A member of our team recently sat down with Daniel Elliott Pundik, Executive Chef of Local Tap House & Kitchen, to get some behind-the-scenes information and dish about one of Oceanside’s newest eateries.
Q. Why did you open up here [Oceanside]?
A. Our owner, Gabe, was looking for somewhere he could be involved in the community. He wanted to build a place for the locals, and he thought the community in Oceanside would be a great community to really embrace what we were trying to do.
Q. So do you consider yourselves to be for South O?
A. I think O’side all around. We’re bringing people from Encinitas, Carlsbad, Temecula. I think it’s a good middle, meeting point for a lot of people. For people living in Oceanside, they might want to invite friends and family to Oceanside, come to the beach, and have dinner, and now they have somewhere to bring them to eat.
Q. I like the decor. Very open, it has a great outdoor-indoor feel. How hard was it to get all of this done?
A. The owner spent 15 hours a day here for the past year, just to get everything up and open. He built this place with his bare hands; a good crew, and some local vendors for plumbing, and woodwork, and he got them all involved in building.
Q. I do see a lot of things that are handmade.
A. Yes, the chairs are from Etsy. A local artist made them for us. Kentner Fabrications did the tables. All County Plumbing did a lot of the iron work, and our tap system – our unique tap system that no one else has. All of the wood is reclaimed, the floors are 80 years old – it’s the original floor of Vaughn’s Market that was here prior, and the headers are all original as well.
Q. The restaurant has a kind of industrial feel because you are using some building material like the parallam for your doors. Is that just keeping that cool, laid back look?
A. That’s right, industrial, modern, the true California atmosphere. And we do have some really cool, comfortable chairs too.
The restaurant is doing great so far. We’re really working on driving the food, and letting people know that we’re not just a tap house, we’re a restaurant.
Q. Tell me about the food. Where did the inspiration for the menu come from?
A. The inspiration came from Oceanside. We’re trying to do food that people can relate to, but at the same time, give them quality. All of our ingredients we try and source locally. We buy a lot of our tomatoes from Valdivia Farms. We use Go Green Farms for all of our kale needs, and those are out of Carlsbad. We are really, really focusing on elevating our food as time goes by, and people start to know we’re here. We want to deliver the highest quality products we can.
Everything fresh. Everything is made from scratch. We make all of our dressings, we cut our own french fries, we make all of our own potato chips.
Q. So will the menu change depending on what’s available from the local farms?
A. Absolutely, it will change with the seasons. We’re going to change our menu once a month – the beginning of every month, we’re going to do an overhaul of our menu and make a big change to it. We’ll keep things that sell, take out things that don’t sell, and keep adding things that people want to see on there. Right now our highest selling items are our Crispy Calamari and Agave Bacon Tacos. We make the bacon that goes on it, we cure our pork belly, we make the pickles we use here. That’s our goal: a “from scratch” kitchen where you’re going to get quality craft beer, you’re going to get quality food, and a great atmosphere.
Q. Tell me about a few more of your favorite items.
A. The Fried Green Tomato Sliders, which is the fried green tomatoes, smoked gouda beer cheese, onion marmalade, piece of seared pork belly, and lots of baby greens on top, dressed with lemon, olive oil and sea salt.
Our Queso Blanco Chicharrón, which is a piece of fried white, soft cheese, fried, we serve it with avocado, shaved jalapeño, shaved radishes, and tomatillo chimichurri. We serve a ton of both of those dishes.
Q. What do you have on tap? And how often will it change?
A. We have some staple beers like Mother Earth Cali Creamin’ and Ballast Point Sculpin. Aside from those 2 beers, our beers are going to change as we tap the keg. As we tap the keg, we’re bringing a different beer in. Right now, we have the new Belgian Wheat beer, we have Acoustic Ale, we’ve got another Stone beer, Pizza Port beer. There’s definitely beers that people want to see so we’re trying to keep those up, but we also want to keep changing our beers.
4 or 5 of the taps are going to be the local taps: we’re going to have the locals go online and choose what they want us to have on tap. That should be ready in the next couple weeks.
In the future, we’re looking forward to doing some dinners with beer pairings, Sunday brunch, and we’re featuring the World Cup Beer all month long.
Q. Do you live in Oceanside, Daniel?
A. I used to, but right now I’m in Encinitas, looking for a house in Oceanside. I had lived in Oceanside for 5 years so you could say I’m from here.
Q. But I read that you moved out of state, is that right?
A. Yes, I moved to Miami. My family is from there, I had a great job out there, but there’s nothing like California or Oceanside.
Q. Is there any Florida influence in this cuisine?
A. Absolutely. We have a little Latin flair in our menu, and I definitely think that has to do with me spending a year in Florida, there’s a big Latin culture there.
If you would like to try out this tasty new O’side spot, here is their contact information:
- LTH & Kitchen on Visit Oceanside
LTH & Kitchen website…coming soon!
Click here for more Oceanside dining.