Nicky Rottens: Ringing in the New Year with the Promise of Many More to Come

Nicky Rottens at 100 Orange Ave, Coronado

This time of the year can’t help but invite reflection. It’s the end of the holiday season, the end of the tax year, the end of the calendar year…. All with the promise of a fresh start as the new year cusps on the horizon.

Certainly, in Coronado, the December uptick of tourists and related festivities punctuate the end of another year. And of course, recent changes to the retail landscape of Orange Avenue give rise to questions about what will come anew.

But regardless of the inevitable changes that accompany year-end, some things remain constant and steadfast. In Coronado, irrespective of the ever-changing face of Orange Avenue, a jewel that has earned ‘institution’ status in the Crown City is neighborhood ‘bar and burger joint,’ Nicky Rottens.

Nicky Rottens on 1st and Orange

According to Bryn Butolph, who has been the Chief Financial Officer and overall strategist behind the business for the past five years, Nicky Rottens intends to stay indefinitely at their enviable location at 1st and Orange, with a promise to honor their long-time, loyal patrons – as well as help to strengthen the Coronado community:

“Since Day 1, we have focused on the locals. Maybe it’s because we are away from the hub of the busiest tourist traffic, but we really aren’t caught up in the same challenges as those further up Orange Ave. We have a 30-year lease on this place. Nicky Rottens won’t be going anywhere.”

True to their mission of being supportive of their local home of Coronado, Nicky Rottens has been a lead supporter in many community efforts. In August of this year, they championed a burger cook-out for the CHS football team, donating 100% of the proceeds towards the new weight room. The spring Little League snack bar was sponsored by Nicky Rottens in aid of funding lights for the field. Each year, the ‘bar and burger joint’ hosts the Coronado Police Departments Tip-a-Cop fundraiser to support Special Olympics, the Coronado Fire Department ‘Fill the Boot” fundraiser for the San Diego Burn Institute, and many other day-to-day initiatives which include happy hours and a generous military discount.

Nicky Rottens Supports Coronado SAFE

Perhaps one of the most heartening aspects of Nicky Rottens’ policy of ‘giving back’ is that they remain humble about their mission. Despite the hundreds of social media posts advertising their promotions and menu items, they rarely promote their generosity and community service which is purposeful, according to Bryn:

“I’m sure I could look through the books to see what all we have done, but that’s never been something we want or need to boast about. We just want to be good neighbors and help out where we can.”

Butolph, a proud Coronado Rotarian, believes that visibility in the community and grass-roots involvement is the key to good business.

Nicky Rottens CEO Bryn Butolph in the Coronado Community

“I love this place, I really do,” says Bryn, “Nicky Rottens is the most affordable place on the island, and we want to keep it that way. Sure we could raise our prices, but as long as our bills are paid and our employees and customers are happy – there’s no reason to line our pockets just because we can.”

Five years ago, Bryn Butolph took over the restaurant and has been purposefully growing it with as many ties to the community as possible. A unique hallmark of their business model under Butolph’s direction is the hiring policy. As well as employing many students from Coronado High School, Butolph recently formed a partnership with the CHS WorkAbility program, which provides employment skills and workplace training to students with mild to severe special educational needs. Nicky Rottens currently employs five students through the WorkAbility program Monday through Friday.

Beyond Nicky Rottens, Bryn runs a number of other businesses – including hospitality consulting group, Cornerstone Hospitality Consulting, and Eat Clean Meal Prep, an organic meal delivery service he co-owns with husband, Eric.

So what New Year’s Resolutions has Bryn decided upon as he reflects on this year and looks to the next? Bryn smiles as he shares a photo of his master calendar — detailing a color-coded projection to 2032:

“I’ve got plans well beyond 2019…”, muses Butolph about his business plans and aspirations towards politics and public office.

If his track record with Nicky Rottens is any indication, Butolph’s resolutions might be the rare New Year’s Eve variety to actually come true.

Nicky Rottens Bar & Burger Joint is located at 100 Orange Avenue and is open Monday-Saturday 11:00am-10:30pm; Sundays 9:30am-10:30pm

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Aimee Richer
Aimee was a ‘nado Navy baby in the 1970’s, where her love for adventure and travel began. After growing up and finishing college in the Midwest, Aimee spent more than a decade living and traveling overseas. She returned to the US in 2009, and made her way back to Coronado to raise her own baby – now a first grader at Village Elementary. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: