Island Prime and C-Level opened in August of 2005 on San Diego’s Harbor Island. When I first put the wine list together I had an abundant inventory of Napa Cabernets from the ’97 vintage which were purchased a few years earlier specifically for this restaurant. The original concept was to have a California wine list. That changed the moment I took over the program, I could not contain myself. I had worked in San Francisco in French Restaurant and a Latin American restaurants before coming to Island Prime & C-Level. I knew that people were open to wines from around the world. With much skepticism, David and Deborah (owners of Island Prime and C-Level) gave me the okay to pursue a more eclectic list.
When we opened 333 Pacific Restaurant in Oceanside, we were unsure of what the market was going to be like. Putting the list together was a bit of a challenge. There really wasn’t much in Oceanside as far as restaurants. For the most part there were chain restaurants and fast food chains. 333 Pacific was going to be the “new thing” in that area. The idea behind 333 Pacific was to host a quasi steak and seafood restaurant similar to Island Prime. The restaurant is situated directly across the street from the Oceanside pier. What sort of clients were we to get? Were we going to appeal to families, beach bums, local businesses or guests from the resort hotel upstairs?
Bo Beau opened in December of 2010. Cohn Restaurant Group purchased the previous restaurant, Thee Bungalow from Ed Moore, owner of the Third Corner. Bo Beau is in Ocean Beach, a beach community that many people in the restaurant industry call home. A pretty eclectic community, best way to explain it is, Haight-Ashbury on the beach. Thee Bungalow was a staple in San Diego, since it was one of the few restaurants serving French food. It’s wine list was very large and diverse. The best part was that the mark up was minimal.