It’s a project more than two years in the making, but this month marks the long-anticipated opening of Viewpoint Brewing Co. Initially called Vigilante Brewing, the 7,000-square-foot brewery and restaurant is housed in a unique industrial space, formerly a commercial pottery studio, located just a stone’s throw from the Del Mar Fairgrounds alongside the San Dieguito Lagoon and Wildlife Bird Reserve.
A trained chef, Viewpoint founder Charles Koll cooked in San Francisco, Colorado and South Africa and worked locally at Prepkitchen Del Mar and Mille Fleurs. A former Mille Fleurs co-worker, Gunnar Planter, is now his executive chef. Planter, whose modern brewpub dishes for Viewpoint are influenced by classical cuisine, used a recipe for pretzels taught to him by Mille Fleurs’ master German chef Martin Woesle as a jumping off point for his innovation on pretzel bao buns filled with pork belly, oxtail or salt and pepper shrimp.
For Viewpoint’s house beers, Koll worked closely with head brewer, Moe Katomski, who most recently brewed at Vista’s Bear Roots Brewing Company, and consultant Bill Batten, a star local brewer and alum of AleSmith Brewing Co. and Mikkeller Brewing. Planter has incorporated the beer into some of the dishes, from the coffee stout demi-glace that sauces his pink peppercorn-crusted hanger steak to the garlic-hefeweizen broth features in his mussuls with nduja, a soft and spicy Calabrian cured salami.
Opening at 11 a.m., the brewery restaurant will start by serving a light menu of snacks until 5 p.m., when the full dinner offerings kick in. A counter-service lunch menu, as well as brunch, will follow. Planter and Koll tell Eater that their aim is to have Viewpoint’s food share equal billing with the beer; everything is scratch-made, including the naan bread that sandwiches curry fried chicken, and the nimble menu will be ever-changing, with ingredients swapped out according to what’s in season. Viewpoint will also offer a flight pairing board featuring beers paired with on and off-menu bites from the chef.