TAPS Fish House & Brewery, riding the success of its first-ever tasting room, is opening two new restaurants in north Orange County as it embarks on a plan to expand its 21-year marquee brand in Southern California. TAPS Brewery + Kitchen in Yorba Linda and TAPS Great American Brewery in Anaheim Hills will both open this summer, said Joe Manzella, founder, and proprietor of Manzella Restaurant Group, which also operates The Catch in Anaheim.
Both new TAPS concepts are a departure from the brand’s three dinner houses in Brea, Corona, and Irvine, as well as TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room in Tustin, which opened in July 2018 with a full-scale production brewery, tasting room, patio, and dedicated food truck.
TAPS, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019, is set for an even bigger 2020. In addition to TAPS Brewery + Kitchen and TAPS Great American Brewery, the popular restaurant group is scheduled to open its first restaurant later this year at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana.
“This exciting and strategically planned expansion has been in the works for over two years,” said Manzella, who with his father and sister opened the first TAPS Fish House & Brewery in 1999 in what was then an underserved dining market in Brea Downtown. Similarly, Manzella said, the new Yorba Linda and Anaheim Hills locations, both of which will serve TAPS beer produced at the Tustin barrel room and feature full bars, will open in areas where locals will appreciate the TAPS brand in a simpler iteration. The new restaurants replace eateries that have closed.
Spearheading TAPS’ expansion and running the operations is longtime industry expert Randy Teffeteller, who assumed the position of CEO of the Manzella Restaurant Group in 2019. Teffeteller initially served as an advisor to Manzella to assist with potential acquisitions and expansion financing. His impressive 30-year track record includes serving as CEO and Managing Partner of Hospitality Management Group and West Coast Ventures & Resources.
“We feel we have the right model for the California market that combines award-winning craft beer with long-recognized quality food, ambiance, and service,” said Manzella. “Randy’s contacts and expertise have brought so much to the table; we wouldn’t be in this growth mode without him.”
Manzella envisions the brand expansion of TAPS beers through tasting rooms rather than distribution and retail and the two new locations reflect that strategy. Here’s a closer look at the three TAPS restaurants opening in 2020:
TAPS BREWERY + KITCHEN, YORBA LINDA
Address: 23741 La Palma Ave, Yorba Linda (Bryant Ranch Center)
Size: 4,200 square feet, seating for 200
Previously was: Roundtable, Esther’s Tacos, and most recently, Yorba Cantina
Hours: Opens at 11:30 a.m. daily
Opening: Summer 2020
In this quintessential “TAPS light” model, TAPS is teaming up with longtime Los Angeles restaurant chain Alondra’s, known for its handmade pizza and hot wings. The concept found within TAPS Brewery + Kitchen will serve its specialties in a comfortable, relaxed, family-friendly setting that also will help meet the demand for quality takeout food in east Yorba Linda.
Founded in 2002 by brothers Harout (“Joey”), Garo and Danny Kazarian, Alondra’s has four locations in southeast L.A. County and is making its O.C. debut with the TAPS joint venture.
“The relationship is beneficial on several levels—besides partnering in Yorba Linda, Alondra’s is a great outlet for us to expand our craft beer presence in the Los Angeles marketplace,” said Manzella, a fan of Alondra’s bread and pizzas, the creations of a fifth-generation family of Armenian artisan bakers.
TAPS Brewery + Kitchen will have a tasting room inspired by its Tustin location, but with a more comprehensive menu, including TAPS Fish House & Brewery classics such as its original brewer’s fish and chips, blackened fish tacos, and New England clam chowder, as well as the most popular items from TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room, including Electric Taco, Royale Burger with Cheese and warm Bavarian pretzels.
The Alondra’s side of the space will feature abbreviated offerings from the restaurant’s full-size locations, with handmade artisan pizzas, hot wing creations, hand-battered onion rings, and Alondra’s famous cheeseballs.
An island bar will serve as the center of the restaurant. The restaurant’s full-service bar will offer 16 beer taps, wine and classic and signature cocktails.
TAPS GREAT AMERICAN BREWERY, ANAHEIM HILLS
Address: 5665 E La Palma Ave, Anaheim (Imperial Promenade)
Size: 4,600-square-foot restaurant with a 2,800-square-foot patio, with seating for 150 inside and 130 on the patio
Previously was: The original Knowlwood, which started in 1957 as part of a roadside farmstand and evolved into a popular burger chain
Hours: Opening at 11:30 daily
Opening: Summer 2020
This restaurant, larger than the Yorba Linda and Tustin locations, will provide full-service of the most popular items from TAPS Fish House & Brewery and TAPS Brewery and Barrel Room, as well as classic American comfort foods. A highlight will be a live taco bar, where various styles of tacos will be prepared teppan-style for guests seated at the station.
The menu will be approachable and beer-centric with comfort foods that are unfussy, high quality, and with reasonable price points.
“This is a family-friendly concept that has something for everyone,” Manzella said. “We want to preserve the original farmstand feel and comfort of the building, while bringing elements of TAPS’ trademark look to the interior.”
TAPS FISH HOUSE & BREWERY, JOHN WAYNE AIRPORT
Address: Terminal C, John Wayne Airport, Santa Ana
Size: 2,500 square feet, seating for 80 to 100
Previously was: Unused space along the windows across from retail shops
Hours: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
Opening: Fall 2020
In this licensing agreement between Manzella’s restaurant group and the airport concessionaire, Colorado-based Mission Yogurt, Inc., TAPS will offer a full bar, six craft brews on tap, and a slimmed-down menu focusing on entrees such as Chilean sea bass, sustainable salmon and other popular offerings.
There will be fresh oysters, shrimp cocktail, market fish sandwich and tacos, New England clam chowder, brewer’s fish and chips, varieties of calamari, ceviche and more. In the morning, TAPS will dish up breakfast tacos, smoked salmon with bagels, Bloody Marys, and other eye-openers. Those rushing for a flight can snag grab-and-go items.
The look will be similar to TAPS in Irvine with brick, finished wood, and earth tones. “It will be contemporary but warm,” Manzella said.
For more information, visit tapsbrewery.com. TAPS Fish House & Brewery can be found on social media at Facebook @tapsfishhouse&brewery and @tapsbrewery&barrelroom; and on Instagram at @tapsfishhouse and @tapsbrewery.