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The Ritz Restaurant, the long-standing Fashion Island eatery that closed its doors in 2014, is re-emerging at a new location. The restaurant, which was known for its take on classic continental cuisine, seafood and cocktails, will be housed in the waterfront space along Newport Beach’s Mariners Mile, formerly occupied by the Chart House. It is slated to open sometime in August 2015. Lunch & Dinner daily. The Ritz Restaurant, 2801 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92663, no phone.
Lemonade, the Los Angeles-based, cafeteria-style restaurant, has opened its second location in Orange County. The new location can be found in the Park Place retail and apartment complex in Irvine. Like their flagship OC locale in Newport Beach, this eatery will be serving up a rotation of salads, sandwiches, braises and soups, along with a wide selection of lemonades. Lunch & Dinner daily. Lemonade, Park Place, 2967 Michelson Dr., Irvine, CA 92612, no phone.
Former HopScotch executive chef Cody Storts has opened Grits Fullerton. The downtown Fullerton venue, which is located just a couple blocks from Storts’ former stomping grounds, is a brunch spot serving up forward-thinking takes on Southern comfort food infused with California inspiration. Guests can enjoy standards like biscuits and gravy, or something a little more progressive like roasted pepper grits. Grits Fullerton, 133 W. Chapman Ave., #102, Fullerton, CA 92832, 714-449-0939.
Pour Vida Latin Flavor has opened in Anaheim’s Center Street Promenade. Owner/executive chef Jimmy Martinez, who previously worked at BOA Steakhouse and 41 Ocean Members Club in Santa Monica, oversees this relaxed Mexican restaurant, whose menu places an emphasis on tacos. The venue also serves up salads, along with fresh-pressed juices, craft beer and wine. Lunch & Dinner daily. Pour Vida Latin Flavor, 185 W. Center Street Promenade, Anaheim, CA 92805, 949-338-2806.
TAPS Fish House & Brewery has opened its second Orange County location. The new venue is situated within the sprawl of The Market Place in Irvine. Like its sister OC location in Brea, the restaurant features a menu of steaks and seafood, accompanied by a deep selection of craft beers, including several selections made by their own brewery. The venue will also roll out brunch every Sunday. Lunch & Dinner daily, Brunch Sun. TAPS Fish House & Brewery, The Market Place, 13390 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92602, 714-619-0404.
Sushi Roku, the popular Los Angeles-based sushi concept, has opened its doors in Fashion Island. As the name suggests, the venue serves up sushi and sashimi, along with an eclectic array of specialty rolls. The menu also features modern Japanese fare created with a California influence. Guests can round out their dining experience with a selection from the venue’s beer, wine and sake list. Sushi Roku Newport Beach, Fashion Island, 401 Newport Center Dr. Ste 327, Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-706-3622.
Luna Kutsi has opened in downtown Santa Ana, in the space formerly occupied by Memphis at the Santora. The restaurant is serving regional Mexican cuisine that encompasses the different traditions of the country’s eclectic culinary scene, from Baja California to the Yucatan peninsula and all spaces in between. The venue also features cocktails and late-night dining. For more information, visit www.lunakutsi.com. Dinner nightly. Luna Kutsi, 201 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701, no phone.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar, the Austin, Texas-based burger and beer restaurant, is opening its first location in Orange County this summer. The eatery will set up shop in Newport Beach’s swanky outdoor shopping center Fashion Island. The menu will be highlighted by a list of burgers featuring all-natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free Black Angus beef, which is grinded in-house. Guests will be able to pair their burgers with a selection from the list of local craft beers. Lunch & Dinner daily. Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Fashion Island, 401 Newport Coast Dr., Ste. 311, Newport Beach, CA 92660, No phone available.
Amar Santana, executive chef and owner of Laguna Beach’s Broadway by Amar Santana, has announced plans for a second restaurant. The new venue, Vaca, is slated to open in summer 2015 across the way from South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. The restaurant marks a return to Costa Mesa for Santana, who built up a solid following among dining patrons as executive chef at Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza. Vaca, 695 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, no phone.
