Chef Craig Strong will offer a preview of the food and drink menu at his new restaurant, which will be named Larsen, which is set to be fully open on Oct. 13 alongside the sushi restaurant, Fin.
The famed greeter Eiler Larsen is the namesake of Strong’s new restaurant. The Laguna Beach Co. landed on the name to honor a well-known figure in the city’s history. The hallway from the lobby to the restaurant is now home to a collection of photographs, postcards, and other memorabilia related to Hotel Laguna.
“It will be a privilege to welcome the community back to Hotel Laguna, which has been a treasure at the heart of our city for 90 years,” Laguna Beach Co. CEO Mohammad Honarkar said in a prepared statement Thursday. “We are so gratified by the tremendous response to our renovation and we can’t wait for Larsen, our new oceanfront restaurant, to open its doors. It will be incredible to have our neighbors enjoying this one-of-a-kind destination once again.”
The long-awaited reopening of the historic landmark’s restaurant has been caught up in controversy since a June 29 closed session meeting of the Laguna Beach Council. Community members have since learned that the City Council was asked to concur with city staffers’ recommendation to partially withdraw a stop-work order issued for unpermitted construction. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office found “substantial evidence” that councilmembers’ action violated the Brown Act and has recommended measures to prevent future mishaps.
Honarkar still faces a coastal development appeal to the California Coastal Commission over unpermitted construction on the hotel’s exterior. His team is still preparing a comprehensive revitalization plan for the hotel that would allow the guest rooms to also reopen.
Amid overwhelming community interest, the Oct. 12 event reached full capacity by Wednesday.