Angry Pete's Pizza To Replace Tin Fish Seafood Restaurant In San Diego's East County

November 7, 2022

After only a year-and-a-half in business, Tin Fish has shuttered its lakefront location at Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve & Campground and will soon be replaced by a branch of Angry Pete's Detroit-style pizza. 

Last June, a location of Tin Fish seafood restaurant opened in a 4,000 square-foot, indoor/outdoor space within the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve and Campground, which houses seven man-made lakes and 190 acres of park space. Tin Fish restaurant was founded in San Diego by Joseph Melluso in 1998. The last remaining Tin Fish branches in San Diego are now the eatery at the end of the Imperial Beach Pier and another in Oceanside. There are also three outposts in Florida and one in Indiana.

"Before covid hit I applied for the new restaurant space at Santee Lakes," explained 'Angry' Pete Harbison. "I didn't get the spot, which actually worked out good, because I wasn't really ready for that big of jump at the time. Now that I have the experience of opening 4 new locations, I'm ready for it! This has been a goal of mine for years, and I'm happy to announce that Angry Petes Pizza will be opening up soon inside of Santee Lakes! We're excited to to provide our Detroit Style Pizza & comfort food to the park & the community of Santee." 

The expansive Santee Lakes space, which can host almost 200 diners and has a large outdoor deck overlooking Lake 4, will soon become the first standalone branch of Angry Pete's Pizza. Angry Pete's will offer a rotating menu of Detroit-style pan pizza and specialty items like Michegan-style "Coney" chili hotdogs, smash burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, and other comfort foods. Pizzas will be available for onsite consumption and take-away with suggestions for pairing from the line of craft beers and beverages. Customers will also be able to purchase Angry Pete's signature habanero honey.

"At around age 10, I started delivering newspapers in Michigan, starting at 6am, half the year in the freezing snow dropping off hundreds of heavy newspapers," detailed Harbison about his history. "By age 16, I had saved up enough to buy a car, so instead of delivering newspapers I started to deliver pizzas. As a teenager I liked to drive fast & reckless, so within 6 months I had amassed enough speeding tickets to get my license suspended. I went to my boss and apologized that I couldn't work anymore, and she laughed at me. She said I could still work there in the kitchen. I had no desire to work in a hot sweaty kitchen, nor any interest in cooking. But I needed a job, so I grudgingly accepted. What I thought would be a terrible experience was actually quite enjoyable for me! Within 2 years I was assistant manager there, but I wanted to learn more. In 1999 I went to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in AZ. Since then I've worked at numerous places such as hotels, casinos, country clubs & restaurants, doing fine dining, pastries, sushi, Italian, Irish, and many other styles of cuisine."

Angry Petes Pizza was founded in 2018 by Michigan-native Pete Harbison. The eatery began as a small pop up, doing events at farmers markets, festivals and beer pairings with some of San Diego's top breweries. Angry Pete's offers a menu of Detroit-style pizza, which is basically a hybrid version of Sicilian style pizza made in square metal pans originally designed for auto parts in the Detroit factories. The pizza is made using a higher hydration level dough, that is much lighter and fluffier than other deep dish pizzas. Another signature of Detroit-style pizza is crispy cheese around the crust.

"My goal was always to own my own restaurant," continued Harbison. "So for the past 15 years, I've only accepted Executive Chef positions at brand new places, so I could gain 1st hand experience opening new restaurants. In 2016 I knew I wanted to do Detroit Style Pizza, so I spent years trying to figure out how to get the funding. By 2018 I knew I wasn't going to be able to find investors, no one had ever even heard of Detroit style pizza in San Diego, so they weren't interested in investing. They all said it would never work in SD, people only want thin crust pizza here. Serve tacos or burgers they said. I knew it was go time, but without an actual location how could I do it? Let's start small and try to get some investors! I started doing pop ups at festivals, farmers markets & breweries. Within 2 years I opened up my 1st mini kitchen inside of a brewery. 2 years later we have 4 locations inside of bars & breweries (Desi's Bar in Point Loma, JP's Pub in Tierrasanta, Little Miss Brewing in Poway & Lakeside)."

Angry Pete's Pizza hopes to open by year's end at 9310 G Fanita Parkway inside the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve and Campgrounds in San Diego's East County. For more information, visit