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Mayor Tony Kranz sharing his Leucadia memories with Lick the Plate's David Boylan. Photo by David Boylan
Mayor Tony Kranz sharing his Leucadia memories with Lick the Plate's David Boylan. Photo by David Boylan
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Talking food, music and Encinitas with Mayor Tony Kranz

Since moving to Encinitas 23 years ago, I’ve always been intrigued (and a little jealous) of folks that had the good fortune of growing up here. From the quality of life to the small-town vibe and the area’s affordability, it was a great place to raise a family.

Newly-elected mayor Tony Kranz is lucky enough to experience all that. I had the opportunity to sit down with him in my front yard in Leucadia to hear his account of growing up on Requeza Street in a home that cost his parents $14,000 in 1960. Yes, you heard that right!

We recently recorded a Lick the Plate on the Mightier 1090 radio show. Tony shared memories of growing up in Encinitas, his road to becoming mayor, food, and music stories! Some highlights from that conversation are below or at

LTP: Tell me about your family and how they ended up in Encinitas.

Tony: My dad was a WWII Marine that survived four battles in the Pacific, including Iwo Jima. He returned to Minnesota after the war, became a PE teacher and coach, and was hired at Earl Warren Junior High in 1960.

I was nine months old with a big brother and sister when we arrived on a VW bus. But three more sisters and another brother would follow. We rolled into town in the summer of 1960. My mom drove the bus with my granny riding shotgun and three kids under 4, two in diapers.

A young Tony Kranz seated in the front of a wagon. The VW bus that transported the family west is parked in the garage behind him. Courtesy photo/Tony Kranz
A young Tony Kranz is seated in the front of a wagon. The VW bus that transported the family west is parked in the garage behind him. Courtesy photo/Tony Kranz

Rumor has it my bottle was spiked with Scotch more than once to help calm everyone’s nerves on the ride from Minnesota. My dad drove a truck, so he was enjoying the ride solo.

I asked my dad once why we lived in Encinitas if he was teaching at Earl Warren in Solana Beach, and he said they kept driving north until they found a home they could afford. They bought the house at 110 Requeza, then purchased a lot at 463 Ocean View Avenue in 1964, where they built a home.

LTP: What was family life like in the Kranz household? Was something great coming out of the kitchen that you looked forward to?

Tony: Our house was quite chaotic. My dad coached every season, so there were always games after school. That left the seven of us kids raising hell at home, and we were a bit overwhelming to my mom. Eventually, all seven of us were involved in after-school activities, compounding the chaos. But it was mostly good. As for food, my mom wasn’t too into cooking, so it was pretty casual meat and potatoes, standard fare.

LTP: Having grown up in Encinitas, what are some of your fondest early memories of the town back then?

Tony: It was great growing up in the 60s and 70s. There was a lot of freedom to run around town and hang out with friends. Encinitas was known as the Flower Capitol of the World then, so greenhouses were everywhere. The Ecke Ranch was selling poinsettias around the world. Surfing was taking over the town with Hansen’s and Sunset Surfboards. Those were some heady times.

LTP: What were your local hangouts?

Tony: I spent a lot of time at Ecke Field during my Little League baseball days. I could get there by crossing under the freeway in a 48-inch storm drainpipe. There were summers at the beach, usually Stonesteps or Moonlight. Eventually, my dad put me to work at the softball fields on Lake Drive, where I was the Umpire in Chief of the men’s slow-pitch softball league.

The Ocean Knoll kindergarten class of 1964. Tony Kranz is top row, seventh from left. Courtesy photo/Tony Kranz
The Ocean Knoll kindergarten class in 1964. Tony Kranz is top row, seventh from left. Courtesy photo/Tony Kranz

LTP: As a surfer and football player, what local restaurants did you frequent to feed your growing appetite?

Tony: I loved my trips to Besta Wan pizza and was a regular at all the fast food restaurants, sorry to say. I also ate way too many doughnuts from VG’s.

LTP: What role did music play in your early years? Do any local concerts stand out in your memory?

Tony: Music was always a big part of my life but also a source of some tension. My dad was part of a barbershop quartet and didn’t much care for rock music. I would go to sleep at night to music on my radio, and when my parents got tired of coming upstairs to turn it off, they bought me a new-fangled clock radio that would shut itself off after 30 minutes. I always had it tuned to KCBQ.

I didn’t get to attend many concerts, but I remember my first was to see Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Sports Arena. I went with my good friend Tom Field and his big brother Dan, who was a regular user of smokeless tobacco. He gave me a pinch of his Copenhagen at the concert, and it didn’t end well.

LTP: What happened when you turned 18? I’d like you to please take me down your professional road to becoming mayor of your hometown.

Tony: After graduating from San Dieguito in 1977, I headed to Palomar. I decided to see if I could make the Comets football team and did, playing for two years. That helped me get admitted to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and my major was graphic communications, which is what I made my career.

One important side trip was enlisting in the Alaska Army National Guard, where I received training as an air traffic controller. I met my wife after my National Guard training, a long-time local, Cynthia Blodgett. We have been married for 38 years and have three kids and five grandkids. It’s a wonderful life.

LTP: With Encinitas having become somewhat of a foodie destination, what are some of your favorite new eating spots?

Tony: It’s hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to, it’s probably the Bier Garden. Great people work there, and the food is always tasty — plus plenty of good beers.

LTP: How about old standbys?

Tony: Besta Wan is still delicious, and I eat dinner at Cap’n Keno’s now and again. Juanita’s rolled taco plate is always easy to digest.

LTP: What motivated you to run for mayor? What are some of the good and bad parts of the job?

Tony: After growing up here and serving on the city council for 10 years, the opportunity to serve as mayor was something I felt well-prepared to do. It’s good to be in a position to play a part in the constant change of a coastal city like Encinitas. The hard part has been trying to find ways to pay for the mitigation necessary to accommodate the growth.

LTP: Do you have any final words about the direction of Encinitas and your role in shaping that?

Tony: Encinitas is still, and will always be, one of the greatest places on earth to live. I will do everything I can to preserve what’s best about it.

1 comment

steve333 February 21, 2023 at 2:06 pm

Astonishes me that someone who grew up here would participate in the State’s destruction of everything good about California.
No one who voted for The Goodson Project can say that he will do everything to preserve what’s best about Encinitas.
Blakespear was a sell out and Kranz follows in her footsteps.

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