Today we’d like to introduce you to Luis Lopez.
Luis, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Aloha, My name is Luis Lopez Jr, General Manager of the Lighthouse Oyster Bar and Grill in Oceanside, California. Nestled in the town’s charming fishing harbor, our venue boasts amazing views of the water and incredible sunsets all year long from our outdoor patio. Our exhibition style kitchen allows our guests to interact directly with our culinary team and watch “the show” from your seat. My father, mother and I, with the help of our business partners, own and operate the restaurant.
I grew up in Encinitas, California where my father was the Executive Chef at a restaurant called The Beach House. There I grew up in the kitchen and front of the house learning the ins and outs of the restaurant business. Throughout college and after graduation, I held various positions in other restaurants, bars, and country clubs furthering my passion for the industry. In 2009, my father decided to retire from The Beach House and pursue our family’s life-long dream of opening our restaurant. After tireless months of searching, we found the perfect location in the quaint Oceanside Harbor and had our grand opening on July 21st, 2010. We later expanded our family business with the opening of our Lighthouse Fish and Seafood Market in the Spring of 2015.
My father, Luis Lopez Sr., is our Executive Chef and the backbone of the operation. His 35+ years of experience and passion for food has led him to create a unique blend of Mexican/American seafood cuisine that satisfies all. Heading into our 10th year of business, it’s an honor to be a part of the Oceanside community. Our restaurant thrives on the locals, and as our community continues to sky-rocket in positive ways, tourism keeps us on a wait through the summer months. Our ability to provide a “feel at home” environment, delicious food and beautiful views has led us to become one of the local favorites in town.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When we opened in 2010, we had a lot of rain which did not help bring people to our new waterfront restaurant. To save capital, we did not do any advertising so “word of mouth” was all we were relying on. The first 3 years were pretty brutal, working long hours with little time off, and not knowing if we would make it to that five year milestone. Thankfully, the saying “hard work pays off” rang true because before we knew it, we celebrated our 5th anniversary and have continued to thrive ever since. Our biggest struggle currently is finding a location for our next venture.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Lighthouse Oyster Bar and Grill is a family owned and operated restaurant that serves the Oceanside community. We are known for our amazing views of the Oceanside Habor and specialize in serving fresh, quality seafood. Our sauces, dressings, soups and desserts are all made from scratch in house. We are most proud of the loyalty we have created within our community as well as with our staff. The majority of our culinary and front of house team has been with us since day one which is rare in an industry with such high turnover.
Our mission is to treat our guests as if they were walking into our family’s dining room at home. We want our regulars to feel as if they are members of a secret country club. Richard does not need to order his Diet Coke because it’s waiting for him as he sits down. We put out a “Reserved” sign on two seats at the Oyster bar on Sunday night because we know Gerry and his wife, Mimi, will be there to share a bottle of wine. Our customers and staff are our extended family. They know our story and we know theirs.
What were you like growing up?
I grew up in Encinitas, California which was the best gift my parents could have given me. Encinitas and Cardiff in the mid 90’s was an amazing place. Most roads had stop signs instead of lights, and traffic did not exist. My dad knew a lot of people in town so getting into trouble was never an option.
I spent my free time surfing, skating, and playing sports. I was shy at a young age but was lucky to meet amazing friends who helped me break out of my shell, and many of those friends I still keep in touch with today. I loved frequenting my favorite local restaurants before a surf session or after baseball practice–shout out to Pipes Café and Juanitas Taco Shop!
I’m extremely thankful for the friends I’ve made growing up in North County, San Diego. There were never really enemies, just day to day grudges that we all got over after a surf session or stare down. Pretty funny stuff now that I think about it.
After graduating from high school at San Dieguito Academy I went on to graduate from UC Santa Barbara in 2007.
- Happy Hour daily from 3p-6p
- $1 oyster night every Thursday
- Sunday Brunch 9a-1p
- Address: Lighthouse Oyster Bar and Grill
262 Harbor dr. South #201
Oceanside Ca. 92054
- Website: Lighthouseoceanside.com
- Phone: 760-433-1900
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @lighthouseoceanisde
- Facebook: @lighthouseoceanside
- Twitter: @lighthouseoceanside
- Yelp: lighthouse oyster bar and grill