Vote Here for Who You Think is the Most Creative Owner in Pacific City

Written By: Chelsea Raineri Creative Owner in Pacific City

Bluegold /LSXO – Jed Sanford

Jed Sanford’s acumen for analyzing businesses’ growth opportunities combined with a passion for art serves as the foundation for his vibrantly successful restaurant empire, Blackhouse Hospitality. Under Sanford’s guidance, the group chooses projects based not only on the enthusiasm of those involved, but the unique quality of each new concept. Sanford also introduced his most unique concept to-date—a restaurant-within-a-restaurant, Bluegold/LSXO—to Blackhouse’s roster in 2016 as Blackhouse’s flagship location at Pacific City in Huntington Beach.


Lemonade – Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson is the founder and vision behind Lemonade, enticing Californians with the simple allure of beautifully prepared salads, hearty braised meats, satisfying sandwiches, decadent desserts and, of course, thirst-quenching lemonades. A California native, Alan named the restaurant “Lemonade” because of the bright and comforting feeling you get when you simply say the word. The original sunny day spot!


Saint Marc Pub – Café, Bakery & Cheese Affinage – Thomas (Mac) McFarland Gregory III

Thomas (Mac) McFarland Gregory III is CEO of Saint Marc USA and is charged with the inaugural presence of Saint Marc’s first full service restaurant concept in the United States, the

Saint Marc Pub – Café, Bakery & Cheese Affinage, which opened at Pacific City in December 2015. A master mixologist, certified advanced sommelier, speaker, educator, columnist, beverage consultant, competition judge and top executive in the international food and beverage community, Gregory is an esteemed industry veteran and visionary executive of 25 years and has developed, launched and managed hundreds of concepts for the world’s most elite luxury hospitality brands.


Burnt Crumbs – Paul Cao

Chef Paul Cao and his business partner, Minh Pham, actually started their business over five years ago as a food truck, but due to their popularity they have grown into several brick-and-mortar locations including two recent openings of Burnt Crumbs in Irvine and Huntington Beach at the new Pacific City Lot 579 food court. The operating partners are no strangers to Irvine because it is where they grew up as childhood friends before launching their successful restaurant group. Even the playful name dates back to Cao’s college career when his roommates would ask him to create his signature, and only ,dish, which was burnt spaghetti. Years later, the name still has a lot of meaning amongst the owners who believe in putting out a great product without taking themselves too seriously.


Ola Mexican Kitchen -Toby Reece

Toby Reece is a restaurateur from Huntington Beach. Partnered with Anthony Andrews, their first concept, Mahe restaurant, in Seal Beach with a second Mahe in Dana Point. Ola Mexican Kitchen is the newest concept in Pacific City, Huntington Beach.


The American Dream – Jeremy Saenz

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”—Dr. Seuss


The Backhouse Yakitori Grill – Michael Kwan

In 1995, Kwan opened his very own restaurant, a 1,400 square foot restaurant located in the city of Los Angeles, near West Hollywood and Beverly. From serving tables, cooking behind the line, delivering food and even purchasing meat and produce early in the morning, Kwan’s efforts taught him to understand the restaurant business in every aspect, allowing him to run the operations efficiently and also cutting down on costs. In addition to WOKCANO, the Zao Group has also opened several other restaurant concepts such as The Backhouse Yakitori Restaurant.


Simmzy’s – Mike Simms

In 2005, Mike moved to Southern California, compelled to connect local restaurants to surrounding farms, breweries, and wineries and celebrate all things craft. He joined forces with his father, Tom, and brother, Chris, to form The Simms Restaurant Group and went on to open Tin Roof Bistro (2009), Simmzy’s Manhattan Beach (2009), Manhattan Beach Post (2011) Simmzy’s Long Beach (2012) and Fishing With Dynamite (2013). Two years later, Simmzy’s Burbank, Venice and Huntington Beach (2015), The Arthur J, named after his late grandfather (2015) and Lil’ Simmzy’s on the Deck, being the most recent addition during the summer of 2016 at The Point in El Segundo.


il Barone Sicilian Street Food – Jonathan Barone

Chef Jonathan Barone has been trained under his father, Franco Barone, for about eight years and is now taking the helm of the family business running the Pacific City restaurant.


Pie-Not – Jai Snowdon

With a background in graphic and digital design, marketing and consumer psychology Jai has brought the culture of the Australian Meat Pie to the US. He is constantly creating organic content and can be seen delving into the creative web of Adobe programs on his computer daily. A laid back and easy going approach is the angle in which he portrays the Pie-Not brand, very similar to his own lifestyle.


Old Crow Smokehouse – Michael Gonzales

As Chief Financial Officer for Third Coast Hospitality Group, Michael Gonzalez oversees all finances, identifies growth opportunities, nurtures relationships with investors and still has his hand in daily operations. He believes in corporate store growth in order to stay in tune with what the customer wants, and tailoring each new venture to the needs of the community it will reside in. What began as a family business will remain that way; ensuring attention to detail, high quality ingredients, and exceptional service.

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