Eureka! Restaurant Group has announced the opening of their newest restaurant in March 2014. The location will be at Bella Terra Terra in Huntington Beach. “We couldn’t be more excited to expand our Eureka! brand to Surf City USA. The restaurant introduces Orange County guests to Eureka!’s motto, ‘EATertainment,’ which combines exceptional hospitality with a unique environment, creating a value driven experience,” says Paul Frederick, co-founder of Eureka! Paul told me, “We’re very excited to come to the market. It’s our closest location to our headquarters and it’s nice to get something close, now the we’ve stretched across the state of California”. Not only does Eureka! have locations from San Diego north to Fresno and Santa Barbara, but they also have a location in Seattle, Washington. “With Huntington Beach, it’s nice to be home”, Paul continued.
Asked about their choice of Huntington Beach, Paul said, “We’re always looking for great opportunities location-wise and what we typically look for are unique buildings in proven but maybe under-served markets. In the case of Huntington Beach, there are plenty of restaurants in the Bella Terra area, but in our type of niche we felt they were under-served. We also loved the building and the unique nature for Huntington Beach, especially that it’s in a mixed-use project with residential above it and certainly the courtyard, the plaza, the fountains and water features. It’s a beautiful location. It just happens to work. We’re not a cookie cutter concept; we don’t have a prototype that needs to work everywhere. We’re always looking for something unique architecturally in a location”.
Eureka! prides itself on craft beer and artisan spirits. The foods are primarily locally sourced and fresh ingredients are a necessity to create the food they serve. “At every restaurant we make everything on site, all the sauces and all the dressings”, Paul said. “We hand pack all of our ground beef”. He continued, “We change the menu around three times a year so there are always new items and specials. What’s unique about Huntington is that we have a bottle shop, which is a first-time deal that will allow guests the ability to see some unique craft beers as well as California wines that you’ll be able to purchase and take home, not found anywhere else. The decor of Huntington Beach is also new and not found anywhere else”.
Each location has their own cicerone, the beer equivalent of a wine sommelier. “Every location picks it’s own beer, picked by their own cicerone-certified bartenders and managers”. Eureka! was notified recently that they have the most cicerone certified staff of any company in California, including many of the waitstaff. More than 50% of the beers are always rotating, keeping the supply of artisan beers fresh and exciting. “Every Wednesday we have a ‘Craft Beer of the Week’, so that’s an opportunity to try beers from local breweries. We’ve got an event as part of it called ‘Steal the glass’, where the brewery supplies glassware to match the beer and the first 72 people who show up get a free glass ”.
Eureka! has chosen not to take the gastropub route of connecting the beers too heavily with the menu dishes. “With the food, we try to be unique and creative by not having the executive chef too involved with the beer program so he can be more creative and not have the pressure of having to pair the food with a certain beer. We get a lot of families and have a great kid’s menu. While a lot of people will have a great drink or a cocktail, the food has to drive everything. The goal for us is to offer traditional and not so traditional, American comfort food, comfort cuisine with a great bar program”, Paul emphasized.
“We offer a very affordable and comfortable menu. It’s very important for us to keep the menu approachable and value driven”.
Some of the menu highlights at Eureka! include appetizers such as Truffle Fries, infused with truffle oil, green onions and melted havarti cheese along with Osso Buco Riblets, which combines sherry braised pork with a firecracker aioli. Their signature burgers include the Original Eureka Burger, a Jalapẽno Egg Burger and a Fresno Fig Burger, topped with fig marmalade, melted goat cheese, bacon, tomato, arugula and a spicy porter mustard. For non-meat eaters there is the San Joaquin Veggie Burger, a homemade patty made of red beets and topped with a lemon vinaigrette dressing and homemade zucchini pickles. Signature main courses include a Pan Seared Salmon, a specially made Beer Braised Duck which is made into a duck sausage and served on a brioche roll , a grilled Angus Hangar Steak, Braised Short Ribs and a Marinated Grilled Portabello. Sides such as their Panko Crusted Onion Rings and Golden Sweet Potato fries are available. Most of their meals come with their Signature Handcut Fries.
In the realm of spirits, Paul said, “Whiskey is obviously very popular. It’s making a big comeback. Our bourbons and whiskies are one hundred per cent small batch, American made. We don’t do any Scotches or foreign made products. That’s pretty much our ethos, ‘Eat, drink American’, so we concentrate on the American made side of things. I will tell you that our small batch program is defined as a distillery that releases less than 15,000 bottles per day”. He added, “We’ve been very fortunate to get our hands on the Pappy van Winkle line. We’re able to get 5 or six bottles at a time for each restaurant and the whiskey aficionados love it. We’re very excited about it!”.
Paul emphasized that part of the cicerone’s training was to suggest a beer to match with the guest’s order. “The best part of the cicerone’s knowledge is how to pair certain flavor profiles with certain beer profiles”. “We like to give our people a certain creative autonomy. They should be able to talk based on their own personal experiences and so there’s a lot of talented people that work for us”. Paul finished by saying, “There is kind of a California lifestyle that creates sort of an undertone of how we do things with Eureka!. We promote a lot lifestyle ways behind us like the live music, Craft Beers of the Week and Whiskey clubs,.we make it fun and when you come to Huntington Beach it is one of the lifestyle cities of our state where a lot of our California culture has been created, so we’re really happy to be part of that from a restaurant perspective, integrated into what we call lifestyle California and lifestyle USA”.
Scheduled to open in March, Eureka! will be a welcome addition to the Orange County restaurant scene. With quality, local produce, locally baked breads and hand packed, vegetarian fed, hormone and antibiotic free beef for the burgers, Eureka! will have something for everyone on it’s menu. Add to that the craft beers and small batch American made whiskies and bourbons and Eureka! will be a place for great food and great beverages.
Eureka! Huntington Beach is located on 7631 Edinger Ave, Huntington Beach, California 92647 at Bella Terra outdoor shopping center. Hours are from 11 a.m. to midnight daily.