California coastal cuisine with Italian flair — and really great steak.
That’s how executive chef Joe White describes the menu at Port House, a new restaurant coming to Morro Bay.
The eatery is set to open in mid-July at 885 Embarcadero, the former site of Otter Rock Cafe.
It will be the third restaurant owned by local farmer Sonny Smith, who owns Sun Coast Farms. Smith also owns Willow restaurant, which has locations in Nipomo and Pismo Beach.
Smith said Port House will be more dinner-focused than Willow, which has lunch and breakfast options.
Although a little more upscale than Otter Rock Cafe, which closed in fall 2018, Smith said Port House is “still casual.” “We spent the money on really comfy seats, bigger tables, giving the place a homey, comfortable feel,” he said.
Dishes at the new restaurant include lobster carbonara, fennel-crusted albacore and filet mignon, while drinks include classic cocktails and local wine.
“One of the more important things is we’re bringing good steaks to Morro Bay,” said White, who operates the Willow restaurants as well. “We won’t be frying anything, not a deep fryer in the house. Everything is real cooking at the end of the day.”
The seafood will be locally sourced from Morro Bay Fish Co. and much of the produce will be from Smith’s farms. Main entrees range in price from $21 to $44.
The space has been under a “floor to ceiling” renovation for seven months. Large windows have been added to the back wall that offer an unobstructed view of Morro Rock.
Smith said there’s one thing that ties everything in the restaurant together: “Quality.”
“We’re pushing and striving for quality in everything we do,” he said.
The restaurant plans to hire 16 to 18 people and is taking applications.