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Mar. 13, 2024: Restaurant & Café

Italian Culinary Celebration

USA | A celebration of Italian Cuisine is set to join one of California's latest hospitality precincts.

In just four years, amid a pandemic and uncertain economy, EMMES Realty Services of California LLC and funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. have created a culinary destination at Centerview, a Class A office property with twin 12-story buildings, and its adjacent restaurant development Eighteen Main, both located in the Irvine Concourse.

This foodie paradise, with a total of 40,000 square feet of leased retail space, has attracted several successful restaurateurs, including Tony Monaco, who is opening his second Eighteen Main eatery, Monaco Italian Kitchen + Bar, later this year.

Monaco, best known for The Blind Pig Kitchen & Bar, opened The Trough Sandwich Kitchen, which also has locations in Anaheim and Rancho Santa Margarita at Eighteen Main in May 2023.

Monaco Italian Kitchen + Bar is the eighth restaurant to sign at the property and the fourth and final restaurant to debut at Eighteen Main, a recently redeveloped 17,000-square-foot restaurant pad. It joins Izakaya Osen, The Trough, and The Goldfinch at Eighteen Main. KIT Coffee, SOL Mexican Cocina, Maldon's Bistro, and Porch & Swing round out the culinary options at Centerview.

Monaco Italian Kitchen + Bar will offer a mix of traditional Italian food, such as Italian-inspired appetizers, pastas, pizzas, entrees, and desserts, along with menu items with a unique "Blind Pig" twist and a selection of unique cocktails and local craft beers.

"We will be bringing our award-winning cocktail program from The Blind Pig over to Monaco, with an emphasis on Italian-inspired cocktails," said Monaco, who opened his first restaurant at the age of 25.

"You can expect some of the best Espresso Martinis and Negronis in Orange County when dining with us, but if that's not your style, we will also have a large cocktail list offering riffs on all your favourite types of cocktails."

Monaco added that the restaurant will stay true to Italian tradition and his roots, and will not be afraid to have some fun experimenting with dishes.

"Our goal is to create a great product that people love. My favourite thing in the world is when people tell me my restaurant is their favourite place. That's our focus."

One of the reasons Monaco decided to open a second restaurant at Eighteen Main is its proximity to Centerview, which generates foot traffic from tenants and visitors alike, especially during typical “slower” restaurant times.

“Running restaurants is hard anywhere, especially in California, and to be successful, you must be busy all the time,” he said.

“In most locations, weekday lunch service can be some of the harder hours to attract consistent business, so having built-in clientele at Centerview is a big draw. It’s also a great location for other reasons- being right next to the freeway and the airport, with plenty of residential areas close by, with more being built right across the street, and a couple of hotels in close proximity. Not to mention, there is plenty of parking. Location is very important, and Centerview checks a lot of boxes.”

As for EMMES, the premier commercial real estate firm is thrilled to welcome Monaco Italian Kitchen + Bar as its eighth and final restaurant at the property.

“EMMES continues to look for ways to create a vibrant workplace and generate positive leasing momentum, and the new addition of Monaco Italian Kitchen + Bar supports this goal,” said Justin Nguyen, senior vice president of asset management, EMMES Realty Services of California, LLC.

“The signing of the last restaurant lease represents not only a significant milestone for EMMES but also a strategic move by Monaco Italian Kitchen + Bar to contribute to the vibrancy and growth of the surrounding communities.”

Centerview is situated in the 48-acre Irvine Concourse, a master-planned, 10-building business destination totalling more than 2.5 million square feet of office space and two hotels, and a plethora of restaurants.

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