A year after expanding his wagyu empire to Pacific Beach, Swagyu owner Steve Brown has redesigned the 5,000-square-foot venue into a more upscale space that aligns with the chef’s future plans for the company. Although the butcher shop and restaurant is still featuring its popular wagyu burgers and casual bites at lunch, weekend brunch, and anytime on the front patio, its dining room has turned into a full-service experience, now offering dinner reservations and an extended steakhouse menu. There’s also a new bar and lounge, serving soju and sake cocktails.
Beyond premium cuts of Japanese A5 wagyu, Brown is now utilizing whole animals sourced directly from two U.S. ranches, including one of his own in Montana, that are raising American wagyu. In a private, 20-seat dining room within the Pacific Beach restaurant, he and longtime executive chef Nate Horton also cook up Swagyu Study Hall, a 12-course tasting menu that takes diners on a deep dive into the prized beef.
Brown is also gearing up to start construction on Swagyu Oceanside, whose layout and design signals the next evolution of the brand. Opening at the Freeman Collective in South Oceanside by January 2023, the 2,500-square-foot building plus patio will include a cocktail bar, meat counter, and restaurant serving lunch and dinner. The Swagyu Study Hall tasting menu will also be offered from a 12-seat chef’s counter in the glassed-in kitchen.
Changes are also underway for Swagyu’s holdings in Poway and Imperial Beach. The chef tells Eater that he’s opening a Swagyu Burger outpost in the same center as his existing Swagyu Chop Shop in Poway and has taken over the space next to his Imperial Beach butcher shop and burger spot that will function as additional seating during the day and turn into an omakase counter/tasting menu experience at night. Both projects should be completed by June 2022.