Local eateries are dropping like, well, flies, but longtime restaurateur David Cohn continues to expand his namesake business.
With the recent opening of 333 Pacific, a $3 million, 7,000-square-foot restaurant specializing in steak and seafood in Oceanside, the Cohn Restaurant Group counts 12 dining establishments in the county and one in Hawaii.
He’s no Warren Buffett investing in the roller coaster stock market. Yet, at a time when business brokerages list more than 100 restaurants for sale countywide, one must be brave or foolhardy to open a new one.
Cohn said he’s neither.
He said that although sales were off in 2008 compared to the year before , he declined to cite revenue for his 26-year-old company , they’re down less than the industry average of 20 percent to 25 percent for full-service establishments.
He said he dislikes categorizing, but said 333 Pacific is in the mid- to high-end range.
Plans were launched two years ago for an area of the county underserved in terms of “white tablecloth” restaurants, he said.
“In the short term, we might have waited. But I think in the long run everything will be fine,” he said. “You have to decide whether you’re in business for the long run or the short run, and if it’s the long run then you have to look at opportunities. There are close to 160,000 residents in Oceanside and when you take in the entire North County, that’s half a million people to draw from. There are plenty of wonderful restaurants in the area, but this is something unique and more upscale, like something you’d find in La Jolla or Del Mar.”
Right For Redevelopment
Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood applauds the opening of the new eatery, saying that it’s part of the city’s downtown redevelopment push.
“Oceanside is going through a transitional change,” Wood said. “We’re a booming community. We have military personnel and new businesses and people with the desire to spend money in Oceanside.
“One thing we want is upscale restaurants and hotels. This is the first high-end restaurant to be built adjacent to the pier in downtown.”
Located on the ground floor of the year-old, 158-room Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort, 333 Pacific seats 250, including the dining area and private meeting rooms.
The restaurant celebrated a “soft” opening Dec. 22.
“I think we’ll do fine. Tomorrow will be just two weeks since we opened, so it’s pretty early to make a prediction. However, the response we’ve gotten has been good,” he said Jan. 5. “The advantage of being in an underserved market is that word spreads quickly. We’re hitting our projected numbers.”
His business signed a 25-year lease with Wyndham, he added, but didn’t give terms of the deal.