Board and Brew
979 Avenida Pico
San Clemente, CA 92673
It has been almost a year since we ate at Riders Club Cafe in San Clemente, and we are still trying to hit all the spots that one of the customers told us about during our visit. The young couple that sat down next to us, saw me taking pictures, and when Katie informed them that I write a restaurant blog, they peppered us with places that we should go to in San Clemente. We have made it to one of their picks, which was the fantastic Hapa J's, and after our experience there, we were excited to explore the rest of their suggestions. After a long leisurely walk along the beach trail in San Clemente, we made it to another one of their picks, Board and Brew.
Board and Brew started in Del Mar in 1979. Yes, that is a long time ago, and an eternity in the restaurant business. They now have four locations, with two more on the way, including their second OC spot soon to be open in Rancho Santa Margarita. Board and Brew credits their success to a casual, laid back atmosphere, a straight forward menu, and providing their customers an everyday value. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to give Board and Brew a try, and after our two mile walk at the beach, we had worked up quite an appetite.
Board and Brew is located pretty far from the beach, on the other side of the freeway, and in a large shopping center, which is anchored by a Walmart. We got here close to 2PM on a Sunday, and the place was pretty packed. The atmosphere here kind of reminded me of a Wahoo's, with reggae music playing over the speakers, and a definite surf vibe happening throughout the restaurant. There's a small bar, with maybe room for eight people, serving up a pretty impressive list of craft beers. Ordering of food is done at a counter, and your food is brought out to you. The cute, young girls at the counter were very helpful answering our questions, and giving us enough time to peruse the menu. Even after ordering, we had no problem grabbing a table, as they were pretty good about clearing tables after other customers left. After about a five minute wait, our food made its way to our table. Let's see if our friends from Rider's Club Cafe could give us two great restaurants in a row.
When we were looking at the menu, Katie had mentioned about five sandwiches that sounded good to her, she finally settled on the Turkey Club ($6.25). This sandwich came with turkey breast, Swiss cheese, bacon (which Katie got on the side, who does this?), mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato, all on a French baguette. Katie of course gave her obligatory, "it was real fresh" comment. The sandwich had plenty of thick cut turkey, was easy on the produce, and the bread was sturdy, and had a nice chew to it. I could tell Katie liked the sandwich, but she was very happy with the secret sauce that was served on the side with this. Orange in color, this sauce was kind of like a sweet and sour sauce, which has a cult following of its own. She felt this sauce really kicked up the flavor of this sandwich a lot. She left here a happy girl.
Usually when a menu item says that it's spicy, it almost always is not. This was not the case with this Roast Beef Spicy ($6.95). This sandwich was served hot, with roast beef, Swiss cheese, onions, jalapenos, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, and a side of au jus for dipping. The roast beef was tender and flavorful, the Dijon was evident in spurts, and the bread held firm, even after being dunked in the au jus. This sandwich provided a slow burn, which intensified as I ate it. My one minor complaint about this sandwich was that there could have been a tad more mayo, but other than that it was a very solid sandwich.
The sandwiches at Board and Brew are deceptively big. You might not be able to see it from the pictures, but these really filled both of us up. We left here pretty happy. I'm pretty pleased that they are opening a location closer to our house, and we look forward to becoming regulars there. Their menu is not going to blow you away with its diversity, but there is enough variety that it will keep you coming back. I look forward to finding my perfect sandwich at Board and Brew, if I have not already found it on this visit. Prices here are very fair. No sandwich on their menu is above $8. The service we experienced on this afternoon was pretty good. Everyone was very nice, the food came out quick, and all the employees really seemed to have the customers happiness as their number one priority. A real rarity these days. So it seems our tipsters from Riders Club Cafe have now gone two for two, so we will have to continue on with their picks. Really looking forward to the next place on their list.
Out of five smashing pumpkins, (because Board and Brew started in 1979, and the alternative rock band Smashing Pumpkins had a hit song with the same title as this year), five being best to zero being worst, Board and Brew gets 3.5 smashing pumpkins.
For more information about Board and Brew, go to their website here: http://www.boardandbrew.com/