Located just steps from the sand and minutes from Mexico, David and Lesley Cohn of The Cohn Restaurant Group, along with Chef and Partner Ken Irvine, are pleased to announce the official opening of SEA180° Coastal Tavern, a new multi-million dollar South County dining destination. As part of Pier South, the $28 million boutique hotel launching at a later date, SEA180° has opened its doors to the public for lunch and dinner, with breakfast coming soon. Below you will find a first look at what to expect from Imperial Beach’s newest contemporary beachfront restaurant.
With sweeping “180 degree” views of Los Coronados (the Coronado Islands), South Bay and Mexico, the name SEA180° was coined from the expansive ocean views visible from every corner of the establishment. Located just steps from the stunning Imperial Beach sand, SEA180° will be upscale but accessible.
A gorgeous destination for locals and visitors alike, SEA180°—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 restaurant plans to draw in guests not only locally, but from central San Diego and nearby Mexico as well.
“We hope that the restaurant will help revitalize the area by attracting a broader range of visitors who would otherwise never venture into this laid-back beach community,” says Cohn. “Through this restaurant and the adjoining boutique hotel, we look forward to putting Imperial Beach on the map—providing a top-notch destination that truly showcases the pristine, coastal location.”
THE DINING PROGRAM:
Having spent over 15 years as a commercial tuna fisherman prior to joining the hospitality industry, chef and restaurateur Ken Irvine will head up the culinary program at SEA180° as Executive Chef & Partner. Joining Irvine, as chef de cuisine, is Jack Fisher. Fisher is an Imperial Beach native who looks forward to bringing his culinary expertise back to the neighborhood he’s lived in since 1976 and still resides in with his wife and five kids today. 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 difficult to find alongside such a stunning beachfront location, will be a prominent part of the menu, but guests will have many other options to choose from. Shared offerings include house smoked Salmon “Gringo” Sushi, smoked Rock Cod Chowder with roasted fennel and bacon lardons, gingered pulled Pork Empanadas with mango black bean sauce, and Duck “Carnaditas” with caramelized onions, pineapple salsa and aged goat cheese. Traditional entrée-style portions also decorate the menu with dishes such as grilled Whole Fish with garden herbs, asparagus, cilantro mojo and the smoked Beer Can Chicken with cauliflower mash, arugula and tequila gravy.
With a dedicated emphasis on tequila, SEA180°’s craft cocktail list includes the Diablo Peach, a combination of house made sage and peach infused tequila, agave nectar and light ginger beer, and the Paloma 180, a blend of housemade pomelo infused tequila, Pavan liquor, lime juice and fresh sparkling grapefruit soda served with a salted rim. Remaining true to the restaurant’s location, the beer selection will be predominantly local, sourced from Baja to Temecula. More than 75 bottles of wine will be offered, including varietals from the Guadalupe Valley and Fallbrook. Wines will be served in quartinos (250 mL, 8.5 oz) and 1/2 litres (500 mL, 17 oz.) rather than the traditional 6 oz. pour, in an effort to encourage guests to share different selections among the table. Non-alcoholic options are also available in the form of flavored house made lemonades and juices.
The restaurant is a gorgeous 10,000 square foot space comprised of both indoor and outdoor dining–including a banquet room, a rooftop deck with unparalleled coastal and inland views, and several private dining rooms throughout. 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 headed up the interior design of SEA 180 with an all-new design aesthetic, by combining natural and organic elements, fashioning a light and airy environment in with mixed stone and reclaimed wood. A soft palette will bolster the sky-high glass windows which highlight the restaurant’s design focal point, the picturesque sea views.
ABOUT KEN IRVINE: As the principal of Irvine Hospitality Group, Ken Irvine has gathered more than 28 years of experience in the hospitality industry. His company has operated several of San Diego’s premier dining destinations and has developed concepts for over 50 restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, wineries and retail outlets such as Bleu Boheme, Chez Loma French Bistro, Chameleon Café Restaurant and Lizard Lounge to name a few. 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, and at the age of 26 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, which rounded out his experience, allowing him to grasp the skills necessary to become a restaurant owner. To date, Ken has been the only San Diego restaurateur to win both the “Chef of the Year” and “Restaurateur of the Year” Gold Medallion Awards, presented by his peers of the California Restaurant Association.
ABOUT JACK FISHER: With an established pedigree honed by years of experience in several of the most celebrated fine dining destinations in the city, Jack Fisher joins the Cohn Restaurant Group at SEA180° as chef de cuisine. Most recently serving as Executive Pastry Chef of Tracy Borkum’s acclaimed Urban Kitchen Group (CUCINA urbana, CUCINA enoteca), Fisher has cultivated pastry programs for an impressive roster of talented chefs in several of Southern California’s premier restaurants. Over the course of two decades, Fisher has worked with chefs such as Randy Mikulas, James Boyce, Michael Stebner and Richard Ruskel at destinations including Azzura Point, the five-star Montage Resort in Laguna Beach, NINE-TEN in La Jolla, Addison at the Grand Del Mar, and Jack’s La Jolla. Fisher also started his own business, Jack Fisher Confections. Awarded “Best San Diego Chocolatier” in 2010 by Riviera Magazine, Jack has had the opportunity to participate in many local celebrity chef events including Taste of the Nation, Chef’s Celebration, Celebrate the Craft, and two James Beard “out of house” events. Jack has also had the opportunity to cook at the James Beard House in NYC, as well as work as a sous chef on the Food Network’s popular show “Iron Chef.” Jack is a native of Imperial Beach and lives there with his wife and five children.
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 19 restaurants in San Diego County and one location 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.
- Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Breakfast coming in early 2014.
- Lunch: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. daily
- Dinner: 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. daily.
- Social Hour: 2:30 p.m -6:00 p.m. daily on the Pier View Terrace located on the ground floor