Elevated American Cuisine
Chefs Work Together to Grow Oceanside’s Exploding Restaurant Business
Oceanside’s ever-evolving culinary scene is truly special because all of the chefs are friends and work together to help each other out and the community as a whole. This type of camaraderie cultivates the success of city’s exploding restaurant business. Three establishments are leading the way by specializing in elevated American cuisine or as locals refer to it, “flip-flop fine dining”: 608, Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen and Local Tap House & Kitchen.
Swami’s Cafés Owner Jaime Osuna started with one small humble spot in Encinitas that focused on consistently fresh healthy home cooking. Now, there are nine successful locations throughout San Diego transforming Swami’s into a mini empire. After Jaime completed the renovation of the building at Mission Ave and North Coast Hwy 101 in Oceanside in March 2016, he moved the previous Swami’s up the street into the expansive new space. Jaime then partnered with rising star Chef William Eick to open 608 in May 2016.
The menu at 608 is diverse, eclectic and big on fusion. While aspects of fine dining are incorporated, Chef William strives to serve sophisticated yet not pretentious cuisine at affordable prices. The succulent Lobster Tail Tacos are lightly breaded then enhanced by a drizzle of Sweet Chili Aioli. The Braised Short Rib with Panang Curry, Seasonal Vegetables and Mustard Greens is a customer favorite and epitomizes American comfort food. 608 offers a small but nicely curated house wine and craft beer selection.
The décor is clean, simple and modern with faux wood tile floors, wood paneled walls and vintage framed surf photos. The staff is super friendly making this a new go to spot for serious foodies. And Chef William is thrilled to be working and living in Oceanside, “I love the sense of community, how everyone treats each other as family and wants to help each other. Oceanside’s been really good to me and we just want to give back now.”
Local Tap House (LTH) is definitely one of the most popular restaurants in Oceanside. Brilliant Chef Daniel Elliott focuses on modern American cuisine that’s locally sourced, freshly prepared and changes with the seasons. Chef Daniel comments on what makes his food standout, “All the love that we put into it. We take pride in our kitchen, our food, our employees and our customers. We give the locals what they want. There’s even a feedback section on our website.”
What’s on tap at LTH this summer? Expect lobster specials, a revamped brunch menu, new cocktails and plenty of seafood. Currently, Chef Daniel buys fresh line-caught Bluefin Tuna from local Fisherman Shawn Alby. Shawn is bringing in twelve beautiful, healthy 130 pound fish a day. Chef Daniel works his magic to transform the tuna into a mouthwatering raw-style ceviche served with crisp house made taro chips.
LTH is also introducing an outdoor VIP Booth on the patio complete with red couches, cool lantern lighting and decorative succulents. The booth is available for large parties to reserve.
Chef Daniel shares his thoughts on living and working in Oceanside, “I love the feel of community, the sense of community. All the chefs are friends. We love to work together and do events together. We have farms in our backyard, great fisherman in our backyard and the coolest locals ever. What’s not to love?”
At the original Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen (there’s a second location in Vista), Chef Samantha Parker whips up elevated southern American comfort food using classic techniques. She emphasizes using local, sustainable and minimally processed products. Chef Samantha has a deep respect for each ingredient and the suppliers that provide the restaurant with such amazing products to start with.
What’s up this summer at the Pig? Chef Samantha shares, “Expect updates to the menu in the next couple weeks as we change our menu seasonally based on availably. Summer is always an exciting time because there is an abundance of ingredients to choose from.” And how does she feel about living and working in Oceanside? “Life by the beach is an award in itself. Oceanside in particular has grown so much in the last five years or so with some truly amazing chefs and restaurants joining the scene. It’s an honor to be a part of that!”
Q&A with 608 Chef Willam Eick
One of the newest additions to the Oceanside culinary scene is 608. We had the opportunity to sit down with Chef William Eick to talk with him about the Oceanside dining revolution, the Elevated American cuisine featured at 608, and more! See what he had to say below:
About the Author
Jolee Pink is an Oceanside-based writer, designer and artist. She runs the popular Eat Drink SD Facebook group and is also the organizer of North County’s premier, annual culinary arts event: Foodie Fest. Her Wabisabi Green lifestyle blog focuses on art, design, food and travel. For more information, please visit wabisabigreen.com.