Charlie Anderson Brings Blue Collar Gourmet to South O
Charlie Anderson grew up, raised his family and built a trio of successful restaurants in South Oceanside: The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza, The Privateer Marketplace & Wine Bar and The Buccaneer Cafe. Learn more about restaurateur Charlie, his passion for fresh gourmet fare and how he captures the local flare in our one-on-one interview.
What is your connection to the Oceanside community and why are you called the Mayor of South O?
I grew up in South O and haven’t left. The Privateer location used to be a 7-Eleven and when I was a kid, we would skate the curbs and steal candy bars (don’t tell anyone). My son Sage, who is my partner helping manage the restaurant, had the same 3rd grade teacher as me at Palmquist where we get our veggies for the restaurant now! The mayor comment came from Chef Davin during an interview that we did together for San Diego Magazine. I think he intended that I’m good at rallying the community to work together for the betterment of South O. It’s truly a community effort that makes us special and unique.
Why did you decide to open The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza and then The Privateer Marketplace & Wine Bar?
It was a childhood dream of mine and my best friend Jamey Stone to open a restaurant in our neighborhood. We were inspired by the original coal fire pizza restaurant in the US, Lombardi’s in NYC, and locally by the Flying Pig who were the first to do something original and different in O’side. We realized no one was really using 100% coal fire so we decided it was what our community needed at the time and now we have the largest 100% coal fire oven in North County. The Marketplace came about when the space next door opened up and we had a unique opportunity to have an adjoining restaurant. There really wasn’t anyone doing a wine bar in Oceanside then with desserts and sandwiches so again, timing just made sense.
How is your family involved and how do you like working together?
When we say we are family run we mean it. Both my sons, wife, niece, nephew and sister in-law work with me. Plus we’ve hired people that have become family to us. The dedication and hard work that our family puts in inspires me everyday to do the best we can. I love working with them and they take a true ownership/pride in the business!
What makes the food and experience at The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza and The Privateer Marketplace & Wine Bar special?
We source as much as we can locally and everything is made from scratch with love! That truly makes the difference in what we put on our customers’ plates.
What’s your secret to keep customers coming in?
I think we provide an experience that people can relate to and truly enjoy. We always have unique food specials using ingredients from local farms. I like to say we’re blue-collar gourmet, people appreciate that because we are a hard working community.
Tell me about your farm-to-table program and the local purveyors that you use.
We are so fortunate to have four farms up the street (Palmquist Elementary, Lincoln Middle School, South O Elementary and Cyclops) that produce about 60% of our organic veggies. Our community is growing our food, how can it get better than that? We also support top local purveyors on the Marketplace side like Petite Madeline, Faye’s Desserts, Snopples for vegan options, Jitters, DaniGirl Cake Pops and Gaia Gelato. There are so many great people that contribute to our success.
What are your top three recommendations for someone new to The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza and The Privateer Marketplace & Wine Bar?
Don’t just try our pizza (which we are known for), expand your mind and try everything on the menu. You will be amazed at what we put out and how good everything truly is. Also come to our weekly events like Comedy Tuesdays, Wine Wednesdays & Jams (with local musician Shane Hall), Classic Cars & Hot Rods Night and Painting & Vino on Saturdays. Lastly, check out our retail wine selection on the Marketplace side. Our sommelier, Susan Porter, is the best at what she does and you’ll be blown away by our selection!
What do you recommend for someone who wants to try something a little different?
Try our Spicy Cauliflower or Brussels Pie. Both are to die for!
How do you choose your craft beers and wines?
I hire people that are truly passionate about what they do. My good friend and bar manager Eric Klier (who has been with us since the beginning) puts our beer selection together and Susan Porter chooses our wines.
Why did you hire chef Samantha Parker and how would you like to see her enhance your menu(s)?
I had an epiphany about a year ago and wanted to see a woman in our kitchen. It’s rare to see a woman running a kitchen, which seems weird to me. Chef Samantha has been everything I was hoping for and more! She has a unique vision and is stepping up our menu by bringing a collaborative kitchen together. Everyone contributes to our menu which gives everyone ownership of our food. I couldn’t be happier with what she is doing to evolve our food game here at The Privateer!
What community projects are you working on right now?
I believe in getting involved with our community so I serve on the board for Visit Oceanside, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce and Oceanside Unified School District. We are starting the South Oceanside Business District with help from MainStreet Oceanside. I’m also working with locals to create an Oceanside Boardriders Club that will focus on mentoring our youth, building our surf community and bringing attention to the talent in our city. I’m so fortunate to work with such an amazing group of people that care about the future of our city. We have many great things happening in our city right now and our goal is to keep it authentic and true to who we are (not an easy task with the growth and money coming to our city).
What’s your next venture and/or future plans for The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza and The Privateer Marketplace & Wine Bar?
I’m excited that we will be launching a unique breakfast program this summer in the Marketplace. We will continue to use top local purveyors serving gourmet donuts, acai bowls, pastries, quiches, toasts and an elevated coffee experience. Stay tuned!
What’s exciting about the Oceanside dining scene right now?
I see a food and libation revolution happening here in Oceanside. We are so unique in that the independent restaurants are all very collaborative and supportive of each other. We get the freshest veggies from our local farms and challenge each other to make the most unique dishes. We don’t represent our individual brands as much as we represent Oceanside as a collective whole. Our goal is to grow the pie and not just go after the same slice (no pun intended). We’ve stepped up the game in Oceanside and other cities are recognizing us as the place to eat, drink and socialize! I’m very proud and humbled by that.
Is there anything that you’d like to add?
I’d like to say thank you to our community of chefs, owners, residents, tourists and family for all the love and support you give. We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the amazing community that makes up our fine city of Oceanside. Keep kicking butt!
About the Author
Jolee Pink is an Oceanside-based writer, designer and artist. She runs the popular Eat Drink SD Facebook group and her Wabisabi Green lifestyle blog focuses on art, design, food and travel. For more information, please visit wabisabigreen.com.