Haven and taco asylum: Not Your Everyday Eats


Not many restaurants can say that their opening weekend was lucky enough to TacoAsylumsee a crowd of over 500,000 patrons. Haven Gastropub, however, is among the elite. Haven Gastropub opened in Orange during the Orange International Street Fair in September of 2009 a year that drew record numbers to the fair.

An expansion with taco asylum soon followed. “Our locations have come to us in weird ways,” says Executive Chef Greg Daniels, who constitutes one third of Haven Collective alongside Wil Dee and Ace Patel. In 2011, Haven Collective was approached by the CAMP in Costa Mesa and offered an existing space that was initially deemed as too small for taco asylum. Rather than obliterating any trace of the previous restaurant, the trio decided to center the design for taco asylum on the existing space, proving that expansion can sometimes come in the form of accommodation. (Photo: the Steak & Potatoes taco: steak, root vegetable potato salad, blue cheese, fried leeks)

While maximizing savings in the construction of a new restaurant is fundamental, Daniel’s warns that one must be conscientious that the decision to work around an existing space guarantees that “you also inherit all of the problems.”

Haven Collective currently operates two Haven Gastropubs located in Orange and Pasadena and taco asylum in Costa Mesa. The Haven locations and taco asylum share a love for brews but differ in that taco asylum represents the intensification of a solitary culinary offering while Haven Gastropub offers a more extensive menu.

Daniel’s finds that hiring staff that can successfully complement and enhance a restaurant is one of the most daunting aspects of being a restaurateur.

Setting a high standard for training, being adamant about conscientious organization and understanding the necessity of solidifying an opening strategy have proven to be the cardinal components of success for Haven Collective.