Before you even walk into ARC restaurant at South Coast Collection (aka SOCO), you can’t help but notice the pile of firewood outside the front door. Inside the restaurant is another pile of wood.
The wood is not there to heat the restaurant, it’s used to cook the food.
Yes, everything at ARC is cooked over live fire, either on the grill (fueled with orange wood), or in the brick hearth (fueled by almond).
“When you start your morning by making a fire, it changes your perspective on the day,” said Chef Noah von Blöm, co-owner of ARC with his wife, Marin.
The Newport Beach residents opened ARC nearly three years ago, and thanks to rave reviews from both diners and critics have been on the fast track to culinary success ever since.
Now, the gastronomic dynamic duo is expanding their DirtySexyHappiness Hospitality Group by adding two additional restaurant adjacent to ARC: Restaurant Marin (a modern day diner) and The Guild (Winston Churchill’s den), both scheduled to open in December.
Named after Managing Partner Marin Howarth von Blöm, Restaurant Marin will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and
dessert from 7 a.m. to midnight daily. This modern-day diner will include classic desserts, pies, and crumbles. Cocktails are made fresh and bottled daily, with a rotating menu of homemade sodas and fresh craft juice blends that change with the seasons. Tailored wine and beer selections complement the fresh menu at Marin. Décor in this fresh modern-deco space features gilded-era ideals with nickel, indigo, turquoise, and white with black accents. Guests can enjoy fine dining quality in this 1,000-square-foot, fast-casual setting with marble tables and dark blue leather booths.
The Guild is Noah Blöm’s idea of fine dining, or as he describes it, “the original gentleman’s club.” At The Guild, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, with classic cocktails matching the classic menu. It’s a more exclusive, reservation-only dinner experience, complete with classic butler service until 2 a.m. daily. The space features an exaggerated, almost theatrical glimpse into late 19th century fine dining with card tables and wingback chairs.
So why open two new restaurants that are so different from ARC? Why not just expand ARC’s dining room?
“We didn’t want to open another ARC, that’s perfect as it is,” said Noah. “Arc is like our living room, our family room, you can pop in for a bite to eat. Marin is our breakfast nook, light and comfortable. The Guild is our formal dining room, it’s really special, I would love for people to dress up for it.”
“We feel that fine dining died,” said Noah by way of explaining his reasoning behind The Guild. “Of course you have restaurants like French Laundry, but a 43 course tasting menu can get boring. We wanted to bring it back into a Hans Prager (owner of The Ritz) era; we’re paying tribute to those that gave us an education, of what’s classy and cool.”
“It’s something to get dressed up for,” added Marin. “We went to Del Mar racetrack and got dressed up, we looked fabulous and it made the event. Life moves so fast sometimes, you need to take time out to be together for a special event, a special dinner.”
“We’ve been taking reservations starting with Dec. 14 and everything is booked through the end of the year,” said Noah. “We’re booking a month ahead. It’s an event, like going to a show, it’s not just meal. We’re bringing in live lobsters for lobster thermidor.”
That’s a contrast with Restaurant Marin, which by design will have a more casual ambiance, with food inspired by the classic American diner.
“The greatest meal in my life was at a place in Kansas called Mama’s Diner,” recalled Noah. I had pie, bacon and eggs. That’s what it’s supposed to be.”
Marin said the restaurant intends to offer a no-tipping option and pay their servers a higher hourly wage.
“Everyone should be paid a good wage and make it a career, not a transient job,” she said. “We want people who are lifers, who make it a career, not those who want extra money and are only in it for two weeks.”
No mention of ARC would be complete without saluting Bar Chef Koire Rogers, who oversees the cocktail programs at all restaurants. His creativity with a cocktail has won him awards and a loyal following.
For more information, visit restaurantmarin.com, theguildclub.com, and arcrestaurant.com.