The last decade in North Park has been a whirlwind of sorts. All the crusty, sketchy businesses that dominated the stretch on University Avenue from Hillcrest to I-805 have slowly disappeared and been replaced with small stores owned and operated by the people who live and take pride in the area.
The resurgence all started when the refurbished North Park Theatre reopened its doors in 2005, and businesses such as Caffé Calabria and Ranchos Cocina Mexican restaurant moved into the area in the early 2000s. Since then, the area has undergone a boom and has reinvented itself as a hipster/aging punk rocker/craft beer/foodie loving Mecca.
Along with the new businesses, newly renovated homes also are being snatched up at record pace and great funky new businesses, owned by locals, continue to pop up weekly. One of them being a small, cold-pressed juice company called Lucky Dutch.
Owner Jonny Dunhowe and his business partner, Starlene Roop, have lived in the area for more than 25 years. Both have seen the North and South Park areas go through their modern growth explosions.
Locally owned, locally grown
Dunhowe and Roop met decades ago through mutual acquaintances after a punk show at the Casbah and have remained close ever since. In June of last year the pair was having a drink at The Lancers Cocktail Lounge in University Heights when Dunhowe mentioned that he wanted to change gears with his career.
At the time, Dunhowe was a photographer/journalist for Transworld Skateboarding magazine, but wanted to share his passion for farming, gardening and clean food with his friends and community. He saw a need for introducing this passion into his Mid-City neighborhood and decided to roll the dice and start something new.
He mentioned the idea about the business to Roop, and she immediately wanted to hear more about the project and figure out how she could join Dunhowe to make the dream happen. Like Dunhowe, Roop also had a great job for 20 years, but wanted something else to spark the creative juices within her and the new business idea was just the thing she was looking for.
Enter Lucky Dutch
In January, the two officially opened their small storefront and launched a business that seems totally opposite from the punk rock and bar scene the two had worked in for many years.
The name of the brand comes from Dunhowe’s little doggy Lucky and his dog’s best friend named Dutch.
The name felt right to the duo and, after all, who doesn’t love dogs? Both Luck and Dutch are the stars of the juice brand’s labels.
Cold-pressed juice has become all the rage recently, especially in San Diego, but the thing that’s so appealing about Lucky Dutch is the fun recipes. Best-selling flavors include Blood Orange Mexican Candy (blood oranges, tamarind, apple cider vinegar, raw coconut sugar) and the new mix, Dane Coffee Roasters cold brew coffee, which is made with fresh coffee, coconut milk, cacao and raw coconut sugar. Lucky Dutch posts daily menus on Instagram @luckydutchjuiceco.
When asked about the ingredients Dunhowe was proud to say that all produce and ingredients are sourced from local farms and must be organic and delivered fresh throughout the week. Unlike some larger juice brands, Lucky Dutch does not use preservatives in their products and drinks are all natural, made in small batches and with a natural shelf life of four days. It truly is hand-crafted and made with pride.
Lucky Dutch is more than happy to deliver fresh made product anywhere in the Mid-City area (Hillcrest, Normal Heights, South Park, North Park, University Heights and Kensington) for free.
Lucky Dutch is located 2581 University Ave. in North Park and is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-3 p.m., and weekends 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information about their juice, or for delivery requests, retail partners and their daily juice menu, call (619) 228-9859. Menus and Farmer’s Market locations are available on their Facebook page at facebook.com/luckydutchsd.