Gourmet burger restaurant, Eureka!, opens Bressi Ranch location


Eureka!, an L.A.-area restaurant group known for its gourmet burgers, opened Monday in Carlsbad’s Bressi Ranch Corporate Center.

Co-founder Paul Frederick describes the company he co-founded with Justin Nedelman in 2009 as a neighborhood eatery and bar serving “American classic dishes with a twist” and craft beers and whiskeys.

The Carlsbad location, in the Uplift development at Palomar Airport Road and Innovation Way, is the 25th location for the Hawthorne-based company. But in a recent interview, Frederick said that no two restaurants in the chain are alike.

The new indoor/outdoor Carlsbad location was designed to match the high-tech look of the Uplift center. Inside there’s a wall mural by Carlsbad artist Kris Marcovich. In the bar, there are mostly San Diego County craft beers on tap, including brews by Belching Beaver, Pizza Port, Latitude 33, Burgeon, Societe, AleSmith and Bagby. Also, servers at each location wear T-shirts with slogans unique to their region, like “No crap on tap,” in a nod to San Diego’s craft beer scene.

The focus of the Eureka! menu is burgers, priced from $12 to $18. They range from the traditional American burger to burgers made with bison meat, 28-day-aged carrot-fed beef, pork short rib with kimchi, turkey and a veggie patty made from red beets and kidney beans.

Starters, including mini corn dogs, osso buco riblets, falafel bites and mac ‘n’ cheese balls, are $7 to $12. Entrees, like rib eye steak, grilled salmon and fish ‘n’ chips, are $15 to $27. There are also entree salads, chicken sandwiches and taco plates, priced from $10 to $15.50. A weekend brunch offers American and Mexican breakfast dishes. All sauces, dressings and jams are made in-house daily.

The bar has 30 beers on tap, including 15 permanent locally brewed beers, and 14 taps that rotate, plus one rotating hard kombucha. The bar is stocked with more than 40 American craft whiskeys that are served in shots, flights and mixed drinks. A dozen house cocktails include the signature Eureka! Punch, an American take on a traditional English milk punch; a smoking cocktail served in a sealed mason jar called Holy Smokes!; and a seasonal “farmers market” cocktail devised by bartenders at each location based on whatever’s in season at nearby farmers markets.

Eureka! beverage director Trevor Tyler said the company prides itself on its in-house beer education program, which is similar, he said, to a level-one Cicerone beer certification.

The bar offers nightly “hoppy hour” specials and weekly events. Live music is performed on Thursday nights.

Although the word “eureka” is most associated with the gleeful shout of miners discovering gold in 19th-century California, the Eureka! chain was born out of hard times. Frederick and Nedelman were colleagues working in the commercial real estate industry when the recession hit in 2008. Unable to find restaurant tenants to fill vacancies in their shopping centers, they decided to create their own.

“In 2009, gourmet burgers were really hot, but we were told by a lot of people we shouldn’t do it. But we decided we could build a better mousetrap,” Frederick said. “The secret is service ... and ambience and energy.”

They opened their first location on Eureka Street in Redlands, which inspired the company name. But the word itself — eureka is the ancient Greek word for “I found it” — became the company motto for the co-founders’ sense of adventure. Frederick’s title, besides co-founder, is “chief discovery officer.”

“The name resonated locally, but it was also a fun name,” Frederick said. “We liked the discovery element and we wanted our customers to discover us and what we were doing.”

Most of the Eureka! restaurants that have opened since then are located in “discovery centers,” with a large, younger and upwardly mobile population. The other two locations in San Diego County are located near UC San Diego and San Diego State University. The Carlsbad location is in the heart of a high-tech business park. The company has 16 locations in California and nine others in Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Washington and Texas.

The company also incorporates art by local artists and locally brewed beers. And the menu is continuously reinvented with new menu items added every six months. Coming soon? A poke dish with lotus chips.

Eureka! Restaurant

Hours: Doors open at 11 a.m. Mondays-Fridays and 10 a.m. on weekends. Closing hours vary from 11 p.m. to midnight. Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

Where: 6021 Innovation Way, Suite 110, Carlsbad

Phone: (442) 325-0005