Huntington Beach’s Alicia Cox ready for a big summer for food at the beach

Alicia Cox, the owner of the Prjkt Restaurant Group.
Alicia Cox, the owner of the Prjkt Restaurant Group, which operates all the concessions at both Bolsa Chica and Huntington State Beach, poses for a portrait.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)
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Alicia Cox and her Prjkt Restaurant Group have a 10-year deal in partnership with the California State Parks System.

The first few years of that deal have brought a little bit of everything for the Huntington Beach native, who is tasked with feeding people at both Bolsa Chica and Huntington state beaches.

“Every year, we have to pivot,” Cox said. “If it’s not COVID, it’s Adrian’s Kickback, it’s a dead whale, it’s the oil spill, 12 atmospheric rivers in a row. It’s crazy. I’m just like, ‘Bring it to me, I’ve got this.’ Nothing surprises me anymore.”


After a particularly wet winter, the sun is out and Cox is smiling.

The Huntington Beach House at Huntington State Beach is open for business.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Six of her beach concessions — SeaLegs at the Beach, Seasalt by the Beach, Beach City Provisions, the Huntington Beach House, Sandbox Beach Essentials and Sahara’s Sandbar & Pizza — are currently open for business.

Pacific Kitchen will open Memorial Day weekend, Cox said. The final property, California Fork and Spoon, will be located at Brookhurst Street and Pacific Coast Highway and is slated to open early in 2024.

“We want to represent the beach for our locals and our visitors, to take away an experience at the beach that’s memorable,” Cox said. “It has to come with good food, great drinks, good entertainment, this beautiful view and the [merchandise] they can take home. We want it to be a memorable experience when they go back to their home, whether it be in Yorba Linda, Fountain Valley or maybe it’s in Italy.”

One emphasis this year will be building a brunch, getting people to the beach to eat even earlier in the day.

“I have brunch promotions going on everywhere,” Cox said. “As I started doing Brunch with the Beatles at SeaLegs, that thing built. That’s every Sunday at SeaLegs — brunch menu, bottomless mimosas and bubbles. This year, we also started SeaLegs Doggy Dog brunch. It’s like, bring your dog to brunch, and we have a DJ who mixes in Snoop Dogg music.”

The bacon beach burger is one of the many items on the menu at the Huntington Beach House.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

At the Huntington Beach House, there will be a house music brunch offered every Sunday.

Sahara’s Sandbar, which just got a full liquor license this week, will be hosting a Biggie Brunch — a 1990s and 2000s hip-hop brunch on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

SeaLegs’ Sunday schedule goes right from Brunch with the Beatles into Reggae Sundays, which Cox said has become like an institution.

“It’s a big deal,” she said, adding that Matthew “Metz” McEwan from reggae-rock band Tomorrows Bad Seeds programs the content. “We have a lot of Cali Roots reggae artists from Southern California who play there.”

There are also plenty of beach parties planned, including a once-a-month party in partnership with Strut, a gay bar in Costa Mesa.

The birria quesadilla from the Huntington Beach House.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Ali Anderson is the director of special events for Prjkt. She said the beach concessions are constantly rented out for events like weddings, bridal showers and baby showers.

The No. 1 private event that the concessions host, though, are corporate events. Last week, the Huntington Beach House hosted a Visit Huntington Beach event.

“Many of them are coming from the Midwest, all over the United States, and so a lot of them haven’t even seen the beach before,” Anderson said. “Coming to our location is like a true luxury experience for them. Whether they’re still covered in snow and probably will be for the next three months, or not even from this country, they’re getting a little slice of heaven, slice of paradise at all of our locations.”

The beach, of course, is limitless, and can offer opportunities even beyond the walls of the property.

“Sometimes people want to buy us out here [at the Huntington Beach House] because they’re staying at the Hyatt and they don’t want to go all the way down to SeaLegs,” Anderson said. “They have 400 or 500 people. That might be a little tight in here for a private event, but we can sell putting games out on the sand, putting a bar out there. We can really cater to any group’s needs.”

A poke bowl is one of the many items on the menu at the Huntington Beach House.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)