Orange County-based restaurateur Russ Bendel has brought a sister restaurant to his thriving wine country concepts, Vine and Ironwood, to the Newport Beach/Costa Mesa dining scene in November, 2017.
OLEA, named for a genus of trees that flourish in warm and tropical regions and scheduled to open by year’s end, will be a European twist on the Napa/Sonoma-inspired cuisine and spirits at Vine, the restaurant Bendel assumed ownership of four years ago. Sales have since doubled at the San Clemente-based restaurant. Ironwood debuted in Laguna Hills last May to an impressive neighborhood following.
Both Vine and Ironwood recently were named in Brad A. Johnson’s “75 Best Places to Eat” in the Orange County Register. Ironwood also named one of the six restaurants in “Best of the New” in Orange Coast Magazine’s April 2017 “Best Restaurants” issue and was honored as “Best New Restaurant” in 2016 by the Golden Foodies. Bendel, a graduate of The Collins College of Hospitality Management, Cal Poly Pomona, was with Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar for nine years before striking out on his own.
CONCEPT: Wine Country Cuisine/chef-driven American bistro
OPENING: By the end of 2017
OWNERS: Russ Bendel and Partners
CAPACITY: 3,647 square feet; seating for 130, including a patio
DESIGNERS: Bitton Design Group
MANAGEMENT: Executive chef-partner Jared Cook; beverage director-partner Gabe Whorley, operating partners Kyle Simpson, Kevin Franke, Paul Villa and Rion Edwards.
WHERE: 2001 Westcliff Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660 (located next to Kean Coffee)
HOURS: Dinner nightly
SPECIALTIES: Crispy Meyer lemon duck wings, jumbo lump crab and heirloom beets, chef Jared’s schnitzel and house made spaetzle, seasonal house-made agnolotti, 24 oz. bone-in ribeye, daily fresh seafood specials
PRICE RANGE: Food and desserts from $8–$49
BAR: Full liquor license, craft cocktails and beers, extensive wine list
SPECIAL FEATURES: Private dining, covered and heated patio, semi-private dining area seating for 34, captain’s table for 10-12. Self-parking in recently-opened 300-car parking structure adjacent to restaurant
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