Mike Flynn sealed the deal on the name O SEA for his up-and-coming dining concept the minute his insider group text blew up with a resounding ‘YES!’
“I was recipe testing in Seattle and wrote a concept recipe called the OC bowl. The thought then came to mind to change the spelling and call it O Sea. That’s when I had the AHA moment and sent the text,” shared Mike, the owner of O SEA, a new fine-casual seafood restaurant coming to Old Towne Orange next year.
Everyone in the group text loved the name and the rest is history (in the making)! But let’s jump back.
Mike grew up in Newport Beach and frequently visited the Circle. He studied history in college with the thought that he would go to law school. After his first law internship, he realized that it wasn’t for him and something else was calling his name. He took an opening at a seafood restaurant in Huntington Beach and immediately fell in love with the foodservice industry. Ever since then, Mike has worked in foodservice from Chicago and San Francisco to downtown LA and Orange County. So when it came time to decide the location for his new project, Mike said from day one, it was always going to be Orange, and here’s why.
“For one, Orange takes care of Orange. When a business chooses to invest in Orange, the community invests back in return,” said Mike, “Secondly, to appropriately tell the story of the restaurant, it was important to find a site with unique character and history.”
O SEA will be in a 110-year-old building. Part of our decor will feature the legacy and history behind the building, which is hard to find somewhere else.
Fun fact: Mike was in the history center at the library and found a photo of the original building from 1910 from the backside where the parking lot is now. It used to be a grocery store and the photo shows the horses and wagons that used to come load up groceries. He’ll be framing these images as part of O SEA’s decor to help share the location’s history.
“The last reason,” said Mike, “is the incredible generational diversity of Orange. Many businesses in the area are locally owned and it’s the multi-generational families, the teachers, students, and visitors that make Orange the diverse and welcoming place it is.”
Mike says he is working to open the restaurant that he always wanted to visit growing up, but never could find. He wanted to create an opportunity for folks to find a great piece of fish at a great price with a nice glass of wine, and boy do they have wine. At their “juice bar” (the O SEA version of a wine bar) they will have a large selection of wine pairings to perfectly complement your dish.
O SEA will be a fine casual dining establishment, but what does that mean exactly?? Fine casual dining means that you are getting a fine dining experience, that is also casual enough for easy get-togethers and frequent visits. There will be counter service, which means no servers, however, the wine will be served in the appropriate wine glass. Nice booths will section off your party at the restaurant for privacy. The menu will offer small bites to share, entrees, salads with protein options, and more. All of this makes for the fine casual dining style, a soon-to-be new normal in OTO.
O SEA plans to partner with Orange Home Grown, Orange’s lovely farmers market, giving you access to a seasonal menu on weekends. O SEA is set to open in 2021, and you know we will be the first ones ready to taste some delicious seafood and give you the inside scoop! For now, visit them on Instagram and their website for future updates! Thank you for reading the blog. Have a great week and we will see you around Towne!