Husband and wife team Ray and Heather Breitwieser opened Raymond’s California Bistro after many years spent in the restaurant biz, stocking up on experience at long-standing, popular restaurants such as The Rusty Pelican and The Yard House. They decided to open shop for themselves to serve hearty and wholesome California and Italian dishes that feature fresh seafood and crisp veggies in a space with, as they put it, an “at-home” feel. Their menu includes pasta dishes such as linguini with clams, grilled rib eye entrees, and Californian salads with poached pears and freshly panned nuggets of gold.
In 90-minute sessions, groups of no more than 20 people combine their choice of 15 styles of freshly squeezed grape must from Napa, Central Valley, and Italy, designing a customized collective concoction. Each batch needs to marinate for six weeks at Purple Feet before transforming into a pumpkin and then into a drinkable product, with two optional check-ins throughout the process to add yeast and coo words of encouragement. People can fill their own bottles with their blends at no charge or purchase a new ($18) or used ($10) vessel from the winery. Purple Feet takes the personalization process a step further by dressing bottles in custom-designed labels after receiving the designs by email, scan, or boomerang. Purple Feet's campus also features a wine bar with outdoor patio seating.
The master grillers and stir-fryers of East Winds Asian Cuisine craft a medley of Asian flavors with a menu boasting a variety of Chinese, Japanese, and Thai dishes. Having so many influences and cuisines coming out of one kitchen lets the restaurant please picky palates with dishes such as honey-walnut shrimp, barbecue spareribs, and japanese vegetable curry. The friendly wait staff can make informed wine and sake recommendations and answer questions about dishes or the history of the chopstick versus popsicle-stick pop-art era.
Comedians Bob Perkell and Jeff Capri met through an act of deceit. When Perkell was gearing up for one of his first productions on the other side of the curtain, Capri called him to get a booking for one of the comedians he said he managed: Jeff Capri. But the charade didn't last long: the show was a success, Capri revealed his real identity, and, eventually, the two channeled their teamwork into a comedy club of their own. During Surf City’s shows, guests can order from a list of sweet, wine-centric cocktails and two dozen beers, including taps of Fat Tire and Shock Top.
More than 100 whiskeys and a comparable bounty of beers flow at Johnny’s Saloon, an eccentric neighborhood bar that dubs itself a “twisted Cheers.” Opened in 1982, the bar emanates a charm stemming from its appreciation of the rock 'n' roll generation and a rejection of anything that represents the status quo, such as walls. The jukebox is stocked solely with vintage rock 'n' roll and country, steering clear of Top 40 pop and hip-hop, and in the spotless bathrooms, 20 scented lotions keep hands smelling fresher than the Snuggle bear’s dance moves. Though the bar doesn’t serve food, the staffers happily order in from the nearby famous Donuttery and pour libations from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. They serve up single shots of spirits such as Midleton Irish whiskey and Macallan 21-year, but patrons can also purchase a private bottle of liquor that’s held behind the bar under lock and key.
Situated in the heart of Old World Village, The Grubb Haus treats persnickety taste buds to a host of creatively styled comfort fare and decadent fried desserts. A spread of sandwiches and platters fills the lunch menu, abating midday cravings with a salisbury steak sandwich guarded by a moat of mashed potatoes and gravy ($10.95) or the Hillbilly burger, a half-pound patty battered, deep-fried, and buried beneath corn, bacon, and american cheese ($9.95 for lunch; $10.99 for dinner). International influences run wild throughout the dinner menu, with orders of pumpkin-filled ravioli with chicken ($15.99) entertaining taste buds alongside penne pollo porcini ($16.50) and goulash with German dumplings ($11.99). The Grubb Haus also offers diners sweet meal-making denouements via indulgent, deep-fried treats ($2.49–$4.99), including Twinkies and Oreos, which they can devour or smugly savor in front of salivating passersby on a pet-friendly outdoor patio.