You Voted: Here Are Your Favorite New Business Owners in North Park

The Votes are In!

Written By: Mayandra Robbins New Business in North Park

Alright San Diego, the polls are in! You’ve told us who your top five favorite business owners in North Park are. We reached out to these inspired proprietors and found out a little something new about North Park’s finest. From cozy coffee comforts, matcha magic and donut glory to mouth-watering home brewed goodness, these daring entrepreneurs have reflected the unique vibe and awe-inspiring passions of the North Park community.


Geraldine Ridaura, Holy Matcha

Q: How did your trip to Japan inspire you to create Holy Matcha?

Geraldine Ridaura: I wouldn’t say that my trip to Japan inspired as much as it reinforced my love and respect for matcha. But it did get me more hooked on the culture. What really inspired me was my trip to New York and how they had so many matcha cafes, but San Diego never had any.

Q: What made you decide to become a Matcha Connoisseur?

GR: Actually, I can’t drink coffee anymore and I needed a substitute for my morning fix. I was a huge coffee drinker but suddenly my body just didn’t react well to it. At one time, I went to my doctor and he told me to listen to my body, so I tried another cup and my body couldn’t handle it. So then my doctor told me to try tea and I was like ‘What? You can’t tell a coffee drinker to try tea. That’s crazy.’ So then one day my mother was drinking matcha and told me to try it and I was like ‘Oh, I like it.’

Q: What is your favorite food and drink combo at Holy Matcha?

GR: That’s a hard one, but it depends on the mood. Of course I love The Ceremonial, it’s as traditional as it gets. But I also like the Matcha Horchata. It was so much fun figuring out how to make it. It’s made from scratch with pure organic vanilla using my grandmother’s horchata recipe. I had to mess with it to make it dairy free, but it’s one of the most fun drinks.

Q: Where is your favorite place to go on a day off?

GR: I don’t really have days off since Holy Matcha is like my baby, but if I closed my eyes and imagined, then I would probably stay home, mess with some recipes and have my cat with me.

Q: How does it feel to be voted one of North Park’s Top New Business Owners?

GR: Surreal. It feels very surreal. I’m still young, I own my own business, and it blows my mind when I talk to people and tell them I own my own business. It’s an honor! It’s very humbling and very cool. I love North Park and I was just honored and excited to even be considered.

3118 University Ave
San Diego CA, 92104


Brian Beechler, Grinds & Vine Coffee Bar

Q: What inspired you to create Grinds & Vine Coffee Bar?

Brian Beechler: I wanted to fill a niche in the area we are in and create a type of urban winery and coffee bar. We are in a separate but cohesive business with the winery and we wanted to create a community atmosphere where we could create memories and give our customers high quality service.

Q: What is your favorite type of coffee to drink?

BB: The fact that I was born and raised in San Diego where it’s sunny and 70 degrees all the time, I would definitely say a cold brew.

Q: What sets your coffee bar apart from other shops?

BB: We are unique and offer a great service with great food and drinks for a reasonable price. We also wanted to build a culture with our staff and our customers so everyone feels okay to come and stay and enjoy. We are a community.

Q: Where will you be on a day off?

BB: Petco Park. Baseball is my passion and my drive. I think this is where the whole team player and building a family culture with my staff and customers comes from.

Q: How does it feel to be voted one of North Park’s Top New Business Owners?

BB: Very humbling. And I’m much honored to be nominated and even picked. I’m just thankful for this and very blessed.

2419 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego CA, 92104


Nick Apostolopoulos, 619 Distillery and Tasting Room

Q: What inspired you to create 619 Vodka?

Nick Apostolopoulos: I wanted to create a local line of spirits that would be equivalent to craft beer products in San Diego while using local products and fresh ingredients.

Q: What is your favorite food and drink combination?

NA: I don’t know if I can pick my favorite food and drink combination since there are so many. But we do make this coffee infused vodka, which I drink on the rocks. It’s like a cold iced coffee, which is very delicious.

Q: What sets your spirits apart from others?

NA: We work with local farmers and use fresh ingredients, which we infuse with our vodkas in house.

Q: Did you ever think you would be able to create such a successful distillery given the hurdles created by the previous California law?

NA: At first, no. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to get into the business. The California law required us to send in a list of our ingredients used, but they weren’t used to seeing distilleries incorporate fresh ingredients in their products, which caused a few hurdles. But as more local distilleries began to pop up, we were able to create the 619 brand.

Q: How does it feel to be voted one of North Park’s Top New Business Owners?

NA: It’s really cool and it validates what we have been doing for the past few years. It’s a really cool experience.

3015 Lincoln Ave
San Diego CA, 92104

Brad Keiller, Nomad Donuts

Q: How did you get the nickname of B-Rad?

Brad Keiller: I think a friend in OB gave it to me after ‘Malibu’s Most Wanted’ came out.

Q: Out of all the donuts you serve, why is the White Chocolate Mint with Passion Fruit Jalapeno Drizzle one of your favorites?

BK: This one has an amazing contrast. At first you are hit with the sweetness of the white chocolate followed by the cool sensation of the mint. Then you experience the fruity tang of the passion fruit and a kick of heat from the jalapeno.

Q: What inspired you to create Nomad Donuts?

BK: It was actually a friend’s idea. It started in a lull between waves while we were surfing. I asked him what his goal in life was, and he told me he wanted to open a gourmet donut shop. From there it turned into a business plan and then it became Nomad Donuts.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

BK: Ride my motorcycle, since California and Baja are the perfect places to ride.

Q: How does it feel to be voted one of North Park’s Top New Business Owners?

BK: It’s pretty cool actually. When we started Nomad Donuts, we really wanted to contribute back to our community. It is important for all of us to make sure that we are a part of our community.

4504 30th St
San Diego CA, 92116

Kelsey McNair,  North Park Beer Co.

Q: What is Hop-Fu?

Kelsey McNair: Hop-Fu! is the name of an American-style Indian pale ale that [we] have been trying to perfect. The beer itself is a homage to the many awesome Indian pale ales that are brewed on the West Coast.

Q: Why did you choose to open North Park Beer Co. instead of continuing as a game developer?

KM: I left the games industry to start a brewery because I experienced a shift in passion. I discovered that I had found brewing beer to be more rewarding at every step of the process. There’s just something magical about creating beer.

Q: What is your favorite food and beer combination?

KM: This is a tough one as there are many good ones! In recent memory, we hosted a beer dinner in March where one of the courses involved pairing a rich malty brown ale with a dish featuring smoked duck breast and cherries. We even smoked the glasses with Applewood prior to pouring in the beer, which created an aromatic bridge between the smoky rich duck and the beer. It was pretty spectacular.

Q: Where will you be on a day off?

KM: On those rare days off, my family and I tend to stay local.

Q: How does it feel to be voted one of North Park’s Top New Business Owners?

KM: This was an honor! I live in North Park with my wife and my daughter. We definitely live a very ‘local’ lifestyle. We love to patronize the locally owned neighborhood business in our hood. To be recognized among these other business owners, all of whom I have big respect for, is truly humbling.

3038 University Ave
San Diego CA, 92104
Check out These New North Park Businesses This Weekend

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