Cohn Restaurant Group partners with seasoned local restaurateur Ken Irvine to present San Diego with a new beachfront dining option in up & coming Imperial Beach.
OVERALL IDEA: A destination for locals and visitors alike, SEA 180—a coastal tavern, will bring contemporary beachfront dining to one of San Diego’s most distinctive and underserved locales. The restaurant will be located on the ground level of Pier South, the new $28 million boutique hotel. This much-anticipated development is aptly named for the nearby Imperial Beach pier, widely considered to be the most geographically southwestern pier in the United States.
With few restaurant options in San Diego that are truly oceanfront, the venue will fill a surprising void in the current dining scene. Known for his affinity for unique locations with hidden appeal, David Cohn selected Pier South after years of scouting the area. Likewise, his partner in the property, Ken Irvine, has surfed and spent time in Imperial Beach for decades.
THE NAME: With sweeping “180 degree” views of Los Coronados (the Coronado Islands), South Bay and Mexico, the name SEA 180 was coined from the expansive ocean views visible from every corner of the establishment. Located just steps from the stunning Imperial Beach sand, SEA 180 will be both accessible and upscale.
THE DINING PROGRAM: Having spent over 15 years as a commercial tuna fisherman prior to joining the hospitality game, chef and restaurateur Ken Irvine will head up the culinary program at SEA 180. With influences from the original colonizers of the area, the restaurant’s Baja-Med cuisine will feature Pacific Rim flavors indicative of the Japanese fisherman as well as the French, Italian and Mediterranean food that drove south into Baja during the Prohibition era. Exceptionally prepared seafood, a coveted San Diego staple not often found in such a stunning beachfront location, will be a prominent part of the menu as will shared plate offerings.
DESIGN: The restaurant is a 10,000 square foot space comprised of both indoor and outdoor dining including a banquet room and rooftop deck. Philippe Beltran, an avid world traveler who was born and raised in Paris, is best known in San Diego as the creative mind behind the Cohn’s BO-beau kitchen + bar in Ocean Beach and 100 Wines in Hillcrest. Beltran will head up the interior design of SEA 180, combining natural and organic elements to fashion a light and airy environment. A soft palette will bolster the sky-high glass windows which highlight the restaurant’s design focal point, the picturesque sea views.
—SEA 180 will open in conjunction with the grand launch of Pier South hotel, tentatively slated for November 2013—
ABOUT KEN IRVINE: Ken Irvine is the principal of Irvine Hospitality Group, with more than twenty-eight years of experience in the hospitality industry. His company operates restaurants and develops concepts for restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, wineries and retail outlets including Bleu Boheme, Chez Loma French Bistro, Chameleon Café Restaurant and Lizard Lounge. To date Ken has helped develop over fifty venues. A graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (Class of ’88) in New York, Irvine was a student solicitor and class president. In continuing his basic training in Europe he worked with Michelin starred Relais du Moujins in the South of France and in London, where at the age of twenty-six became one of the city’s youngest Executive Chefs while working at the Plaza on Hyde Park Hotel. Upon returning to the States, Irvine moved from the kitchen to the front of the house and was hired as the General Manager at various restaurants to complement his culinary experiences in order to assist him in the transition of becoming a restaurant owner. Ken has so far been the only restaurateur to win both “Chef of the Year” and “Restaurateur of the Year” Gold Medallion Awards presented by his peers of the California Restaurant Association.
ABOUT COHN RESTAURANT GROUP: Over the past 32 years, David and Lesley Cohn have brought dining to a new level as the premier hospitality collective in San Diego. Beginning with one small diner in 1981, Cohn Restaurant Group now owns and operates 15 restaurants in San Diego County and 3 locations in Maui. Venues include Corvette Diner, BO-beau kitchen + bar, Blue Point Coastal Cuisine, The Prado at Balboa Park, Indigo Grill, Gaslamp Strip Club, La Jolla Strip Club, 333 Pacific, C Level/Island Prime, Pineapple Grill, Melting Pot, Vintana and 100 Wines Hillcrest as well as a line of food trucks including Chop Soo-ey and Ms. Patty Melt. While each restaurant varies in terms of cuisine, ambiance and design aesthetic, they all share the same philosophy–they are “obsessed with hospitality.” Each restaurant has gained respect through numerous awards and accolades, including multiple San Diego Gold Medallion Awards, Restaurateur of the Year, Gaslamp Quarter Association Lamplighter Awards, and various honors from local publications and philanthropic organizations. Believing in the importance of giving back to the community, David and Lesley have been recognized for their strong community and industry support, including the Gaslamp Quarter Historic Association “Vision Award”, the San Diego Press Club’s “Entrepreneurs of the Year” Award, the San Diego City Schools for exemplary Support and Commitment to Partnerships in Education and the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Market Place Ethics. The Cohns’ aspirations continue to fuel new and unique endeavors with a constantly evolving stable of concepts and boundary-pushing venues. For more information about Cohn Restaurant Group please visit www.dinecrg.com or call 619-236-1299.