Calico, a brand new seafood and chop home in Huntington Seashore, is in some methods a return to type for native chef and restaurateur Andrew Gruel and his spouse and enterprise companion, Lauren.
The restaurant sits on the nook of Admiralty Drive and Pacific Coast Freeway in Sundown Seashore, taking the place of Fish Camp, a seafood restaurant that closed final 12 months. Calico is known as after the Calico Bass, which is native to the waters of southern California.
The couple, finest identified for creating Slapfish, an award-winning fast-casual seafood franchise, offered the corporate final 12 months, with no plans to return to brick-and-mortar shops.
“Inside 24 hours of promoting Slapfish, we bought a name that we had to return into the meals market the place the outdated Fish Camp was,” Gruel stated. “This was not within the incubation, it was not within the plan. We have been hoping to take a while off and journey with our youngsters.”
However the area, which did not change a lot bodily aside from the inside, was too good to move up and inside a number of months they have been up and operating.
The menu is chef curated and could have rotating proteins relying on what the fishermen who drive to Lengthy Seashore cease by the restaurant to drop off every day.
“The components we have now right here is to make dishes that everybody is aware of and elevate them,” Gruel stated.
So as a substitute of constructing a basic of the standard LA baseball sport, like a bacon wrapped scorching canine, they make a lobster scorching canine, a floor lobster scorching canine that’s rolled day by day within the kitchen, wrapped with bacon and topped with a pickle relish on a brioche bun.
“We felt like we weren’t accomplished with Slapfish but,” Gruel stated. The chain’s new homeowners closed the principle location in Huntington Seashore and Uncooked Bar by Slapfish.
“Once we began Uncooked Bar in 2018, it was a studying curve,” Gruel stated. “By 2022, individuals could not get sufficient.”
Gruel’s emphasis on sustainably sourced meals started at Slapfish, however has continued throughout all of its eating places. In Calico, it does not simply apply to seafood. Poultry, and the place potential natural grass-fed meat, are raised cruelty-free on free-range farms all through California and natural greens are sourced from Melissa’s Produce, the nation’s largest specialty produce distributor headquartered in California. in Los Angeles.
A part of Gruel’s training on sustainable sourcing is that it not solely has all the advantages of guaranteeing an ocean’s rising inhabitants, however it’s additionally about realizing that sustainable meals tastes higher too.
The restaurant additionally does not use seed oils (like canola oil or sesame oil, for instance), however as a substitute cooks with ghee (clarified butter), olive oil or avocado oil, beef tallow, and bacon fats that Gruel admits to It prices much more, however it improves the standard of the meals which is their most important precedence.
“Folks can really feel good coming right here to eat,” stated Lauren Gruel. “They do not need to really feel bloated consuming out.”
The complete-service, full-bar restaurant can also be a departure from greater than a decade of expertise within the quick informal area with Slapfish and its different new ideas.
“We all know all the pieces there may be to know in regards to the quick informal area, and it takes excessive quantity to have the ability to pay dwelling wages and above,” Gruel stated. “Folks do not wish to pay $20 or $25 a plate and it is available in a cardboard field.”
However that does not imply they’ve left the quick informal area solely. Later this month, on the third Road Promenade in Santa Monica, they plan to open an area the place friends can order choose gadgets from Calico and two different ideas, Lolo’s Tacos and 101 Burgers.
The hope is to construct model recognition, simply because the Slapfish meals truck did in its early days, earlier than finally opening extra brick-and-mortar areas in Orange County.
Present service hours are 11 am to 9 pm in the course of the week and till 10 pm on weekends. In two weeks, the restaurant will open earlier to serve a brand new brunch menu that may embrace classics like steak and eggs, lobster breakfast burritos and extra.
A grand opening that shall be open to the general public may even be introduced quickly.
VISIT: Calico Fish Home, 16600 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Seashore; 562-357-4012; www.calico-restaurant.com