Irvine, prepare to fall in love with the newest addition of TAPS Fish House & Brewery.
Restaurateur, Joe Manzella, invited friends & family to fill their newest restaurant and partake in all that is delicious in preparation and celebration of the grand opening of their latest TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Irvine, CA, that opens June 8, 2015. What a nice way to give the staff a taste of what it looks like when they turn on the machine all while sharing their latest creation with people they know and love.
Having worked at The Catch 2003-2005, I know many of the people on this team have been with them 10+ years. Guys that were busing tables then are now wearing chef coats, and the managers are now partners and directors of 5 restaurants in Southern California with 500+ employees. Wow! Witnessing the consistent growth of their brand as well as the people behind the brand over the years is pretty amazing. I am so proud to have been and be part of this family.
I wasn’t expecting it but I also wasn’t surprised that walking into the Irvine location felt a little like going home. It feels to me that the heart & soul of the original Catch has found a new place to dwell.
TAPS Irvine is a smooth mix of both The Original Catch of Anaheim (2000-2008) and TAPS Brea with rich mahogany woodwork, brick & stone accents, black & white framed photography and too many perfect touches to go into here. I don’t want to give it all away in one post. The floor plan is open while remaining cozy with beautiful high back booths lining the perimeter, white clothed tables and an open kitchen. Classy, vibrant, clean lines and a modern day Mad Men vibe. It’s fantastic. The overall atmosphere feels like you’re going to a friend’s house complete with an old school upscale dining experience.
The wine flowed, toasting and clinking of glasses followed and the restaurant buzzed with confident and happy employees. Friday and Saturday night this space was broken in and seasoned with love as guests occasionally floated from table to table exchanging handshakes, genuine hugs, and conversation over some of the best food in Orange County.
Put it on your list for your next dining experience. This one has heart there is no doubt about that. Each of the restaurants are beautiful and the food amazing but this one has a piece of my heart.
Thank you Joe, Chris & Brady for the invitation and congratulations to you and your team.
Table side Nitrogen cocktail for the win.
Confession: This is 1/2 of a Siberian Mule so know that your glass will be full. This cocktail alone is worth a trip to meet up with friends and connect. I am a mule fan and this did not disappoint.We intended for a quick group photo but there was wine to be poured and conversation to be had so I let them be. I did manage to capture one of Brady from where I sat.
I like to imagine that this table remained untouched, patiently waiting for the family to sit down at the end of the night and celebrate what they have created together. On a side note: This room has, oh so beautiful, sliding wood doors that create a space for an impressive private dining experience for roughly a 100 people or so.
The Chilean Seabass has proven to be a staple. You can’t go wrong with this.
and a few random happy guest sightings. A view from the bar.
The Chocolate Soufflé and a Frangelico & Coffee. Pretty much heaven for all the chocolate lovers. I can see sitting with friends enjoying this combo again with plenty of spoons to go around. These people were seated adjacent to me and from what I gathered they are contractors that helped make this beautiful space come to life. It is no mistake that is the one and only group portrait that I shot during my stay. Cheers to you! Orange County thanks you for your hand in the creation of this beautiful space.
….and the one snap I took as I left. Little fuzzy. It’s all about the patio right now anyway as it looks like they may have saved a tree. that now lives among people and conversation. I love that.
Since I was invited to dinner and not to work, I did my best to not shoot this event like a wedding. The struggle was real. The former food server in me wanted to visit tables to find out how everyone was doing, how they were all connected and photograph them. Humans of TAPS was definitely not discussed in Pre-Shift.
Go. Eat, drink and be merry.
PS. You may want to call ahead for a dinner reservation and if you would like to read more official news about this place, check out the piece from the The OC Register.
TAPS FISH HOUSE AND BREWERY
13390 Jamboree Rd.
Irvine, CA | 92602