An Old Town hospitality vet just inked a new deal to open a full-service Mexican spot this fall along Oceanside’s newly revitalized coastline. Chuck Ross plans to expand north with the debut of Carte Blanche Cocina. The 4,300-square-foot location will sit steps from the sand at the foot of the shiny mixed-use Salt apartment complex currently under construction at Cleveland Street and Pier View Way. He describes the eatery as “modern Mexican-meets-French farm house,” and will pay homage to France’s culinary influences on Mexico.
Marc Karren of Location Matters leased the space to Ross, who was named 2018 Restaurateur of the Year by the California Restaurant Association. Since 2009, his Old Town Family Hospitality Corporation has run a handful of reinvigorated restaurants in the Fiesta de Reyes plaza (Fiesta de Reyes, Casa de Reyes, Barra Barra Saloon), boutique hotel Cosmopolitan Hotel and Restaurant, and small locally-owned specialty shops in the heart of Old Town’s historic square.
“We have always pushed the envelope with fresh ingredients and items than [other] traditional Mexican-style restaurants,” he says. “You can’t veer too far off the beaten path but it’s something of interest to us.”
Potential orders at the group’s debut venture in Oceanside could include a Mexican charcuterie board with smoked meats and cured cheeses sourced from south of the border. Confit carnitas poblano chile with chicharrón and peanut crumble is another dish in the works. The space will encourage communal dining via large, sharable plates, with a kitchen staff being built out now.
He’s had his eyes set on Oceanside for some time, waiting to strike when the time was right. “It’s a fantastic mixed-use development property with retail and a parking component,” he says. “We like the growth in the area — new things are popping up.” In late 2020, the booming coastal neighborhood will welcome 387 waterfront hotel rooms with the arrival of a Joie de Vivre and Destination Hotel Resorts, marking the biggest oceanfront development in the county in over a decade.
The restaurant will feature tall ceilings, plenty of windows, and an open floor plan, with a full bar planted in the middle of the dining room. The project also marks the initial passing of the torch of Ross’s restaurant group to his two sons and their wives, who are already deeply involved in the day-to-day operations of his Old Town holdings.
For now, all eyes are on prep work for Fiesta de Reyes’ annual Reyes Cinco de Mayo Folklorico Festival happening in a few weeks in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, complete with live Latin music and mariachi bands on Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5. He tells Eater he booked star Mexican singer and actor Pablo Montero to perform.