Shatto building returns to Leucadia

The new Shatto Building in Leucadia.
(James Shatto)

A ribbon cutting was held for the new Shatto Building on June 1, celebrating the reopening of the building on the corner of Highway 101 and Daphne Street that was lost to fire in 2019.

“The old building was pretty iconic,” said owner James Shatto of the bright and colorful historic building. “I designed this to be more Leucadian than some of the newer buildings. All the time I get people that say ‘We really appreciate that you did something that fits Leucadia’. It’s important.”

The original building was constructed in the 1910s and was the first building in Encinitas to display a mural on its exterior walls. Shatto opened his custom t-shirt shop Shatto and Sons there in 1975 and has owned the building since 1979. It was like home, he remembers the days he used to bring his young son to work every day with a crib in the back of the shop.

At the time of the fire, the building also housed the Cali Life art gallery, Mozy Cafe and Peace Pies.

“The fire was totally devastating, we had been there for 44 years,” Shatto said.

His son Ryan has now taken over the business and will not be moving back into the building, doing his custom work for clients mainly online.

The new mural on the Shatto Building.
(James Shatto)

While Shatto jokes he’s now too “old and grumpy” to be sitting in a retail store all day, there is a touch of nostalgia about the old shop: “I miss it, I miss not having it,” he said.

After a difficult three-year process with the city, and construction costs tripling during the pandemic, he was finally able to get the building built and all four spaces are filled.

One spot will be filled by Leucadia Barbershop, which has been in business locally for nearly 30 years on the corner of the 101 and Diana Street, offering “good haircuts and bad advice”. They are making the move as their former space is becoming a dispensary.

Peace Pies, the vegan eatery that was in the original building for 12 years, is moving back in and the team behind Encinitas’ Valentina restaurant will take over two spaces to open Nacho’s Oyster Bar, a seafood concept. Their space features a roll-up door that opens up to the sidewalk.

“I’m very happy with the tenants that are going in there, every one of them is solid,” Shatto said.

“I feel really stoked on who got involved with the whole project, everyone was super cool people,” Shatto said of architect Warren Scott of Leucadia, the builder Wave Crest and C3 Bank in downtown Encinitas who did the financing. “They couldn’t have been any better.”

With the design of the building, he knew he probably wouldn’t be able to totally replicate what it once was. He envisioned the new building as looking a little “old fashioned” with coastal charm—a crisp white frontage with black and white striped awnings over picture windows. As a unique touch, Shatto added a special barn quilt at the top, a folk art element custom-made in Minnesota. The quilt is a nod to Shatto’s Midwestern roots—he spends every summer in Northeast Wisconsin at his home near Green Bay.

Bringing some color back to the corner, artist Kevin Anderson painted an impressive 70-foot mural on the south side of the building—the scene features flowers, palm trees, and birds over a crashing wave in the ocean.

The ribbon cutting for the new Shatto Building.
(Lisa Neely)

But perhaps Shatto’s favorite feature is the historical plaque that has been placed on the front of the building. It reads: “Lost to the fire October 1, 2019. Returned to Leucadia by James P. Shatto, June 1, 2023.”

He doesn’t think there’s a better way to say it and he hopes that the building will be an asset to his community.