this day. Locals and visitors alike cherish the amazing food and great vibe of this notable café.
South Park — Kindred: This San Diego Architecture Foundation Orchid Award winner has made huge waves since it opened in 2015. Kindred is a death-metal vegan bar (yes, death-metal vegan bar) whose goal is to not only astound you with its gothic architecture but also with the variety of food and drink on the menu. Owner Kory Stetina took the Midas touch that he has had with pop-up restaurants throughout San Diego and created a magical permanent eatery and bar in South Park. It’s no wonder residents in the neighborhood and San Diegans from afar flock to Kindred’s doors.
South Park — Ginseng Yoga: Ginseng Yoga has been part of the South Park community for 15 years. Opened in 2002 by longtime San Diegans Cindy and Brad Bennett, the yoga studio has been working to help novices and experts alike incorporate yoga, health and wellness into their everyday lives. The studio offers therapeutic yoga, cleanses, massage, mediation and a boutique to encourage its community to take a step back and relax into health. Brad and Cindy, along with all their instructors, are a team dedicated to bringing health and happiness into the lives of all of their patrons.
Rolando Park — Wei Wei Express: In the two years since Wei Wei Express opened, it has become a community favorite in Rolando Park. Not only does this new and growing business support local causes with donations and food, it’s also dedicated to becoming a part of their community. Wei Wei has attended neighborhood meetings and done its best to support the community however it can. Beyond their involvement with their community, they offer delicious Chinese food and a variety of wings.
Point Loma — The Wine Pub: The Wine Pub is a renowned wine bar, restaurant and retail shop located in Point Loma, owned and operated by Sandy Hanshaw. Not only do they offer more than 30 types of wine, but also paninis, sliders, salads and a list of great desserts. The Wine Pub is not exclusive to humankind — you’re invited to bring your four-legged friends along for your visit. “Woofer Wednesday” is known to be a howling good time. To give back to the community, Sandy — a breast-cancer survivor — often hosts fundraisers to support The Breast Cancer Fund, and she will be hosting her fifth annual Bike for Boobs event in October.
Oak Park — Louie’s Marketplace: Louie’s Marketplace is a miniature market and neighborhood treasure that is cherished by locals for its authentic and simple style. Owner Latif Georges remodeled and redesigned his store in 2015 with the help of UC San Diego and local teens to transform the marketplace into a vibrant and modern store. The marketplace provides fresh fruit and vegetables for a significant portion of Oak Park, helping improve the daily diets of the residents in the area. Louie’s Marketplace also gives back by partnering with community groups such as the Oak Park Community Council.
Other 2017 honorees include: College Area, Pesto Italian Craft Kitchen; Mira Mesa, Collins Family Jewelers; Normal Heights, Blind Lady Ale House; Mission Hills — Meshuggah Shack; Hillcrest, Hillcrest Shell Gas Station; North Paark, A7D and a second winner in North Park, Live Wire; Carmel Valley, Hera Labs; La Jolla, Warwick’s Bookstore; Tierrasantana (with two locations I in Hillcrest) Industrial Grind Coffee Ocean Beach, Lighthouse Ice Cream; Pacific Beach, Mr. Frostie; Rancho Bernardo, the Barrel Room; and Rancho Pensaquitos, Christensen Realty.