Selanne's to open in July

A high-end steakhouse planned for the former French 75 site in Laguna Beach by a group that includes Anaheim Ducks' player Teemu Selanne is expected to open later this summer.

Jim Shumate, owner along with Selanne and Kevin Pratt, hopes to open the restaurant, now set to be called Selanne's, July 1.

The three friends got together five years ago to discuss opening a restaurant, said Shumate, former general manager of the Chart House in Dana Point. The search spanned coastal areas from Laguna Beach to Newport Beach.

They decided on the former French 75 site, at 1464 S. Coast Hwy., because it is close to the coast and "we loved the charm of the old building and the way it's laid out," Shumate said.

The two-story building will house a tavern on the main floor, with the upstairs reserved for the main dining room, Shumate said. He added that the restaurant will feature hardwood floors.

He hopes the location, across the street from the Surf & Sand Resort, will help drive business.

The search for a chef is down to two finalists, both of whom Shumate declined to identify. He said owners hope to make a decision on the chef in the next two weeks.

The restaurant's Yelp profile calls the business an "upscale neighborhood tavern with comfort food, small plates and burgers" in addition to steaks.

The space has been vacant for less than a year, said Ann Larson, the city's planning manager.

The owners originally planned to call the restaurant Teemu Tavern & Grill, according to a December Coastline Pilot story.

Twitter: @AldertonBryce

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