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Thursday, October 12, 2023



By Thomas Shess founder of daily online magazine--Before I over do it with a bit of homey happiness regarding a historic North Park success story, let’s have some back story. 

Back in the 1990s while our family founded from scratch and ran the North Park News, we got wind of a story that certain real estate entities (with a religious agenda) wanted to turn the iconic LaFayette Hotel on El Cajon Boulevard into a homeless shelter. 

We investigated and learned the developers believed the hotel was run down and not capable of being a viable business. Hogwash. The LaFayette Hotel was being run by lame elements. After bringing it to the attention of the community, including then District 3 councilwoman Christine Kehoe AND enlightened business leaders like Bud Fischer (the man who gave birth to the Gaslamp District we all enjoy today) the LaFayette was saved. 

Bud found some business partners and they took over the hotel. They teamed with a hotel management firm and restored the (circa 1946) nee Larry Imig Manor aka LaFayette Hotel to a glorious new existence. 


Tom Shess photo.
Bud Fischer, left, stands at the bottom of the empty LaFayette Hotel’s Olympic size swimming pool that was undergoing renovation back in the 1990s.

 History of North Park will forever be kind to Bud and Esther Fischer for he also contributed big time to the saving of the North Park Theatre. 

But this being 2023, the return to glory of the current LaFayette Hotel redux, owes a proverbial huge debt of gratitude to one man Arsalun Tafazoli, who purchased the hotel in 2022. 

 He’s the enlightened and highly successful founder of Consortium Holdings (CH Projects). CH Projects is responsible for San Diego hospitality raves like Born & Raised, Morning Glory, Part Time Lover and Raised by Wolves. 

North Park watchers expected a big menu of creativity because CH Project has a huge reputation for opening restaurants/bars that are fun and profitable. Two ingredients you can’t live without when baking a new cherry pie. What’s that mean? Who cares, it reads well. The project sort of snuck up on everyone. No one expected Tafazoli’s fiscal troupe to invest $31 million on the 2023 version of the LaFayette Hotel. Yikes! He did. 

And, ladies, gentlemen and others, the joint is over the top. 

Arsalun Tafazoli

Tafazoli speaks! “The LaFayette Hotel & Club is the culmination of every project we’ve undertaken since our inception 17 years ago, when we dreamed of creating social spaces that honestly reflect San Diego’s underappreciated and misrepresented cultural scene. As stubborn advocates for the city, we are obsessive about creating experiences for the community that both celebrate our weird, wonderful pockets of subculture and provide elements of escapism. A hotel is the pinnacle of hospitality, the most complex canvas on which people can socialize and connect deeply and we hope this new incarnation of The LaFayette Hotel & Club reflects our mission to honor tradition while making something nw and surreal to discover.” 

 Forward thinking by CH Project leaders led to the creation of Beginners Diner. This 24-hour foodie instant classic inside the LaFayette has the feel as if it has always been there with the hotel somehow built around the concept.  A diner historian fine tuned the details down to the placemats, flatware, and fountain drinks. The diner’s chrome storefront and bold neon signage stand out becoming a beacon that signals visitors to explore what is beyond. 


The concept is a tribute to the Americana hero dishes that helped democratize restaurants midcentury with a nod to traditional Greek and Jewish food influences. 

 Other LaFayette bar and restaurant elements include The Lobby Bar; Quixote and The Pool Bar. 

 Locals and Tourists can find the LaFayette Hotel and Beginners Diner at 2223 El Cajon Blvd. in North Park. 


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