New Seafood Soul Food Restaurant Opens on El Cajon Blvd
By Brian Goodin
Photos by Brian Goodin
Located at 7229 El Cajon Blvd in San Diego, if you’re craving the best in authentic soul food Surf & Soul is the right place to go. It’s a little spot on the south side of the street with a very clean and respectable swag, just like its owners. Sarajevo Petty and Sergio Bailey, a one time Tampa Bay Buccaneer in the Nation Football League (NFL), who currently plays in the XFL Football League for the Seattle Dragons, own Surf & Soul. It is refreshing to know that, in a city that seems to have entrepreneurs from around the globe, this dynamic duo comes straight out of Southeast San Diego.
Surf & Soul Spot Restaurant has a varying menu. Monday-Wednesday is SURF 11 am-7 pm. It consists of the seafood side of the menu. Friday-Saturday 12 pm until sold out is the SOUL side of things. Whichever day you decide to show up you will not be disappointed. You can look forward to everything from Popcorn Shrimp & Grits to Golden Fried Chicken Wings. Those are a few tantalizing items on the menu and you sure may want to get your taste buds going with a customer favorite, the SouthEast Dirty Smothered Fries.
Humble beginnings are certainly a part of this dream coming into fruition for Sarajevo. She went to culinary school and soon after found herself working for Hyatt Hotels as a chef. It didn’t take long for her to let go of the reins of corporate cooking to start doing her own thing out of a side room of a local church. She got encouragement from her godmother, Shirley Mills, an attorney here in town. Sarajevo’s godmother also coined the name Surf & Soul Spot, and filled up her first refrigerator freezer with food to get Sarajevo started.
Sergio Bailey, a former student at Olympian High School and Grossmont College, was away at the time of this interview, but his presence was very evident in the efforts that helped Sarajevo be front and center, running their business to perfection. Sarajevo is a graduate from San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts and serves as the quarterback of this smoking operation. In exemplary fashion, something we rarely see in the Southeast community where outstanding professional athletes seem to be a dime a dozen, Sergio put his money where his mouth is, getting behind someone else’s dream. The result is Surf & Soul, a restaurant we can all be proud of.
It is a pleasure to see the business thrive. Sarajevo was not shy in sharing her faith in God. She wants people to know her early success in these few months of entrepreneurship has everything to do with her tithing, something she’s been doing for a while. Lots of customers come into the store, including a very prominent man of God. Senior Pastor Brooks from Bayview Baptist Church walked in the door with his wife and a small group of young Christian brothers. Imagine, there must really be something special about this SOUL food at the Surf & Soul Spot.