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An update on Laguna restaurants (where creativity reigns!)

By Diane Armitage

For the last two weeks, our Laguna Beach restaurants have been grappling with decisions on whether to temporarily close or try the take-out/delivery route. 

Last Friday, I reported that nearly 80 Laguna Beach restaurants were opting for take-out and delivery. Since that time, we’ve dropped to 67 restaurants open, but that includes the re-opening of Chef Amar’s Broadway by Amar Santana, Carmelita’s Mexican Kitchen, and Nick’s Laguna Beach. Even Main Street Bar, one of the first in the state required to close because of the bar lockdown, has gotten back into the game with the sale of wine and beer, and they’ve ingeniously partnered with Pizza Bar for food delivery with their alcoholic beverages. 

And, in just these few short days, we’re seeing much more creativity and expansion in options. 

Here are the biggest changes we’re seeing in this week’s update. Again, if I don’t have your information listed here or if it needs to be updated, please don’t yell. Just contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text me your name, restaurant name, and details at (949)) 637-1995, and we’’l get it updated.

When life gives you lemons, make Lemon Drops to go

For all of you who tried your own hand at martinis and margaritas this weekend, this announcement should come as blessed relief to you: While the state continues to crack down on our activity, the surprise entry of the week has been ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) lifting its rigorous licensing guidelines to allow for the delivery of beer, wine and, yes, ready-made cocktails. 

Per ABC, “Alcoholic beverages that are packaged by are establishment are open containers and may not be transported in a motor vehicle except in the vehicle’s trunk, or, if there is no trunk, the container may be kept in some other area of the vehicle that is not normally occupied by the driver or passengers (which does not include a utility compartment or glove compartment (Vehicle Code Section 23224).”

Restaurateurs are also required to use no-tamper stickers on their lids.
An update reunion

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Reunion Kitchen

Restaurants and patrons are singing hallelujah to the news that cocktails can now be delivered on a to-go basis. Here, three popular drinks that we really don’t want to try at home are prepped and waiting for their no-tamper lid stickers before being sent on their way. 

Restaurateurs like Scott McIntosh (Reunion Kitchen and Asada), Cary Redfearn (Lumberyard), Rainer Schwarz (Driftwood Kitchen), our oldest friends in Solag (Coyote Grill), and our newest friends in the same “hood,” The Drake, joyously jumped on that bandwagon in a nano-second with humorous takes on their best-selling cocktails. 

Expect to see more cocktail offerings in the near future.

Family style options are hitting the streets

While every restaurant continues to offer single servings of your favorite hits, you can expect a growing number of family-style dinners that serve two to four people. Starfish Laguna and Avila’s El Ranchito have always been great at this, and Lumberyard’s popular Rotisserie Chicken Dinners and Rib Dinners are now being joined by Penne Pasta and Meatloaf family dinners and family-sized salads. GG’s Bistro offers multiple family-style options, from burger dinners to pastas and vegetarian meals. And, now that Chef Amar is a new daddy, he’s also serving up family style options from Broadway.

“Vacuum packed” gives you seven days of refrigeration

An update vacuum

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Brussels Bistro

Brussels boosts every one of its menu items in vacuum-sealed packs for longevity

Leave it to Chef Tomas to come up with the first offer of vacuum sealed, ready-to-eat meals that can last as long as seven days in your refrigerator. Begun at his San Clemente restaurant, the popular operation expanded to his downtown Laguna restaurant yesterday (Monday) with pickup every day in both locations. Order the day prior. 

Keep in mind, too, that many restaurant soups can be frozen as well as other sundry food items – check those websites for helpful hints. 

Hours and discounts are still changing like the tides

Most restaurateurs are chopping their daily hours. If you call and get no answer, don’t assume they’ve closed their doors. Most are keeping more accurate notes on their websites and in their social media. 

I’m noting a few unique items below but can’t list them all as it’s changing too rapidly. Just be sure to ask when you call. I’m also offering a regularly updated and expanded PDF on discounts and deals to readers on my email list at www.TheBestofLagunaBeach.com

Begin online orders rather than driving up to order

In keeping with the latest recommendations, our restaurants should only be offering walk-up windows or curbside pickup. Allowing people all the way into one’s restaurant is a no-no. Further, when you order online, there’s less risk to everyone – no risk of cross-contamination with credit cards, processors, or pens, for one thing. And, it gives the restaurant plenty of time to prepare your order before your arrival or your designated delivery company’s arrival. 

An update Lumberyard

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Now a regular view, patrons wait patiently outside closed restaurant doors to pick up their favorite meals, like Lumberyard seen here

Lastly, if the grocery doesn’t have it, chances are your restaurant will 

Beyond fresh, hot food, some restaurants are expanding into pantry and mini-grocery pop ups. 

