Corporate chef Marc Johnson has been splitting his time between all Red O locations, but is eager to get the doors opened for the UTC location.
“We are shooting for May 5, because, in reality, when would be a better date to open than that close to Cinco de Mayo?” Johnson said.
While all Red O restaurants do maintain the same food and drink items, some locations, such as the Melrose Red O, do not serve lunch. Not only will Red O La Jolla serve lunch and their already extremely popular menu, but Johnson says they are looking forward to hosting five-course prix fixed wine dinners.
“In reality, I know how important the craft beer scene is down here,” added Johnson. “It would be great to get a craft beer dinner into the works in the future.”
Part of the reason Red O has been so successful in Southern California is that they don’t stray too far from what obviously works very well for them, but that does not mean they aim to remain static.
“We try to interject items from all regions of Mexico,” Johnson said. “Since we are Baja-coastal-heavy, we do focus heavily on fish, which is always seasonal. Currently, our seafood focus is on halibut, but that changes every few months.
“All of our seafood is sourced from Santa Monica Seafood. I’ve worked with them for many years, and we have a great relationship. Although I definitely encourage our chefs to do features, I rarely walk into a restaurant without knowing what’s on the menu. If a chef has a feature they wish to run, we have discussed it and taken appropriate quality control measures beforehand.”
The May 3 invite-only opening will be held from 6 to 10 p.m., during which guests will be able to sample complimentary house beers, wines and signature margaritas. They will also try executive chef Seth Vider and Johnson’s passed bites to mark the occasion.
An interactive tequila experience will be included as well, and an added touch of glitz and glam with a luxury vehicle activation in partnership with O’Gara Coach La Jolla.
To make the evening even sweeter, Red O will be partnering with a local non-profit, Voices for Children, which advocates for the rights and well-being of children that pass through foster care in San Diego and Riverside counties, to donate proceeds from the night’s non-hosted beverage sales to the organization.