On the Line: Phillip M. Kaufman And Christopher Janz of Holstein's Shakes And Buns, Part Two

Headed up the corporate ladder
Headed up the corporate ladder
Photo by Brian Feinzimer

With such an impressive beverage selection, I felt it necessary to check in with Holstein's resident expert on all things bottled and brewed. Christopher Janz kicks off part two, and Chef Kaufman brings it home.

Why don't you read the first part of our in-depth look at South Coast Plaza's newest dining tenant? It's only a click away. Are we good? Alright then. You may proceed.

Please discuss the elaborate beer (and wine) program. We are selecting the best of the best from craft distillers, brewers and wine makers. It is a program that searches for quality over quantity. The number one word is "passion." We look for partners who are as passionate about food and beverage as we are at Holstein's. But we are also looking to have fun and show some great product with great value.

What are the numbers? We have 400 different bottled beers and 16 drafts. For the wine selections, we seek artisanal producers and offer 21 wines by the glass and 45 by the bottle.

Do you have a pairing dinner scheduled? We are definitely planning to execute some really fantastic pairing dinners in our subterranean beer cellar and tasting room, and are working to plan our first pairing dinner. We will likely hold our first formal beer pairing dinner in early 2016, after the holiday season.

How do you select what goes on tap? This is actually simple. We ask ourselves, "What is interesting, unique or hard to get? Who can we work with that is local?" Southern California has many award-winning craft brewers in the immediate vicinity, and we try to support local brewers. Then, of course, great taste prevails over all else.

What's a favorite on tap? My favorite draft beer is Goose Island Matilda, Golden Ale. It just seems to have the perfect balance for my palate. A medium body, the perfect amount of hoppy character and a slight baking spice finish.

Bottle service
Bottle service
Photo by Brian Feinzimer

And now, back to Chef Kaufman . . . .

Where did you grow up, and where's home these days? I grew up in Southern California; Dana Point, to be exact. Currently, I am again in Dana Point; most recently down from Sea Ranch on the North Coast of Sonoma County, California. I hope to relocate to the Newport Beach area soon.

Hardest lesson you've learned: That I cannot do everything myself; that I need a good team of qualified people to help me be successful.

What's your favorite childhood memory? Playing competitive sports as a kid, both soccer and skiing.

You have a whole day to yourself; what do you do? I try whenever possible to enjoy the outdoors here in our fabulous area; whether it's going to the beach, playing a relaxing round of golf or just looking for a new local restaurant to try.

Tell us something most people don't know about you. I always wanted to work for the Diplomatic Security Service as a protection agent. But I'm pretty sure I am now too old for that line of work.

Last thing you looked up / searched online: I think it would have to be for homes in the Newport area. Not exciting, I know, but my wife is the internet surfer.

Last book you read or last movie watched; how was it? The last book I read was Tom Clancy's The Teeth of the Tiger. I'm re-reading the entire series, but I didn't finish because my wife returned it to the library while I opened this restaurant. The last movie we went to see was Mission: Impossible.

Do you have any skills that are non-food related? I can pack a mean moving truck; I have not had anything break in the last 6 or 7 moves. I can also drive a golf ball about 300 yards. Oh and I can sabre a bottle of champagne.

What turns you on-- creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Creatively, I would say I'm turned on by a walk-in full of fresh, high quality ingredients. Emotionally, I am turned on by happy customers who resoundingly say they'll return because they loved the food.

What would you be doing if you weren't in this business? I fell in love with a tiny little bakery in Sea Ranch when I lived there called Two Fish Bakery. They have a huge and loyal following there. I think I'd like to own a small business similar to theirs.

Is there anything you'd like readers to know that we haven't asked? Peet's over Starbucks. Bronco's over everyone else. Cool over hot. Dive bar over hip and trendy bar. Draft over bottle depending on the beer. Champagne over wine any day.

Holstein's Shakes and Buns, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 352-2525; www.holsteinsburgers.com.

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