A veteran chef who worked at Bay Area standouts Spruce and La Folie and spent three years at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Napa has opened a uniquely-situated waterfront eatery along Mission Bay. In 2017, Cory Rapp left his executive chef post at The Catch in Anaheim and spent two years cooking aboard a sportfishing boat based out of San Diego. Earlier this year, Rapp took over the unassuming cafe that services Seaforth Marina at Quivira Basin, reopening it as Royal Rooster with a from-scratch, casual menu that reflects his culinary training.
Open from daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., the counter-service eatery makes sausage in-house for breakfast sandwiches while beer-battered local rockfish, asada-style filet mignon, grilled chicken, and smoked carnitas are featured in its tacos and burritos.
Running the front of house is Ryan Murphy, a certified Cicerone and bartender who also relocated from San Francisco, where he met Rapp while they were both working at The Boxing Room. Murphy’s all-local beverage program includes beer and cider and exclusively features wines from Charlie + Echo Winery in Miramar.
All of its panoramic bay view seats are outdoors, on a dog-friendly patio (there’s even a puppy menu) encircled with planter boxes that will grow herbs and chilies for the kitchen’s homemade hot sauces.
Rapp says he plans on opening more Royal Roosters in other untraditional locations around San Diego. Expect one to focus on pizza and another on fried chicken, which the chef perfected during his tenure at Ad Hoc.