By Bradley Zint, Special to the Independent
The property-wide makeover of Las Brisas is now complete.
The landmark Laguna Beach ocean-view restaurant, which describes itself as having a “sea-to-table menu infused with traditional Mexican flavors,” has been working to reinvent its digs and menu since last year.
The 400-seat establishment at 361 Cliff Drive now sports a bright and airy Mexican Riviera-inspired interior, with natural wood tones throughout. Michael Gaines is the executive general manager and Howard Gardner, the head of operations.
The three-phase renovation was undertaken in conjunction with the 40th anniversary in 2019, Gaines said in a prepared statement.
“Changes were significant, but done in a way that preserves the original character of the historic building,” Gaines said. “Our number one priority has always been to create a space for our community to enjoy Las Brisas and to offer a menu that’s dynamic. The response has been extremely positive, and it’s rewarding to see families that have been coming here for 40 years continue to enjoy the restaurant.”
Other upgrades include new chairs, wood flooring in the dining rooms, wood beam details on the ceilings, and lighting. Corona del Mar-based Margee Drews Design was assigned to envision the renovation.
During the restaurant’s 40th anniversary last year, it introduced a new weekday happy hour, with a renewed focus on the bar and lounge.
Las Brisas first opened in 1979. Larry Cano, who founded the El Torito chain, developed the concept. The property dates back to 1938 as the Victor Hugo Inn.