CARLSBAD — For the past 21 years, Mas Fina Cantina has been a favorite among locals.
The Mexican restaurant nestled on State Street has long been a place for residents to gather for good food and drink in the heart of Carlsbad Village.
However, Mas Fina Cantina will permanently close its doors on Sept. 30 to make way for Carlsbad Station, a new mixed-use development, prompting regulars to say their goodbyes and grab their final meals at the popular eatery.
“It’s called my other home,” said Jodie Austin, a longtime regular holding back tears. “It’s horrible. We can’t recreate the wonderful people, service and bartenders. It is all going to be split up.”
Mas Fina Cantina hosted its own going-away party on Sept. 24, serving a packed house until the restaurant’s doors closed at 2 a.m., according to the restaurant’s general manager Rich Van Dyke.
Van Dyke said the restaurant prepared for a larger-than-average crowd by overstocking food and drinks, but the sheer volume of customers throughout the day led to record sales, and many items were quickly sold out.
Nothing formal is planned for Mas Fina Cantina’s final day of operations, but Van Dyke expects the shop to be busy.
After opening in 2001, Andy Davis, owner of The Compass in Village Faire, purchased the restaurant in 2005. While Davis tried to find another location for Mas Fina Cantina along State Street and even attempted to get a lease at O’Sullivan’s on Grand Avenue, the deals fell through, Van Dyke said.
“We’re looking for a new location, but it could take several years,” Van Dyke said. “We have a great team, and we don’t know if they will return once we find a new location.”
In 2020, the Carlsbad City Council approved developer McKellar McGowan’s Carlsbad Station project consisting of 79 residential and four commercial units in two buildings along State and Roosevelt streets between Grand and Beech avenues.
The development will include 12 affordable housing units with 143 underground parking spaces. Each dwelling unit will range in size from 747 to 2,840 square feet.
Carlsbad Station will surround State Street Commons on State Street, a newer redevelopment project that includes Lofty Coffee, Nick’s on State, Pure Taco and working spaces.
In addition to Mas Fina Cantina and Hennessey’s Tavern, the 177,95-square-foot development will displace Carlsbad Yoga and Karlsbad Realty, among other spots.