The owner of Kojacks in Mission Beach has been serving the community for more than 30 years. After eight months of being shut down, he was finally able to reopen for the Fourth of July.
A fire had erupted last October at the two-story building on Ventura Place and Strandway near the Mission Beach boardwalk, across the street from Belmont Park, that housed Soltan’s restaurant. The top story of the building housed apartment units; the fire had originated in one of those homes. Unfortunately, Aaron Porter, 36, died from injuries sustained in the fire.
“I had both businesses closed, and there was nothing that I could do, it just takes forever with the permits,” Soltan said.
Soltan also owns the Dreyer’s Ice Cream shop near Kojack’s, it was also damaged by the fire.
“We were trying so hard to open for the fourth. And on Wednesday we had a health inspection and it got approved. After that, we were running to fill up with supplies, and we managed to open on the Fourth of July,” Soltan said.
Soltan was happy he was able to reopen on a holiday weekend.
“Everyone just came in as normal, I was afraid business was going to fade away after being closed for eight months, but everyone loves us down here,” Soltan said. “We had regulars, and I don’t know how they found out we were open.”
Soltan opened his Mission Beach eatery in the 1980s. Back then, he said the community was unfamiliar with Greek cuisine, including the ever-popular gyro. Back then, the sandwich cost $2.65 at the beach side restaurant. Today, that item costs $8 or $12 if you add fries and a drink.
“People have been coming back here after 20 plus years, same taste, the same everything, we don’t change,” Soltan said.
Mission Beach residents like Marshall Benskoi said he's been pulling for Kojack's, hoping Soltan could open soon.
“It’s really upsetting, these small businesses do what they can to get by, and I think it’s really important the community comes together and supports them all – like these, that – have been there for years and years and years,” said Benskoi.
Soltan has also reopened his Dreyer’s Ice Cream shop.