Laguna restaurateur Ivan Spiers is doing a fast and efficient restaurant makeover worthy of one of those Netflix series. In a mere month’s time, he’s shifting the Laguna Fish Co. (under Skyloft downtown) to Bodega Laguna. Plans are still on track to open at the end of September or first week of October.
“Laguna Fish Co. was the first counter service restaurant I’ve put in Laguna Beach,” said Spiers, who owns three concepts in Laguna aside from this one. “I thought it’s what people wanted, and that it would be easier to staff with the labor shortages we have these days, but people just wanted full service, someone waiting on them and making it more of a full dining experience. So, that’s what we’re shifting this restaurant to”
Spiers isn’t just shifting the short-lived name (Laguna Fish Co. opened 7 months ago on Feb. 9th). He’s changed out all the decor, buying up all the tables, chairs, plates, glasses and authentic decor from Mexico.
The menu changes dramatically, too. “We’re still going to be featuring fresh fish and seafood, but it’s going to have more heat and spice,” Spiers explained to me. “And, we’ll have some other Mexican specialty items and great themed cocktails, too.
Bodega Laguna adds a new geographical focus point to Spiers’ already-existing Skyloft (American smokehouse), Mozambique (North African cuisine) and Ristorante Rumari (the best of Southern Italy and Greece). Spiers hopes the new concept will appeal to the throng of thousands that pass by this historic Heisler Building.
The restaurant essentially sits at the beginning of what I call Laguna’s Restaurant Row at 400 S. Coast Highway. The original restaurant in the space, the Jolly Roger, lasted 50 years before Tommy Bahama’s Island Grille set up shop in November 2010. After Tommy Bahama closed in November 2019 (four years ago), the space sat empty until Spiers began creating his new concept there in late 2022.
“It’s a great space for a restaurant and we’re happy to keep that space occupied with great food and drinks. It’s an iconic corner of Laguna Beach,” he said.