Local businesses September 12, 2019

Mission Bay Visitor Center’s Conversion Still Includes Restaurant!

By Caroline Abkar, 9/12/2019


Hi everyone,


A few days ago, we released an update about the Mission Bay Visitor Center with information on the businesses that are expected to open very soon. You can read that post here. 


Mission Bay Visitor Center Latest Update

Kristine Schnell & I outside Bird Rock Coffee Roasters on Morena Blvd.


Many of you in the community have questions and so today, I met the founder of playground agency, Kristine Schnell, to get an initial set of answers. Let me just start by saying that what strikes me the most is how much Kristine absolutely loves and cares about our community, and about the well-being of everyone who will frequent the businesses at the Mission Bay Visitor Center.  She is bubbly, full of life, and obtained her WELL certification to ensure that the Mission Bay Visitor Center is built with high environmental standards. WELL is the leading tool for advancing health and well-being in buildings globally. Everything that will be offered is thought through with people’s well being in mind, as I am sure you can already tell from the description of the businesses in my first post.


A restaurant?

Firstly, the big news! There is still a restaurant opening at the site and it is set to welcome its first customers sometime in 2020. In the meantime, Virtue Coffee & Juice, Summer Afternoons, and Beach Bunny will open sometime this fall, and they will stay once the restaurant opens.

The plans for the restaurant include a sit down concept as well as a to-go concept for those who would like to grab a picnic – and possibly a bike from Beach Bunny! – and cruise along the bay for an afternoon.

In fact, picnics hold a special place in Kristine’s heart – she started a picnic-ing tradition when she was in college. She truly hopes the community enjoys that aspect of the restaurant. The menu is still in the works and more details will be released as the exciting project unfolds.


The Details

As far as parking, there will not be a new parking structure on site – the Coastal Commissions would most likely not approve of such a structure. However, there are plans to reconfigure the existing parking lot to accommodate a few more spaces. Moreover, there is a lot of emphasis on making sure the site is aesthetically appealing. The landscaping will be beautified to make sure that it’s kept visually separate from the RV station nearby. In addition, there are no health or environmental concerns with regards to the site being close to the RV station, or the fact that the restaurant may use propane fuel for its cooking.

Kristine is very receptive and took notes from the community’s input, including bicycle parking and a kid friendly aspect so parents can dine in peace.

I can see children laughing and playing on the grass with a bean toss game and a giant jenga! She also loves the idea of local artists’ work being displayed – she happens to have a background in art herself.

With everything said, there is an important road ahead to bring everything to life. The building is in need of TLC including repairs, wood replacement, etc. all of which are taking place, and the team is deploying all their patience and energies to see this iconic building that so many San Diegans love, be brought back to life with a purpose that serves the community once again. Kristine and her team are incredibly thankful for all the love and encouragement they keep receiving. Let’s keep showing them our support for this labor of love!

Questions? Comments? You can reach out anytime or comment below.

Thank you!


About playground agencyplayground is an award-winning design and concept firm based in sunny California. We pair strategic consulting with design thinking to tell stories, build beautiful spaces and create immersive experiences. Never ordinary.

About the author: Caroline Abkar is an established Realtor and Bay Park resident who is absolutely passionate about the community as well as representing her clients in selling and acquiring the biggest investment of their lives. She will go above and beyond for those who place their trust in her.