For those who are a tad schizophrenic in their eating and drinking, Open House Encinitas has multiple-personality diners covered. Nestled in a shopping center on the corner of Coast Highway 101 and Encinitas Boulevard, the four-concept location features Saltwater (a tequila bar/seafood restaurant), Asian Kitchen, Driftwood (craft cocktail bar), and The Crafty Egg (brunch spot).
The brainchild of chef Wade Hageman and his wife Kristi (who also own Blue Ribbon Pizzeria and Craftsman Tavern), the space welcomes close-by visitors of Moonlight Beach, coastal residents of Leucadia and Encinitas, as well as San Diegans and tourists roaming north up The 101.
PACIFIC recently spoke with Wade to uncover the inspiration behind such a mammoth undertaking and his must-try menu items.
PACIFIC: How did you come up with the idea of a four-concept restaurant?
WADE HAGEMAN: We took over the space and wanted to really utilize the amount of space we have - over 7,000 square feet. The original space was built as an artist colony with different sized vignettes, so it made sense to keep some of those characteristics in the architecture by doing four different concepts. Our customers love the fact that they can make a night out of staying in one place and trying the different options.
How crazy is it for ordering from vendors for 4 different restaurants?
Ordering for the four different concepts does have its challenges; however, our seasoned staff works together and tries to use the same vendors as much as possible. We also want to make sure we have enough storage for everything we order daily.
What is one must try dish from each of your concepts?
(At Asian Kitchen) our ramen is a must try. We make the broths from scratch daily, and all the meats are roasted in house. It has a unique flavor that everyone loves.
Our “Oinker” breakfast sandwich (at Crafty Egg) is a definite must for brunch. Served between a toasted sesame bun, it includes scrambled eggs, cheese, Applewood smoked bacon, Canadian bacon and a sausage patty served with our breakfast tots.
The “Pop Up” style raw fish menu (at Saltwater) changes weekly based on the fresh seafood we can get our hands on.
(At Driftwood Tavern) flatbreads and made-from-scratch burgers will be our signature items, which are paired with our craft cocktails and beer.
Ok, drink time. What’s your favorite cocktail after a day of chef-ing?
The Seaweed Margarita. It’s unique, and super refreshing. We use fresh Ogo Seaweed from Carlsbad Aqua Farms and mix it with Herradura Tequila Silver, Triple Sec, fresh sweet and sour, orange juice and Nori. It sounds weird, I know. But once you try it, it will be your go-to drink.
The Crafty Egg serves brunch and $5 mimosas from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week. Asian Kitchen features a range of Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Filipino dishes from 4-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and 4-9 p.m. Sunday. Saltwater is open 5-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and offers more than 100 tequilas and live raw fish preparation. Driftwood, opening in September, will serve craft cocktails and pub fare from 4-10 p.m.
Open House Encinitas: 345 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, 760.452.2555, openhouseasiankitchen.com