The Cottage in La Jolla Celebrates 30 Years With Encinitas Expansion

Set in a charming, Victorian-era bungalow, The Cottage has been a La Jollan institution since its formation in 1992, when founders Laura and John Wolfe transformed a hole-in-the-wall pastry shop into the full-service restaurant that still exists today. 

Now, as the seaside café rings in three decades of ‘icon status’ on Fay Avenue, a long-awaited expansion comes to fruition with the recent opening of The Cottage Encinitas.

The North County outpost marks a promising, post-pandemic win for Jason Peaslee, former investor and current owner of The Cottage.

Cottage Encinitas

A fellow San Diegan, Jason first staked his claim in the ever-popular eatery in 2005. His partnership with the Wolfe Family came to pass following a 15-year tenure at Piatti Ristorante & Bar, during which, he mastered just about every facet of the business under the tutelage of restaurateur and community figurehead Barbara Beltaire.

In 2015, Jason left The Cottage to finance his acquisition of Grant’s Marketplace in South Park. A few years later, when the Wolfe Family decided to sell The Cottage outright, Jason made a triumphant return, purchasing the concept in its entirety.

A launchpad for growth

Since becoming co-proprietors of The Cottage in 2018, expanding upon the brand’s legacy had been a top priority for both Jason and his business partner, Bernardo Kanarek. Their search for La Jolla’s perfect counterpart took patience, legwork, and kismet.

Having scouted locations aplenty throughout San Diego County, Encinitas emerged as the obvious market to pilot a single-unit expansion.

For one, Encinitas businesses have tapped into a growing share of SoCal tourism, owing to the North County’s surge of celebrity chefs, luxury resorts, and vacation-worthy attractions in recent years. Encinitas also serves as a ‘crossroads’ of sorts, bridging several townships and neighborhoods, like La Costa, Carlsbad, Olivenhain and Rancho Santa Fe, where The Cottage already has a strong clientele.

“We’ve been very selective and circumspect in our growth strategy,” said Jason. “Expanding into a second location after such a storied past and solidified legacy, we wanted to find a place with the same beach town appeal and community-driven culture that’s sustained The Cottage’s success all these years, and Encinitas checks all of those boxes.”

So, in October 2021, Jason inked a 15-year lease agreement, and in late June 2022, The Cottage Encinitas made its debut.

Located within Encinitas Village, the recently-renovated shopping center on El Camino Real and Encinitas Boulevard, the 3,500-square-foot outpost neighbors a curated mix of best-in-class retail, including one of Southern California’s top-grossing Trader Joe’s, alongside national brands and locally-owned eateries.

Cottage Encinitas interior

The Cottage Encinitas was designed to echo the coastal craftsman aesthetic of its flagship storefront.

Passing through the 700-square-foot patio and stepping inside, guests are met with a cozy bar area and retail counter, where a display case is filled with freshly baked goodies, alongside pre-packaged bundles of The Cottage’s bestselling granola and 16oz. bags of their signature coffee blends, which are batched and processed on-site at The Cottage Encinitas’s in-house roastery.

Further back, patchwork ceramic floors, tufted upholstered booths, and rustic café-style seating fill the interior’s dining room, while two locally-commissioned murals preen the walls with vibrant, site-specific paintings.

The Cottage’s rotating art program will see these artworks put on auction in the coming months; proceeds from the sale will go to a local nonprofit benefitting early education.

upholstered booths at Cottage Encinitas

On the menu

A Marine Corps veteran, Executive Chef Paolo Chan joined The Cottage in 2019 with nearly a decade of culinary experience under his belt, including a stint as Sous Chef at Omni Hotel’s McCormick & Schmick and an Executive Chef position at Edgewater Grill, Seaport Village’s waterfront eatery. Now, broadening his purview, Chef Paolo presides over The Cottage’s quintessential American-SoCal cuisine at both kitchens.

At the new breakfast-to-lunch café, the menu parallels that of La Jolla’s, honoring all the ‘OG’ classic and cult favorites like the Stuffed French Toast, Avocado Smash and Capellini Crab Cakes, alongside a robust lineup of espresso beverages, wine, beer and low-ABV sippers.

Moreover, fresh fare like Crab and Prosciutto Benedict, Charred Octopus Salad and Leg of Lamb Sandwich will be exclusive to the Encinitas location, in addition to added plant-based offerings like Tofu “Huevos” Ranchero and Cauliflower and Lentil Curry.

brunch spread

See you there!

The Cottage Encinitas is located at 127 N El Camino Real Suite H. Open daily at 7:30AM to 3PM. For reservations call (760) 854-4212. Access more information and menus online here.

See you there, San Diego!