Credit: Mary Carol Fitzgerald

Meet the Dynamic Duo Behind 6 of San Diego’s Best Restaurants

Pete Cich and Rob McShea of Grind and Prosper Hospitality Have Taken the San Diego Culinary Scene by Storm

Ever wondered what it takes to make it in the hospitality industry? It can certainly be a grind, but Pete Cich and Rob McShea are two industry veterans that have more than 20 years of experience under their belts. Since officially launching Grind and Prosper Hospitality, this dynamic duo has created six different original concepts that have taken the San Diego culinary scene by storm. From Caribbean-inspired cocktails to Creole cuisine, Cich and McShea have worked together to create some of the best places for great food and even better vibes in San Diego.

We sat down with them both to discuss how Grind and Prosper is shaping San Diego’s restaurant scene and continuing to meet the needs of customers through innovation, connection and consistency.

San Diego’s Best Restaurants
Credit: Mary Carol Fitzgerald

Cich and McShea first met while working in the service industry during college. “We started off very humbly at a small place called Thrusters in Pacific Beach,” says McShea. Eventually, the two went their separate ways until years later, they reunited and brought with them their own areas of expertise. After talking shop and devising a plan, Grind and Prosper Hospitality was born. While Cich handles the management and business development side of things, McShea takes care of the cocktails.

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The first concept to operate under Grind and Prosper was the tropical and buzzy Miss B’s Coconut Club, which has become a San Diego staple for Caribbean cuisine and cocktails. “Miss B’s was sort of a diamond in the rough when we took it on,” explains Cich. “We managed to make something really special and niche out of something that a normal operator probably wouldn’t take.” This creativity, innovation and ability to customize a concept is exactly what has helped make Grind and Prosper a star in the industry.

Miss B’s Coconut Club
Credit: Miss B’s Coconut Club

From the food and drinks to the design, each restaurant is defined by cohesion that is seen across the board. Though Grind and Prosper has used GTC Design Studio for the last couple of concepts like Coco Maya and Cococabana, both Cich and McShea were originally very hands-on with the design elements. “When we first took on Miss B’s, it was sort of a DIY project,” says Cich. “We went our own way with the Caribbean theme and sort of executed a potluck of our own ideas. We’d always done it all ourselves until recently.”

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San Diego’s Best Restaurants
Credit: Mary Carol Fitzgerald

As the Beverage Director, McShea plays a very close role in the creation of each concept’s bar menu. “Right before 2020, people were trying a lot of new and cool things like smoking cocktails and using fresh produce, and then that all got a bit stunted because of the pandemic,” explains McShea. “That said, our teams really pushed through that and did our best to stay creative.” Now, McShea gets excited anytime there is an opportunity to try a brand-new ingredient or technique. “I love building out a whole program that fits our concept,” he adds. “Being able to get within the framework of a region or a spirit is without a doubt the most exciting thing.”

San Diego’s Best Restaurants
Credit: Mary Carol Fitzgerald

Above all else, each concept, from Miss B’s to the Cococabana, is crafted to have great vibes and high impact. “Whether it’s a tropical bar or creole restaurant, it all comes down to the vibes and experience. That is what we want to make consistent across each concept,” says Cich. Being able to adjust and redirect according to consumer needs is also necessary when navigating the ever-changing waters of hospitality. “We’re not bound by the purist ideal,” explains McShea. “We like to push the envelope and ask, ‘Does it work? Does the market want it?’ If we put the idea out there and it doesn’t work, we swiftly change it.”

Though there’s no denying that the hospitality industry is one of the toughest industries to succeed in, it all comes down to the connections and bonds you build along the way. “For me, it’s always been about the relationships and partnerships,” Cich shares when discussing his favorite part about being in his chosen field. “There are so many relationships that you build over time, and those are the things that will get you through the ups and downs.” From the general managers to the staff to the loyal regulars, Grind and Prosper recognizes and celebrates each person that has played a part in bringing these culinary concepts to life.

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San Diego’s Best Restaurants
Credit: Mary Carol Fitzgerald

Located in North County? Catch the game at Park 101 in Carlsbad, the perfect outdoor sports venue with beachside bites and a wide assortment of drafts and cocktails. Oysters? Pop into Q&A Restaurant and Oyster Bar to try their raw or charbroiled oyster selection and contemporary NOLA eats. Tropical rooftop cocktails? Cococabana is the place to be, located on top of The Brick Hotel in Oceanside.

If you’re in San Diego and craving refreshing Caribbean fare and fruity cocktails, visit beach casual, Miss B’s Coconut Club in Mission Beach. Little Italy is more your scene? Coco Maya by Miss B’s, one of Grind and Prosper’s newest concepts, offers Latin-Caribbean selections. In search of the ultimate place for modern creole cuisine, be sure to check out Louisiana Purchase in North Park. The hospitality group is also in partnership with Pacific Beach Shore Club, a rowdy beachfront bar perfect for grabbing a drink while enjoying ocean views.

Mary Carol Fitzgerald
Credit: Mary Carol Fitzgerald

When it comes to finding success in the service or hospitality industry, Grind and Prosper proves that hard work, creativity and consistency are all keys. “My biggest piece of advice to anyone looking to make it in hospitality is do your homework,” states Cich. “Research everything you can, get all of your ducks in a row and find your niche.”

“Most of all,” McShea adds, “don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.”

 

Grind and Prosper
@grindprosper

Allie Lebos graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 with a BA in Communication. While in school she was a staff writer at The Daily Nexus for nearly two years. Since graduating she has written for The Palisades Magazine, as well as Hidden Hills Magazine. Currently living in Santa Monica, Allie loves to indulge in good food, hot yoga, and daily walks along the beach; writing articles on travel, special events, as well as features on local businesses and individuals.

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