If you’ve ever dined at a Michelin-starred restaurant in San Francisco, there’s a chance the new owner of the Promenade Pub tweezed microgreens onto your plate prior to service.
Nidal Nasrah started as a prep cook at Wayfare Tavern, then quickly moved up the ranks to become the lead line cook. He spent a year at the two-star Lazy Bear restaurant before relocating to Orange County to start his own thing.
Anaheim’s Promenade Pub, located at the corner of Center Street Promenade and Anaheim Boulevard and facing the historic Packing House, has moved through owners at about the same pace. The pub was originally brought to life less than a year ago by Sonya and Mike Kelsen, who run the successful Colony Wine Merchant.
Nasrah was teaching classes at Sur La Table when Promenade Pub’s head chef heard of the budding chef/entrepreneur searching for the right food truck to start out. “I had the business plan in hand and was ready to go,” Nasrah recalls, “but I was steered to this location.”
Whenever a new owner takes over, especially a chef, you know the menu is going to change, despite any grumblings from the regulars. “The locals have been pretty vocal about keeping the old menu, but I want to let people taste my food,” Nasrah says. “Once they try it, they’ll realize it’s okay to change.”
It’s more than okay, I’d say; it’s an incredible look at what’s to come. Mary’s Free Range Chicken sliders come in two forms: barbecue or spicy. The panini have steamy fillings, with bread that has a perfect crisp crunch. Then there are the wings that come with a few sauces: buffalo, barbecue and mango habanero, which is made with Stereo Brewing’s Tuff Gong Mango IPA. According to new bar manager Danielle Duchesneau, the beer itself is also on tap.
There’s also a brunch, during which a $20 bottomless mimosa will pair with another fresh new menu. “This week, I’m debuting a few items such as fried chicken and waffles, and I instructed the servers to never let a glass get empty,” Nasrah says.
Are we ready for a Michelin-star kitchen chef to run a pub in downtown Anaheim? It seems as though the fun has just begun.
Promenade Pub, 215 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 860-4555; www.promenadepub.com.
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening this June!