OC Restaurant Movers And Shakers: Justin Miller's Gunwhale Ales And A Mix Mix Update!

Two talented chefs from the same Costa Mesa performing arts district have moved on from their respective eateries to pursue passion projects. With ambitious deadlines, we're excited to report both concepts are set to open before Thanksgiving. Details on their spots and grand openings are below.

Pizzeria Ortica chef announces brewery project
Three years ago, Chef Justin Miller not only hinted at his passion for homebrewing, we sampled some of his experimental beers! His personal project officially crossed over to professional business last week, when it was announced he was a co-founder of the upcoming Gunwhale Ales. Per Miller,

“I will be departing Ortica this Friday. I am moving forward and opening a brewery, Gunwhale Ales, in the beautiful city of Costa Mesa. I will be taking a short break from cooking to concentrate on my new business. Food and beer is basically all that I think about. That's why I am very excited to change gears and focus on making beer with my two best friends and a world-class brewer. We will have a heavy focus on food-friendly farmhouse and hop-forward beers. Also, expect to see some sort of food concept in the near future. Food ideas and recipe development are in the works.”

A collaboration with friends JT Wallace and Robert Fitzgerald, look out for yeast-driven Saisons and hoppy IPAs in their opening selections. Future plans include wood-aged, wild beer. Head Brewer Derek Testerman's background includes work with Iron Hill Brewery.

Opening weekend in their nautical-themed brewery/taproom is scheduled for next weekend, November 19 and 20. Tours, prizes and a visit from friends at Bear Flag Fish Company in their luxe lonchera are on the agenda. Gunwhale Ales is located at 2960 Randolph Avenue, Unit A. We're ecstatic to report there is plenty of parking (considering the neighborhood) and patio seating available. Also of note: non-beer options of cold brew from Santa Ana-based Brauhaus, as well as artisan kombucha from Fermensch out of Orange. Congrats on your new adventure, Justin! See you soon for a beer.

Ross Pangilinan's Mix Mix Kitchen Bar prepares to open this Sunday!
When we broke the news in late September of Chef Ross Pangilinan's departure from Leatherby's, he informed us that the turnaround of the former Little Sparrow/Black Box/Hopper & Burr space would be quick. He wasn't kidding, as less than two months later he's ready to open the doors to Mix Mix. Chef's global concept draws inspiration not only from his Filipino upbringing, but the classic training received in Italian and French cuisines. We will be photographing dishes from his forthcoming menu; but if you can't wait, book a reservation for this Sunday.

Ross will debut with “Brunch & A Mixtape”, a pre-opening, prix-fixe meal consisting of four courses priced at $45. Seatings are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Local goat cheese toast, soft egg raviolo with herb ricotta, house made butternut squash agnolotti in a lamb shank ragu, and tropical verrine (his nod to halo-halo) don't even cover all the options. He's pairing brunch with the music stylings of one DJ Neil Armstrong, who has toured with Jay Z and performed at President Obama's inauguration. Full details can be found via their Facebook page. Looking forward to the launch, Ross.

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