A Restaurant (formerly known as The Arches) on Coast Highway in Newport Beach has a storied past dating back 100 years. For decades the gas station/diner was the halfway meeting spot for motorists between Los Angeles and San Diego, spawning the phrase “meet me at the Arches.”
Over the years the restaurant morphed into a classy old school steak house known for its lively lounge scene and leather booths, not to mention the fantastic steaks.
The restaurant changed hands several times and so did the name. Now it’s simply called A Restaurant, and is as popular as ever thanks to River Jetty Restaurant Group partners Joseph ‘McG’ Nichol and Jordan Otterbein, who in addition to bringing A to prominence also opened the adjacent A Market and then CdM restaurant on Coast Highway in Corona del Mar.
Now, the duo has announced the opening of a long-awaited project: A Crystal Cove, at the Crystal Cove Shopping Center at 7864 E Coast Hwy.
A Crystal Cove is open for lunch and dinner daily and brunch on the weekends.
“As Orange County natives, McG and I take pride in contributing to our community, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to expand upon our vision of bringing people together,” said Otterbein. “A Crystal Cove will have the same genuine hospitality that fans of our concepts know and love, but the result is a completely one-of-a-kind experience, and we can’t wait to share it.”
River Jetty Restaurant Group’s latest addition will be their first full-service concept to offer brunch, lunch and dinner. A Crystal Cove’s atmosphere of relaxed coastal sophistication will welcome guests throughout the day to experience elevated cuisine in a welcoming setting.
According to information from River Jetty Restaurant Group, the interior is a nod to old Hollywood, with design elements from both CdM and A Restaurants, but on a larger scale as the new space will seat 200 inside with additional patio seating accessible by front-facing sliding doors.
A glass-enclosed wine room will display a collection of exquisite wines, interior walls will be adorned with fine art and gallery-style lighting, and an antique photo booth will be available for guests to commemorate their dining experience. The centerpiece is a 24-seat bar.
Otterbein credits ITX Construction for the renovation of A Crystal Cove (the space was formerly occupied by Settebello Pizzeria). Additionally, Betsy Van’t Hof of Art by Design and McG were responsible for the design of the space.
The menu will reflect a curated selection of seasonally inspired greatest hits from A and CdM courtesy of Executive Chef Elvis Morales.
Sample menu items: BBQ Heirloom Carrots with pecan butter, dill and herb dressing; Spicy Yellowfin Tuna with tempura eggplant, sriracha aioli, wasabi tobiko, sweet soy, and chives; Chicken Piccata with lemon and caper butter, cherry tomato and shallot salad, potato puree, and basil; Akushi Skirt Steak with fingerling potatoes, charred broccolini, sweet garlic, and ranchero; and Cioppino made with linguine, sea bass, salmon, scallops, mussels, clams and New Zealand prawn.
And, perhaps as a nod to the former tenant, Settebello Pizzeria, which closed prior to the pandemic, a variety of pizzas will be available.
A Crystal Cove is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Friday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The weekend brunch includes guest DJs on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 pm. The restaurant will also host DJs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings for a spirited late-night affair.