Posts Tagged ‘Dining’

Helping Dana Point’s Youth

Dana Point Youth

Dana Point Restaurant Gives Back to Local Youth

Salt Creek Grille is hoping to make a difference in the lives of local youths

The Dana Point restaurant began its relationship with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley in 2009 to help raise awareness and money for the club through fundraisers, restaurant promotions and more. In May, owners Tim McCune and Pete Truxaw gave the club $3,000 in proceeds from a menu entree promotion. For each Stuffed Jidori Chicken ordered, the restaurant donated $1 to the club.

Most recently, Salt Creek Grille has begun dishing up “Pasta Fridays” for the kids in San Juan Capistrano. Every Friday, as a free gesture, General Manager Marcos Costas brings tons of freshly prepared noodles and sauce, which comes with garlic bread — enough to feed up to 75 kids — to the club off Via Positiva. The meal which is prepared by Chef Scott Green, is meant to nourish the kids and provide them with delectable fare in a fun, social setting.

Giving back to the community has long been a hallmark of Salt Creek Grille’s agenda. For years, McCune and Truxaw have hosted fundraisers, dinners and other events to benefit all types of charities at all five of their restaurants, which also include El Segundo and Princeton and Rumson in New Jersey.

“As a local business owner and long-time resident of Laguna Niguel, I believe it is critical for us to support those in need within our community in any way possible,” McCune said.  “We are blessed with a unique opportunity to serve a good meal once a week to the kids at the Boys and Girls Club of Capistrano Valley.”

The Dana Point-based Salt Creek Grille is at 32802 Pacific Coast Highway (at Crown Valley Parkway). For more information about Salt Creek Grille, visit www.saltcreekgrille.com or call 949-661-7799.

Salt Creek Grille

Salt Creek Grille

Marcos Costas

Salt Creek Grille

Drop by the 
Salt Creek Grille on any given night and you’re bound to see a dark-haired debonair man greeting guests and charming visitors like only George Clooney could do.

This venerated general manager is a movie star in his own right. A 20-plus year industry veteran who worked at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Marcos Costas is leading the ship at this award-winning Dana Point establishment. He spent the last two years as general manager at the highly acclaimed Andrea Restaurant, The Resort at Pelican Hill’s world-class signature restaurant. Costas was recently recognized as the “top” restaurant general manager by the Irvine Company for 2009. A fixture in the South County fine-dining scene, Costas has successfully managed operations at French 75 Champagne Bar & Bistro and Ti Amo Ristorante in Laguna Beach and Savannah Steak and Chop House in Laguna Niguel. In his free time, the San Clemente resident is a longtime wrestling coach at San Clemente High School.

His recent arrival to Salt Creek Grille comes as the 13-year-old establishment continues to thrive. Named the 2009 Business of the Year by the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce, the restaurant recently rolled out a new menu, just remodeled its two banquet rooms, and launched its successful “345 Cabana Patio” promotion in April.

Costas recently took a break in the day to chat about the industry with South Coast.

Q: What do you think patrons look for in dining today?

A. I think they want to see where the value lies in the experience. People can see value in many different areas­—portion sizes, atmosphere, price point, presentation, type of service etc., but if they are looking closer at where they are potentially going to spend their “dollar votes,” they have to see some sort of value attached to that decision. We strive to provide “constants” that continue to add to that value during the time our guests spend with us­—cleanliness, fresh products, and knowledgeable and pleasant staff members who understand that is what the guests are coming in for.

Q. How has that changed from past years?

A. In stronger economies where people were eating out more frequently, their choices could encompass several different dining venues or the same restaurant more frequently. The past couple of years, although people may not be eating out as frequently, they still want an experience that encapsulates all those different venues during their meals out. Many restaurants had to take a hard look at themselves and decide how they were going to capture the patrons looking for that experience at a price point guests could justify. The old saying that “the most expensive thing in a restaurant is an empty table,” has held true in these past few years where the goal has been to keep guests coming in but to offer pricing so that we would see them more than once.

Q. What new things can diners look forward to?

A. Once again we have our hugely popular Cabana Nights Patio promotion that features $3 drinks, $4 appetizers, and $5 martini’s starting at 4 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. It created such a vibrant, outdoorsy feel yet with the casual elegance that is so special about living in Orange County. Our private dining areas were just beautifully remodeled, so this summer we will do events in the Mason Library room and Monarch Room. Our bar will continue to offer live entertainment five nights a week along with the same Cabana Nights specials from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

Q. What do you like to do in your free time?

A. I love to jog. I’ve participated in a handful of marathons and shorter races. I do my best thinking while I’m jogging, as it has always tied together my mind and body in a very peaceful way. I love to travel, some of my recent trips have been to Thailand and Cuba. I enjoy submerging myself into different cultures. I don’t always do the touristy things but get to know the people who live in the countries I visit. Restaurants have that similar aspect to me: No shift is the same, and every night is a different mix of people and personalities I get to meet and build relationships with. Lastly, I do like to go out to eat, mostly because I never have any food at home, but I truly enjoy the marriage of good food and good wine.

 | www.saltcreekgrille.com

32802 Pacific Coast Highway, 
Dana Point, California