Hot Dish


Sizing Up Newcomer Tommy Bahama 


By Patty Pinto

Restoration of the historical Heisler Building downtown is near complete and tenant Tommy Bahama is set to open shortly.

The store inventory and restaurant menu will vary significantly from other Tommy B locations in order to reflect the Laguna Beach beach lifestyle, we’ve been told.

Menu items will be less expensive than all other stores, making the dishes very affordable for the casual beach trekker who wants to stroll in off the beach in flip flops and shorts, according to Rob Goldberg, TB’s corporate restaurant manager, in town this week checking out the new digs and training personnel.

Who’s in charge? Marcus Lage, executive chef formerly with the Roy’s restaurant chain; Don Donley, director of culinary operations assisted Chef Marcus in designing menu; Michael Lowney, manager formerly of Spago (Maui) and Nine in the Palms Hotel in Vegas.

Hickory and oak wooden planks in the retail section similar to the wooden planks on the Laguna Beach boardwalk evoke a casual atmosphere in the restaurant, carried through with concrete floors in the dining room and natural wooden picnic style dining tables. The idea is to lure folks in from off the beach to a comfy, low key dining experience where the open kitchen allows for viewing the culinary team in action.

Tommy Bahama has partnered with Mission Hospital Laguna Beach and during the opening they will have a mock dress rehearsal with 100 percent of proceeds going to a charity at the direction of Mission Hospital.

Expect basic American food: a “fun take” on seafood, such as lobster corn dogs and shrimp Avalon (jumbo shrimp and Dungeness crab ceviche); Arctic Char, with apple fennel slaw on a bed of sweet pea risotto (nice!); hamburgers (prime and veggie); desserts, such as banana cream pie with almond and graham cracker crust, caramelized bananas, white chocolate whipped cream and caramel sauce (yummy!).

Open daily for lunch and dinner with a dining room capacity of 115.

What about the noise level? They have created a noise system in the ceiling that they promise helps baffle noise.

Bar scene: flat screen TV; lovely, comfy couch and lounge chairs with high-top tables next to the large scenic view windows open to the ocean breeze.


More reviews by South Laguna resident Patty Pinto at her blog:

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