Pacific Beach's Incoming Waterbar Hires Culinary Team

November 14, 2017

News broke late last year that Waterbar would be opening beachside in Pacific Beach in the space long occupied by Joe's Crab Shack. After a long delay, the gigantic new bar and restaurant is close to its debut and has appointed Executive Chef Steven Lona to lead the kitchen, along with Sous Chef Moira Hill.

The top-to-bottom overhaul of the stagnant former Joe's Crab Shack space at 4325 Ocean Boulevard in Pacific Beach is near complete. The oceanfront eatery hopes to finally open this December as Waterbar - a 6,700 square foot bar and restaurant with a seafood-centric menu complete with unique cocktails and craft beer. Located along the bustling ocean boardwalk where Grand Avenue meets the beach just south of the iconic Crystal Pier, Waterbar will offer floor-to-ceiling views of sea and sky and a menu developed by former Tasting Room Del Mar Executive Chef Steven Lona.

Steven Lona came to the culinary spotlight during his time in the kitchen at Marche Moderne in Costa Mesa. Since then, he has spent significant time consulting on a number of prominent restaurant and bar openings. Prior to joining Tasting Room Del Mar last year, before it closed this past summer, Steven worked at Studio at the Montage in Laguna Beach and as chef at Bistro 45 in Pasadena. Working alongside Chef Steven in the Waterbar kitchen is Sous Chef Moira Hill, a San Diego native that has been in the restaurant industry since she was 16 and has previously spent time in the kitchens at George's at the Cove, Juniper + Ivy, and Tidal at Paradise Point Hotel. Chef Moira also recently participated as a contestant on Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen

How about that view?!
With inspiration from East Coast, West Coast, and Baja cuisines, Waterbar will offer a menu of "social seafood", including fresh shellfish, locally caught favorites and shareable plates, which will be transformed into Chef Lona's unique renditions of coastal classics. Expect chowder, cioppino, lobster rolls, seafood sandwiches, tapas, meat, and fresh veggies to be featured on the menu.

Waterbar is a collaboration from industry veterans Todd Brown (Bub’s at the Beach and Ballpark, Blind Burro), Eric Leitstein of OMG Hospitality Group (Union Kitchen + Tap, Backyard Kitchen + Tap and P.B Alehouse) and Joe Vaught of The Verant Group (Barleymash, Tavern, Sandbar, Westroot, True North Tavern, Uptown Tavern). This well-seasoned team of restauranteurs could not pass up on the prime location and seized the opportunity to create something dynamic and unique with the new Waterbar.

Waterbar’s large venue will feature an open lounge and two expansive bars. Craft cocktails will be created behind the bar, while locally crafted beers and a diverse wine list can be offered. Expect comfortable bar seating, community-table dining, and intimate ocean-side tables. Brunch, lunch, a sunset-inspired happy hour, dinner and late-night bites are sure to bring locals and visitors alike to this new San Diego dining and drinking destination.

Waterbar is anticipated to open this December 2017. For more information, visit