Newport Beach has a handful of restaurants that serve morning meals, but nothing quite like OEB Breakfast Co., a popular Canadian eatery that has opened its first California restaurant at Westcliff Plaza in Newport Beach. It’s only the second OEB location in the U.S. (the first is in Scottsdale, Arizona).
After moving to Canada from his native Italy in 1992 to pursue a career as an executive chef, Mauro Martina opened the first OEB in 2009 in Alberta, followed by eight more throughout Canada.
According to Chef Martina, “During my childhood in Italy, I was exposed to fresh, rich ingredients every day and learned the value of being able to shake hands with farmers and purveyors who produced those foods. I created OEB as a way to foster community and connection — with our guests, the food, and the people who work tirelessly to make our dishes possible, and hope that one day we can become the first Michelin star breakfast restaurant.”
The dishes Chef Martina has concocted are creative, exotic and in many ways Michelin-worthy.
Examples: Gold Digga Breakfast Poutine with duck fat fried potatoes, poached eggs, fresh local cheese curds, Berkshire roast pork and brown butter hollandaise, or French Toast Trifle made with thick-cut brioche French toast, lemon curd, market berries, pistachios and torched pavlovas.
Chef Martina uses such elegant ingredients as scallops, lobster, truffle, caviar and duck in many of his morning mixtures.
The Newport Beach location is the first of many planned OEB restaurants in California courtesy of OC residents and brothers Walid Daoud and Antoine Daoud of Newport Breakfast Concepts LLC.
“I fell in love with OEB at first bite and knew it would be a wonderful addition to Orange County’s breakfast scene with its innovative dishes being unlike anything else I’ve experienced,” said Walid Daoud. “Being an Orange County resident and avid breakfast lover myself, I’m confident that OEB’s lively vibe and chef-driven menu is a perfect fit for 17th Street’s vibrant and bustling community.”
Walid said he has been in the food business for 30 years and has owned many concepts. Now, he’s focused on breakfast, but he wanted something different than what others are doing.
“I looked at other breakfast concepts but nothing like what I wanted,” he said. Then while visiting a friend in Vancouver they dined at OEB. Walid was sold.
So what do the initials OEB stand for?
According to the OEB website, it stands for Outstanding People, Embracing Evolution and Bold Food Integrity.
Walid said that it originally was Over Easy Breakfast, but apparently another restaurant in Canada had that name so it was shortened to OEB Breakfast Co.
Ask the repeat customers to the Newport location, and they might say it stands for Outrageously Excellent Breakfast.
“Our most popular items are the breakfast bowls, which is our version of Canadian poutine,” said Walid. “Instead of gravy we use hollandaise sauce. You can have it with potatoes or half and half with vegetables. Our Croque Madame is an elevated version of the French dish. We use a lot of high-end items—micro greens, black truffles, aged Manchego cheese.”
Many of the Canadian OEB menu items made the transition to America, while others have been created in the OEB style. One noted difference in the menu, said Walid: “More salads, especially here in Newport Beach.”
Walid said the reaction from customers has been very positive.
“We have the ‘wow’ factor. Customers tell me they are coming back and telling everyone about us.”
After learning about OEB, fellow NB Indy scribe Richard Simon and I had breakfast there a few weeks after they opened.
Richard has a gluten-free diet and found several dishes he could have. I love poutine, so I went with the Get Shorty breakfast bowl: poached eggs, duck fat fried herb potatoes, fresh cheese curds, beef short rib, bell peppers, mushrooms, and brown butter hollandaise An excellent choice—a hearty, tasty dish.
I returned a week later for lunch (yes, OEB is open 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily) and had the lobster and shrimp crepe with truffle pearls, and the Notorious B.I.T. burger with white truffle mayo.
The crepe was sensational and as decadent as they come thanks to the generous amount of brown butter hollandaise poured on top. The burger was top notch, made more decadent with the truffle mayo. And the wedge fries that accompanied it were perfect, crisp on the outside and soft inside.
Visit us.eatoeb.com for more information.