Dining out with friends can foster healthy relationships that might otherwise be limited to impersonal group texts or overly personal bathtime visits. Get a bite in person with a person with today's Groupon: for $9, you get $18 worth of fish tacos and modern beach fare at Spencer Makenzie's Fish Company.
Having netted the Ventura County Reporter's 2011 titles for Best Fish Tacos and Cheap Eats, Spencer Makenzie's Fish Company continues to tempt taste buds with its signature fish tacos and fresh California beach fare. Diners can warm up stomachs with house-made cups ($4.75) of clam chowder before dropping cuspids or loose change into ahi pockets—sweetened tofu capsules stuffed with sushi rice and topped by blackened ahi tuna and Dynamite sauce ($2.95). The popular giant fish tacos ($4.95) grasp grilled or hand-dipped tempura fish in flour tortillas teeming with chopped cabbage, cilantro, and bell peppers. Guests can also devour meatier parmesan hard-shell tacos filled with ground beef, shredded chicken, and carne asada ($2.95).
Spencer Makenzie's current sleek digs are a far cry from its original fairground-concession-trailer roots. Photographs of local beaches imbue the walls with seaside charm, and 36-inch flat-screen TVs broadcast watersports such as surfing and manatee racing. Patrons can ease minds with both the eatery's acoustic music and green practices, which include converting the cooking oil into biodiesel fuel, using biodegradable dinnerware, and recycling happiness.
Spencer Makenzie's Fish Company
Creating Spencer Makenzie's Fish Company was a labor of love for John and Jennifer Karayan, who spent 20 years perfecting their eclectic Californian recipes before sharing them with the public. Named after the couple's 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, the business began as a concession trailer at festivals and fairgrounds, presenting healthful alternatives to traditional fast-food options without sacrificing speedy service. The concept took off, and the trailer eventually blossomed into a permanent location a couple of blocks from the shore.
Although the chefs use only sashimi-grade fish and make everything from clam chowder to sauces and salsas in-house, they don't stray far from the restaurant's unpretentious fairground roots. The Ventura County Reporter recognized the company's dual commitment to quality and convenience in 2011, honoring the eatery with awards for Best Fish Taco and Best Cheap Eats.
The same thoughtfulness with which John and Jennifer designed the healthful and flavorful menu led them to embrace a variety of environmentally friendly practices. In addition to donating their used trans-fat-free cooking oil to biodiesel refineries, they exclusively stock the restaurant with biodegradable plates, utensils, and employees.
Chalkboards of handwritten specials, an acoustic soundtrack by artists such as Jack Johnson and Bob Marley, and 36-inch flat-screen televisions playing skateboarding, surfing, and sporting events add to Spencer Makenzie's Fish Company's casual, laid-back ambiance. At the same time, photographs of local beaches line the walls and serve as a gentle reminder of the inspiration behind the ocean-fresh menu.