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Celebrated Southern California Restaurateur Brings New Italian Culinary Experience to Irvine

EMMES and Oaktree Redefine Irvines Office Landscape, Sign 8th Restaurant at Centerview

Irvine, CA, March 12, 2024 -- In just four years, in the midst of 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 favorite types of cocktails.”

“We will stay true to Italian tradition, but also stay true to our roots and not be afraid to have some fun experimenting with dishes. Our goal is to create a great product that people love. My favorite thing in the world is when people tell me my restaurant is their favorite place. That’s our focus,” he added.

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 need to 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, plenty of residential close by, with more being built right across the street, and a couple hotels in close proximity. Not to mention, there is plenty of parking. Location is very important, and Centerview checks a lot of boxes.”

Monaco said location is not the only attraction to Eighteen Main. He also gives kudos to the EMMES management team.  

“They are all great people, and truly care about the success of the restaurants,” he said. “Having your landlord on the same page and 100% on your side is another bit of reassurance when it comes to committing to such a large investment.”

As for EMMES, the premiere 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, 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 totaling more than 2.5 million square feet of office space and two hotels, and a plethora of restaurants. The property is in the heart of Irvine’s Airport Area, Orange County’s Central Business District, offering excellent visibility and immediate access to the I-405 freeway, easy connection to the 55 and 73 freeways, and just minutes from regional transportation hub, John Wayne Airport.

About EMMES

EMMES Realty Services of California LLC is a member of The EMMES Group of Companies. Founded in 1992, with offices in New York and California, The EMMES Group of Companies and its affiliates are engaged in principal real estate investments, capital management and real estate services. For more information, visit www.emmesco.com.

About Oaktree

Oaktree is a leader among global investment managers specializing in alternative investments, with $189 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2023. The firm emphasizes an opportunistic, value-oriented and risk-controlled approach to investments in credit, private equity, real assets and listed equities. The firm has over 1,200 employees and offices in 22 cities worldwide. For additional information, please visit Oaktree’s website at http://www.oaktreecapital.com/.

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