The Winery Crushes, Moulin Multiplies

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The Winery Hosts a Great Crush 

I have been a devoted fan of The Winery restaurant since partners JC Clow, William Lewis and Chef Yvon Goetz opened their first location in Tustin more than 10 years ago. Their Newport location on the water followed in 2014.

(left to right) William Lewis of The Winery, NFL Hall of Famer Andre Reed, and JC Clow of The Winery, at The Great Crush event last month.
— Photo by Jeanette DiAnda and Les Lee / South County Photo Club ©

Goetz specializes in wild game and his signature Alsatian pizza. Lewis specializes in wines. Clow specializes in hospitality. But together, they also specialize in charity.

Last month, The Winery Newport hosted the restaurant’s ninth annual The Great Crush fundraiser, this year benefitting Arthritis Foundation. More than 250 guests (including me) experienced an afternoon of superb wine tasting, with more than 80 wines from which to choose — many of which are considered unique finds from boutique wineries spanning the globe.

There were tray-passed appetizers, a cheese display, and a slider station. Live and silent auctions helped raise additional funds.

“After our ninth such fundraising event, we’ve raised $592,000 for worthy organizations in our community,” Clow said. “The goal of the event, which has evolved into ‘The Great Crush,’ is to make a positive impact by raising significant funds for worthy organizations, such as this year’s beneficiary, the Arthritis Foundation. This is an organization pursuing a cure for America’s biggest cause of disability, while championing the fight against arthritis with life-changing resources, science, advocacy and community connections.”

View from The Winery Restaurant during The Great Crush event last month.
— Photo by Jeanette DiAnda and Les Lee / South County Photo Club ©

The wine tastings were spread around both the upstairs and downstairs dining and lounge areas. Wandering throughout the restaurant, I was reminded of The Winery’s beautiful design and dazzling décor. It was one of my mother’s favorite restaurants (I celebrated Mother’s Day brunch here, in her honor).

I’ll be back soon for another wonderful Winery dinner.

For more information, visit thewineryrestaurants.com.

Moulin Multiplies

Nearly six years ago, I stood with restaurateur Laurent Vrignaud in the middle of a vacant building in a strip mall along Bristol Street in Newport Beach.

Laurent Vrignaud, owner of local restaurant chain Moulin, poses for a photo.
— Photo courtesy of Moulin ©

Vrignaud, an enthusiastic business owner from Newport Beach who spent three decades in the action sports industry, told me about his grand plans for an authentic French café and bakery. I remember looking around the empty space, trying to imagine what this crazy Frenchman was creating.

That creation, Moulin, opened in the fall of 2014. Vrignaud was indeed crazy — crazy busy. His restaurant was a hit from day one, thanks to authentic French cuisine and an authentic Parisian experience.

Several years later he opened a second location in downtown Laguna Beach. Another hit.

Croque madame, a popular French dish at Moulin.
— Photo courtesy of Moulin ©

Earlier this year, a third location opened in San Clemente. Now, a fourth Moulin opened this week at the OC Mix in Costa Mesa. Number five is scheduled to open this fall in Irvine, and number six in Dana Point in 2020.

With an emphasis on an elevated pastry program, the new OC Mix location is open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The 2000 sq. ft. pastry lab boasts a 17-foot glass pastry case and an exhibition-style kitchen, where guests can watch Moulin’s bakers assemble artisan pastries.

Moulin in Costa Mesa will serve as the commercial pastry kitchen for its existing locations and catering productions, while the Newport Moulin will shift its focus from pastry production to bread baking.

Various dishes offered at Moulin, which opened another restaurant this week in Costa Mesa.
— Photo courtesy of Moulin ©

“Six years ago, I didn’t know anything about this business, except what was inside my head,” Vrignaud said earlier this week when I went to check out the latest Moulin. “My dream was to have one store. Now, I have more. I have 100 employees and growing, and I am six years older. I am 54 now, I was 48 when we started. I have learned so much about the restaurant business. When I first told my friends I was going into the restaurant business, they said, ‘Why?’ It is the toughest business. Most fail. And most people that go into the restaurant business do it to be cool. This is not cool. There are cooler jobs. This is hard. Most people want instant success. They are not willing to go in to work seven days a week.”

Vrignaud noted that he is a morning person and rises between 4 and 5 a.m.

“That’s why I did not go into the bar business,” he joked. “We (Moulin) wake up with the sun, explode at lunch, and die off with the sun. I have dinner with my family seven nights a week.”

A variety of pastries offered at Newport Moulin restaurant, which will soon shift its focus to breadmaking.
— Photo courtesy of Moulin ©

Vrignaud credits his success not only to hard work, but to his authentic product.

“I sell something that is world renowned — a French baguette, a croissant, a Parisian sandwich, a crepe,” he said. “I have a responsibility to deliver it the same way I grew up with it in Paris. Millions of people went to Paris last year. They can walk into my place and say it’s the real deal. It starts with the product. The product is the hero.”

For more information, visit moulin.com.

 

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