Eat Chow expands to West Newport

A popular Eastside Costa Mesa restaurant has expanded into Newport Beach with a menu geared toward the grab-and-go surf crowd.

Eat Chow's new location — described by owner Brian McReynolds as "modern Californian cuisine, like a gastropub with Mexican food" — on 62nd Street in West Newport is having an invite-only, grand-opening party Thursday to celebrate. The restaurant is Eat Chow's second, the first being at Newport Boulevard and 18th Street, which opened about four years ago.

A soft opening in Newport was held April 23. So far, the response has been positive, McReynolds said.

"We're keeping the same menu as Eat Chow One, but we're slowly incorporating more beach food and hand-held food," he said. "More tacos, more sandwiches, and for breakfast, more grab-and-go items for surfers and people in the community."

Additionally, the Newport location will feature draft beers, including some from Fullerton-based Bootlegger's Brewery.

Pairing up with local vendors for daily deliveries of meat, seafood and produce is a cornerstone of how Eat Chow does business, said General Manager Amy Frawley Curran.

"Freshness is a huge component," she said. "You can really taste it in the food."

Eat Chow also brought in Portola Coffee Lab's Jeff Duggan to train staffers in the art of brewing the perfect cup of coffee, espresso and latte, Curran said.

"We want coffee that's going to complement our food," she said. "A lot of coffee out there is great, but it overpowers your food. Portola, in our opinion, is very food-friendly."

Some of the Costa Mesa Eat Chow's popular menu items — like the Reuben sandwich and truffle Parmesan fries — are also featured on Newport's menu.

Those dishes became favorites because of the attention to detail that goes into all of Eat Chow's recipes, McReynolds said.

About 20 new staffers were hired for the roughly 1,500-square-foot eatery.

If all goes well, Eat Chow locations could begin opening up in areas such as Corona del Mar, Dana Point and San Diego within the next couple of years, McReynolds said.

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