This weekend, a large ad in the OC Register noted that Stonefire Grill was expanding to Brea this fall and, then, to Laguna in early 2019.

Really? A 12th location for Stonefire Grill here in Laguna?

Well … no. After jumping on the phone to chat with the City and the Stonefire reps themselves, it turns out they’re setting up camp nearby in Laguna Niguel. They’re taking up in the old Mimmy’s Café location at 27430 La Paz Road.

Even though a small chain of restaurants, Stonefire Grill could be considered in Laguna Beach, though probably not in the downtown corridor that still remains true to the “mom-and-pop,” unique entity sort of theme. A location more to the south – like where Ruby’s currently operates – would be more workable.

On that note, there has been rumor about town that Ruby’s might be pulling up stakes. Absolutely not the case.

In September, the Ruby’s Diner chain filed for bankruptcy protection and agreed to sell a 60 percent ownership stake to Ruby Franchise Owner Steve Craig in a plan to restructure its debt and get back on its expansion plan.

Steve Craig has been a Ruby’s franchise owner for some time, even adding a fresh new look to the Ruby’s he opened in March at his Outlets at San Clemente. He’s particularly fond of the Laguna Beach location – it’s not going anywhere.

59 Long Miles to New Orleans Reunion
Norm Theard - ROUX top restaurant in OCMany of us loved the fresh and authentic New Orleans love from Chef Norm Theard, who opened ROUX a year and a month ago with local business partners. Although the newbie restaurant earned one accolade after another, the business partners didn’t sync and, sadly, Chef Theard resigned and left the operation in early February.

If you’re willing to make the road trip (or book a flight from John Wayne to the Ontario airport), make plans for the opening of The Quarter in Claremont next month. A much larger space (approximately 120 seats), the Chef is enthused and on fire with plans. Given that a trip to the actual French Quarter is 1,888 miles from our town, I’m figuring I’ll be making a few Claremont road trips in the future for some of that amazing jambalaya and extraordinary catfish.

Harley Moving Along

By week’s end, Chef Greg Daniels looks to be in place, large and in charge of his new space, the former 370 Common Kitchen. He’s organizing his new restaurant, Harley, quickly with plans to still open in mid- to late October.





Craig Strong Nears Opening
Chef Craig Strong’s Ocean on Main restaurant is nearing the finish line. Watch for a “soft opening” start in the next two weeks. I’ll have complete news on his menu in my blog, next Tuesday (Oct. 2nd).

Expansions and Menu Change-Ups Galore.
Just about everywhere I go, our Laguna local restaurateurs have new news to share with me. Watch this column for a number of updates on restaurant expansions, new and returning chefs, restaurant takeovers and very special restaurant anniversary celebrations.


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