The Event Welcomed Regulars and Newcomers Alike for a Destined Newport Beach Favorite
Written By: Katie Weatherly
Photographed By: Ed Visions Boardwalk by Balboa Lily’s
Achieving genuine local vibes, drawing in community pillars alongside foot traffic from the boardwalk and mixing urban with eclectic beach town all seem like tasks that could prove difficult. Combining the three in a charming and unique establishment seems impossible. However, Eunjoo Pluenneke has done just that. By expanding the Newport Beach community staple Balboa Lily’s to include Boardwalk by Balboa Lily’s, Pluenneke has created the perfect hub for curious visitors and long-time citizens alike.
Balboa Lily’s is known by locals as an ideal spot for a creative and delicious breakfast or an artfully designed latte made with espresso from Kéan Coffee. On June 7, Pluenneke, owner of Balboa Lily’s, launched officially Boardwalk, a coffeehouse hotspot just seconds away on the Balboa boardwalk. The grand opening, which included a reception at Balboa Lily’s to promote their new farm-to-table dinner menu, drew in regular Balboa Lily’s customers and inquisitive passersby for an evening of delicious food and unbeatable atmosphere.
“It was a balance of dignitaries and true locals,” said Pluenneke. “We were very honored that Mayor Diane Dixon attended to show her support for out business.” The mayor expressed her gratitude toward Pluenneke for the part she plays in the Newport Beach community. “Mayor Diane thanked us for helping to revitalize the community of Balboa Village,” stated Pluenneke. “We’re glad to be a part of this effort.”
With the launch of Boardwalk as the neighborhood coffeehouse, Pluenneke has repositioned Balboa Lily’s as a local farm-to-table restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. The staff at Balboa Lily’s and Boardwalk shares Pluenneke’s enthusiasm. “I was wanting a farm-to-table place and I ran into [Pluenneke] and she wanted the same thing,” said Thomas Candaosa, the chef at Boardwalk and Balboa Lily’s. “I actually wasn’t supposed to be at the peninsula. I took a wrong turn trying to find PCH and met her as she was closing the gates. The next day, we had a plan to open Boardwalk as a coffeehouse and then create the farm-to-table menu for Balboa Lily’s.”
Pluenneke felt that things just fell into place for Boardwalk, saying, “I wasn’t necessarily looking to expand, but [the owners of the Balboa Inn] presented us with this space right as [Canadosa] showed up I felt this was a good opportunity to separate the identity of coffee house versus restaurant. Ultimately, we opened Boardwalk within weeks and then focused our efforts on our farm-to-table dinner menu at Balboa Lily’s.”
The cuisine is inventive and delicious. From carrot gnocchi to a creative take on bruschetta involving hummus and artichokes, there is nothing boring about the dinner menu. “[Candaosa] is from Argentina, so there is a different aspect to the food. He brings a South American influence and elevates everyday ingredients such as carrots and mushrooms,” explained Pluenneke.
Candaosa pulled out all the stops for the grand opening and is excited for the future of this endeavor. “Getting local people in will be fun because the menu will be changing every week,” said Candaosa.
Pluenneke added, “It’s a culinary spot. It’s a farm to table vibe, but the menu will rotate. That way, it’s a place for everybody.”
Kathy Kehoe Bambeck, a Newport Beach artist whose artwork hangs in Balboa Lily’s, was overjoyed to be supporting Pluenneke. Bambeck said she is a regular at Balboa Lily’s. “It feels homey and welcoming. [Pluenneke] really orchestrates that,” Bambeck said. “It’s also really busy here. I hope it will be that way for the new place. It would be good synergy between the two.”
Whether the hope is for creative cuisine, a handcrafted coffee or a customer’s smile, Boardwalk and Balboa Lily’s have it all. “We always tell our staff never to underestimate the power of making someone smile,” said Pluenneke.
Boardwalk by Balboa Lily’s
707 E Oceanfront
Newport Beach, CA 92661
711 E Balboa Blvd
Newport Beach, CA 92661