Chef Lindsay’s Nirvana Grille is offering a bustling Co-Op for grocery and household products. 

Restaurateur John Secretan’s Zinc Cafe + Market is still offering produce and household products. 

Teemu’s Selanne Steak Tavern is offering everything from fresh, butchered meats, and fresh seafood to breads, dairy, and eggs. And, to top it all off, Driftwood Kitchen’s Chef Rainer is offering 20 percent off every wine bottle with a roll of toilet paper on top. 

An update Driftwood

Photo by Driftwood Kitchen

Driftwood Kitchen’s wine bottles to go now arrive with a bonus “thank you” gift from Chef Rainer 

This week, expect to see new commissary-style entries from The Drake. And, hopefully, next week we’ll be seeing the revised Sapphire Pantry re-open under our Russ Bendel’s new ownership. (More on that story this Friday in Stu News.) 

 The updated list of restaurants providing to-go/delivery: 

North Laguna

Asada Taco + Beer – (949) 226-7263 

Gina’s Pizza & Pastaria – (949) 497-4421

Husky Burger – (949) 497-9605 

Jan’s Health Bar – (949) 371-0023

Las Brisas – (949) 497-5434 

Mandarin King – (949) 494-8992

Reunion Kitchen – (949) 226-8393 

242 Café Fusion Sushi – (949) 494-2444

UrthCaffe – (949) 376-8888 

Zeytoon Cafe – (949) 715-9230

The Canyon

Another Kind Cafe – (949) 715-9688 

Laguna Beach Beer Company – (949) 715-0805 

Oliver’s Osteria – (949) 715-0261 

Downtown and “Restaurant Row”

Adonis – (949) 715-4581

Alessa by Pirozzi – (949) 497-8222

Anastasia Cafe – (949) 497-8903

BJ’s Restaurant – (949) 494-3802

Broadway by Amar Santana – (949) 715-8234 

Brussels Bistro – (949) 290-7851

Carmelita’s – (949) 715-7829

C’est La Vie – (949) 497-5100

GG’s Bistro – (949) 494-9306 

La Sirena Grill – (949) 497-8226

Lumberyard – (949) 715-3900

Nick’s Laguna Beach – (949) 376-8595 (phones go live Tuesday after 3 p.m.) 

Nirvana Grille – (949) 637-4708

Pizza Bar – (949) 497-2277 

Rasta Taco – (949) 715-1510 

Shirley’s Bagels – (949) 494-6296 

Slapfish - (949) 715-0460

Slice Pizza and Beer – (949) 715-3993 

Thai Brothers – (949)-376-9979

The Cliff – (949) 494-1956

Wild Taco – (949) 549-4282 

Zinc Cafe + Market – (949) 494-6302 

Central Laguna (Woods Cove) and HIP District

Active Culture – (949) 715-5188 

Andree’s Patisserie – (949) 494-1577 

Avila’s El Ranchito – (949) 376-7040 

Banzai Bowls – (949) 715-8989

Domino’s Pizza – (949) 376-0333

Driftwood Kitchen & The Deck Laguna – (949) 715-7700

Feast Laguna – (949) 494-0642 

Gina’s Pizza & Pastaria - (949) 494-4342

Gu Ramen – (949) 715-0825

Heidelberg Cafe – (949) 497-4594

Jack in the Box – drive-up window

Main Street Laguna – (949) 494-0056

Natraj Indian Cuisine – (949) 497-9197 

Orange Inn – (949) 494-6085

Roux Laguna Beach – (949) 715-3707

San Shi Go – (949) 494-1551

Selanne Steak Tavern – (949) 715-9881

Sergio’s Empanadas – (949) 715-7622

Subway – walk-up window

Taco Bell – drive-up window

Taco Loco – (949)-497-1635

The Stand Natural & Vegan Foods – (949) 494-8101 

Wahoo’s Fish Taco – (949) 497-0033

South Laguna

Coyote Grill – (949) 499-4033 

Dizz’s As Is – (949) 494-5250

La Sirena Grill – (949) 499-2301 

Neapolitan Pizzeria – (949) 499-4531

Ruby’s Auto Diner – (949) 497-7829

South Swell Donuts – (949) 499-6171

Starfish Laguna – (949) 715-9200 

Ti Amo by Il Barone – (949) 499-5350

The Drake – (949) 376-1000 

Z Pizza – (949) 499-4949

The bestselling author and blogger on The Best of Laguna Beach™, Diane Armitage is on an endless quest for the most imaginative adventures in Laguna’s restaurants, events, and lifestyle. Check out chef interviews, retail and restaurant news, and favorite events at www.TheBestofLagunaBeach.com and follow on Instagram @BestOfLagunaBeach (look for Diane’s smiling face).

 

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

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