Cucina Enoteca has rolled out a second Orange County location, in Newport Beach’s famed shopping center Fashion Island. Like the original OC space, the new space features an array of rustic Italian cuisine and an extensive list of wines that may be purchased at retail prices. Cucina Enoteca, Fashion Island, 401 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-706-1416.
Summer Wednesday Night BBQs at The Bungalow
The Bungalow holds their annual Summer Wednesday Night BBQ on the Patio every Wednesday. The Corona Del Mar eatery hosts this weekly event that allows guests to enjoy an upscale take on the traditional backyard barbecue. Select dishes include mesquite baby-back ribs, mesquite king salmon and half barbecue chicken. Dinner starts at 5 p.m., and reservations are recommended. The Bungalow, 2441 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, CA 92625, 949-673-6585.
Sunday Suppers at SOCIAL Costa Mesa
SOCIAL Costa Mesa hosts special Sunday Supper menus. Executive chef Jeffrey Boullt taps into his Southern roots by crafting a hearty weekly menu that emphasizes flavors and ingredients from the region, such as Cajun-style fried chicken and ham and cheddar biscuits. Bar director Mike West will also be creating fresh craft cocktails to pair with the dishes. SOCIAL Costa Mesa, 512 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627, 949-642-2425.
Unpretentious Wine Thursdays at Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street hosts Unpretentious Wine Thursdays, a monthly get-together designed to take the perceived starch out of wine tasting. Guests gather in the downtown Fullerton restaurant’s heated outdoor patio to enjoy pairings of wines from a selected vintner with the restaurant’s Cajun-inspired contemporary fare. The cost of the event is $20, and is slated to run from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. The event occurs on the third Thursday of the month. Bourbon Street, 110 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, CA 92832, 714-626-0050.
Executive chef Eric Samaniego has parted ways with Little Sparrow. He had been with the downtown Santa Ana restaurant since it opened in 2013. The restaurant’s sous chef, Melissa Ortiz, will be running the restaurant’s kitchen on an interim basis. Little Sparrow, 300 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92701, 714-265-7640.
Executive chef Vincent Lesage has departed the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach. The chef, who had taken the helm from longtime resort chef Josef Lageder last year, has accepted a position as executive chef as the resort’s sister property, Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara. Rachel Haggstrom, who was Lesage’s chef de cuisine, has officially been appointed as the property’s new executive chef, where she will oversee its two main eateries, Waterline and A + O Kitchen & Bar. Waterline, Balboa Bay Resort, 1221 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92663, 949-630-4145.
Scott Brandon is no longer the executive chef at Fireside An American Tavern. No reasons for his departure was announced. The Costa Mesa venue, which is housed inside the Crowne Plaza Costa Mesa hotel, has not named a replacement chef. Fireside An American Tavern, Crowne Plaza Costa Mesa Orange County, 3131 S. Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-913-9061.
The Globe Dine Bar in Garden Grove has closed its doors. The restaurant, which was known for serving global cuisine, and its massive collection of Belgian beers on tap, is planning to re-emerge next year in a different location with a new name --- New World Abbey. No plans for a replacement restaurant in the venue’s old space have been announced. The Globe Dine Bar, 12926 Main St., Garden Grove, CA 92840, no phone.
Pinot Provence in Costa Mesa has closed its doors, after serving French cuisine for 18 years. The restaurant, which was located within the Westin South Coast Plaza, served its final meal June 19. No plans for a replacement venue have been announced. Pinot Provence, The Westin South Coast Plaza, South Coast Plaza, 686 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, no phone.
Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza closed its doors after a seven-year run. The restaurant had been one of the culinary flagships of the famed Costa Mesa shopping center. It will be replaced with gourmet burger concept Holsteins Shakes and Buns. The new eatery, whose original location is in The Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, is slated to open in August 2015. Charlie Palmer's at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, no phone.
View our calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in Orange County