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Sofa, so good: The Living Room reopens at a larger La Jolla spot

The Living Room La Jolla lives on, having unpacked at its new location at 1205 Prospect St. in the Manchester Financial Building.

The cafe opened Jan 1, after The Living Room closed its original location a few blocks away after 30 years. Within the next week, The Living Room will expand its menu to include full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, taking advantage of the palatial kitchen it now boasts.  And that’s not the only expansion, owner Sam Azzu said. The new Living Room digs will include “The Living Room Lounge,” a speakeasy-like space towards the back that will bring live music, from jazz to open mic nights, to La Jolla, along with a full bar “heavy on whiskies and bourbons.”

We're gonna have fun with it,” Azzu said. “It's a great facility and we're going to put it to use and … bring some night life into La Jolla.”


The Lounge should be ready by the end of January, he said.

The new space, formerly Amaya restaurant, came with the decor and furnishings, and is four times the square footage of the previous Living Room La Jolla. 

“We’re fortunate,” Azzu said, noting the new, 20-year-plus lease followed years of issues at the previous location. 

“We’ve been fighting our existence in La Jolla since 2008,” he said, citing a series of building management problems. 


The new location “made the most sense,” Azzus said, adding the Manchester Financial Group is a “class act.”

Reflecting that the cafe’s new spot isn’t just a relocation but an entire improvement, Azzu said “we all go through moments like this. The easy thing is to just sit in a corner and lick your wounds and feel sorry for how unfair life has been to you.”

The Living Room “is my livelihood,” he said, as it is for so many of his employees, some of whom have worked there for more than 20 years. 

“I have a whole family: mother, father, two daughters [who] work here,” he said. “They’ve been with me for over 19 years.”

Azzu has learned through the last few months that “The Living Room means so much to so many people.”

He noted one story in particular: current employee Ashley Asadi’s parents’ first date was at The Living Room.

“My dad [has] brought me here since I was five,” Asadi said. “To move was bittersweet, but this is a total upgrade.” 

“The Living Room really is a big part of our community,” Azzu said. “It’s a melting pot” attracting many from various cultures. “Everybody gets along.”

Noting the cafe “was built by people that came from all different parts of the world,” he said The Living Room “provides a service,” a place to study or work that stays true to the original concept of a coffee shop. 

“We want to keep these doors open for the community.”

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.
Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.

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