May 11, 2015 – Not just another tequila sunrise, the all-new Margaritaville restaurant on the esplanade in Capitola promises sustainable local seafood in contemporary Mexican preparations, along with fresh fruity drinks.
“It was really fun to finally get the place open last weekend,” says owner Sarah Orr, who supervised the four-month renovation and created the menu with the help of kitchen staff, based on foods she’s enjoyed while traveling in Mexico.
A highlight of the remodel is the 25-seat wave bar, where every customer has a view of Capitola Beach and the Pacific. There’s also a 17 table heated patio overlooking the beach and indoor dining.
“The key to the restaurant is that everything is made fresh everyday,” Orr says. “We squeeze all the oranges, lemons and limes for the margaritas.” Strawberry margaritas are made to order with freshly muddled strawberries, for example, and house margaritas are mixed with El Jimador tequila and Cointreau, instead of Triple Sec.
The bar menu includes fresh oysters, ceviche, Baja fish tacos and fried calamari with fried lemon and jalapeño. Over the next week or two as the kitchen gets up to speed, more substantial dishes will be added, such as: chicken mole enchiladas, chile verde, and two fresh fish options daily.
“We’re focusing on high-quality, local sustainable seafood following the standards of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program,” says Orr, who is in the process of becoming a Seafood Watch member.
“We have a chance to serve sustainable seafood to guests that they may not have eaten in restaurants before, fish like artic char or black cod,” she adds.
Orr grew up in Santa Cruz County and says she’s been working in restaurants since she was 14. Her first job was at Café Sparrow in Aptos and after college she worked for Hillstone Restaurant Group that specializes in upscale casual dining spots like Los Altos Grill and the Houston’s chain.
She’s undaunted by the 150-seat capacity of Margaritaville. “I’m used to running restaurants twice this size,” she says. Margaritaville is open 11am-9pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Fridays and Saturdays 11am-10pm. Closed Mondays.