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A new wave for Huntington’s beach concessions – Orange County Register

Passing through the shops on the sandy beaches of Bol Satica State Beach, you’ll hear more than the waves of the ocean rushing nearby.

On weekday nights at SeaLegs at the Beach, the string quartet fills the air with the sound of classical music surrounded by hundreds of flickering lights. On weekend mornings, beachers eat brunch and drink mimosa and hear the Beatles-like sound in the background. Laughter fills the air as comedians go on stage on Friday night. This is where fans are unlikely to see the show.

Restaurateur Alicia Whitney has transformed the coastal landscape and turned last year’s beach concessions into destinations that offer more than pizza and hot dogs.

And she’s not over.

The first of three new beach concessions and new rental kiosks by Whitney and her Prjkt restaurant group team is underway at Huntington State Beach, giving the building a decades old fresh look and the busiest in the area. Brings a new coastal atmosphere to one of the beaches.

Huntington Beach House opens in early May and is dotted with other new bargains in 3 miles of sand.

Changing coast

State park director Kevin Piersol looks back on a conversation with an Australian businessman 10 years ago. He talked about what the beach stand in his home country was like.

It was interesting that California beaches were known as some of the most beautiful destinations on the planet and attracted millions of people, but there are few dining options other than basic beach food. was.

“It resonated in my head for a long time.”

There weren’t many eateries in Orange County where sandy beachers could find healthier dining options and even cocktails. Enjoy a concert on your toes in the sand.

Opened in 2006, Crystal Cove’s Beachcomber Cafe has long been the only beach restaurant where you can drink.

What Whitney helped create in Bolsa Chica and is currently adding at Huntington State Beach could be a model for concessions across the state park system, Piersol said.

“As far as state parks are concerned, we want to move in this direction across the state,” he said, adding that similar models are being considered in Carlsbad and Northern California. “It’s not only a whole new change for the beach landscape, but also a new opportunity and experience for the general public and a new income opportunity for the state park system.”

The state receives 10% of all sales from the contractor who operates the stand. In other words, the better the concession, the higher the state’s income.

“We are seeing people stay longer as we have more opportunities to have lunch and dinner,” said Piersol.

“In the past, it was always sodas, burgers and hot dogs that we thought it was okay to grow up. Beach food,” he said. “But after all, they were all so unhealthy that we shouldn’t have eaten in an outdoor recreational environment.”

Add entertainment

Whitney, now 41, said he remembers seeing the Bolzachika stand five years ago and thinking “no way.” She already had a wine bar further inland in Surf City and had a Sea Legs popup at LAX.

But would you like to bring her restaurant experience to the beach? “You could see what it looked like and imagine what it was,” she said. “I saw a vision of what it was against the backdrop of the ocean.”

In 2016, she won bids for all four concessions, not just one, and opened Pacific Kitchen, Beach City Provision, and Sea Salt Beachside Burger. She turned all her focus to the sand and sold other inland operations.

Like other restaurateurs, Whitney had to rethink her business when the pandemic struck. She realized that there was a unique space that people were looking for, a wonderful outdoor space.

“At last year’s pandemic, like most restaurants, we started thinking about how we do things, without being bound by preconceived ideas,” she said.

She partnered with Fever, a Los Angeles company that hosts outdoor dinners at string quartet concerts.

“We saw consumers fall in love with it,” Whitney said.

On Saturday afternoon, Sea Legs Live will feature a local live band from 1 pm to 5 pm. Boots on the Beach, where people dance line dances on the sand from 5 pm to 10 pm on Saturdays, is also popular.

Another unique service that Whitney launched last year and reopens this week is a Fever-sponsored comedy show on the beach every Friday night. Comedian Bill Bar kicks off on April 9th ​​this week, followed by Jeff Ross, Tiffany Haddish, Jamie Kennedy, Jeremy Piven and Adam Carolla. Most are already sold out.

“We saw this very grateful crowd coming out of laughter. Whitney said of those who got stuck during a pandemic that attended last year’s show.” We’re a comedian. I was wearing it, people were very excited. Everyone wants to see entertainment, but the hard part is inside to do it. “

A branch featuring The Beatles tribute band Nowhere Band will be released in the coming weeks. Every Sunday, reggae cover band Cali Roots will soon be offering everything from the 90’s cover band to the Beach Boys cover band Surf’s Up.

Finding the right balance of popularity in an ongoing pandemic is a challenge, but it’s not. Too It is popular. Some concerts attract unmasked crowds and don’t need masks on the beach, but having some attendees nearby can lead to severe criticism on social media.

“In the midst of the Mask War, I fully support what the government told us to do,” Whitney said. “We give them masks at the door and they are supposed to wear them, but most people eat and drink. All my staff have masks. Bathroom And added a sanitary station. We follow all protocols … do it wherever possible. “

But she also knew that the entertainment industry was struggling, and said her diverse lineup of shows helped people who might be particularly mentally struggling.

“I’m grateful that we have a platform to do that and people enjoy a fun day on the beach. We put our entertainment and toes on the beach and have a drink,” she said.

On the horizon

In this next wave of beach concessions, Whitney said he wanted to help transform Huntington State Beach’s offerings into something special.

Whitney won a 10-year contract for beach concessions last May and began construction in early February.

“Now I have eight concepts on two beaches,” she said. “As a female and small business owner, I’m especially out of the pandemic … I know it sounds cheap. I’m very grateful that they chose me to stop doing this.”

Like her Bolsa Chica concession, Whitney said she wanted to offer more than just food when people visited her place.

The Huntington Beach House first opened and is located on Beach Boulevard and the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the busiest beaches along the Orange County coast.

“We wanted to express Huntington’s new atmosphere in that place. It’s very positive and classy,” Whitney said.

Sandboxes on Newland Street and the Pacific Coast Highway are scheduled to open by May, offering recreational rentals and beach essentials such as snacks and wood, from electric bikes to surfboard vending machines.

The pizzeria Sahara’s Sandbar, named after Whitney’s daughter, is set to open by the fall, and California Folk and Spoon, which serves California coastal cuisine, is set to open in early 2022.

According to Piersol, the venue adds value to the California coastline and reminds us of what’s being offered at destinations such as Hawaii and Australia.

“It’s something I’ve always imagined what a beach in Southern California would look like,” he said. “I always wanted to eat delicious food while looking at the sea.”

A new wave for Huntington’s beach concessions – Orange County Register Source link A new wave for Huntington’s beach concessions – Orange County Register

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