With all the attention and acclaim for Baja’s wine country, isn’t it time for a restaurant in Orange County highlighting its bounty?
That was the conversation when brothers Michael and David Rossi (The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon in Anaheim) and husband-wife team Ed and Gabbi Patrick (Chaak in Tustin and Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen in Orange) started talking about opening a place together in Orange.
“You know, there are over 100 wineries down there now and some amazing chefs in the Valle, and from Tijuana all the way to the down to the tip of Cabo,” said Michael Rossi who worked previously with his brother at Napa Rose and at The Ranch, until David Rossi left. (Michael is still consulting there.)
Gabbi and Ed Patrick will be teaming up with brothers Michael and David Rossi to create a wine country restaurant in Orange with a Baja theme. (Photo by Nick Koon, The Orange County Register/SCNG)
The Rossi brothers David, left, and Michael, right, will be teaming up with Ed and Gabbi Patrick to create a wine country restaurant in Orange with a Baja theme. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Michael and David Rossi will partner with Ed and Gabbi Patrick, owners of Chaak in Tustin, seen here, to create a new wine country restaurant with a Valle de Guadalupe theme in Old Towne Orange. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Michael Rossi said he was thrilled to be teaming up with the Patricks, whose success at creating popular restaurants with elevated Mexican cuisine has earned them attention from the Michelin Guide with a Bib Gourmand for Gabbi’s in 2019 and a Discoveries recognition for Chaak in 2020.
Rossi was not ready to disclose the address yet but the location is in Old Towne and the timeline would be to open in late spring or early summer of 2022.
The cuisine, “Baja Med,” is a movement that started about 7 years ago. “So it’s a mixture of Mediterranean and Baja,” he said. “It’s really, really cool because there’s so much to the influences in Baja from Italian to Chinese and Russian. It’s much more than people think.”
There will be a wood-fired oven, a wood grill and of course a bar with a beverage program to include craft cocktails, beer and wines from all over the world, highlighting bottlings from the Valle de Guadalupe. The team will be working with landlord/architect Leason Pomeroy to create a special look for the restaurant.
The concept brings together an ideal team. Rossi’s expertise in wine-driven restaurants — he’s trained as a sommelier — meshes well with Gabbi Patrick’s experience running Mexican restaurants — she managed her family’s eateries as a teen before attending Napa’s Greystone Culinary Institute of America.
Rossi hinted that it could be just the beginning of a new restaurant group with more projects to come.
“We’ve been friends with Ed and Gabbi for 17-plus years,” he said. “So we got together and started talking. It’s been a pretty cool collaboration.”
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