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Meet Trailblazer Coral Strong

Today we’d like to introduce you to Coral Strong.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Coral. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Former accountant and beer bartender with a love for local farm produce, and 100% from-scratch cooking. I wanted to open a restaurant with exactly those ideals. A place where you could feel comfortable dining like your own back yard, be treated with respect if you have dietary needs and teach my customers about how important local produce from San Diego farms can taste.

I opened the restaurant in May 2015 and accidentally became the chef, my original intention was just to be owner/ manager. Once I got in the kitchen and figured it out, it was a match made in heaven and made for instant success.

Extremely hard work and long hours seven days a week over 4.5 years has enabled me to create a very magical restaurant serving incredibly fresh food, supporting seven San Diego farms, employing ten people, and creating an ambiance unlike any other in San Diego.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
For the most part, it has been a smooth road, with a few major speed bumps. We had a neighbor protest our beer & wine license for spiteful reasons, so it caused our expansion to be delayed by over a year.

My advice to anyone in this business is to make sure you are extremely tough, have very thick skin, and not to lose sight of your goal. Failure was never an option for me, so I just kept pushing through.

It’s important to have an incredibly open schedule as many unforeseen obstacles occur. In addition, having a strong support team mentally, physically and financially is equally necessary.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Garden Kitchen – what should we know?
I am the executive chef and owner of true farm to table restaurant. I write my menu DAILY to showcase the produce from 7 San Diego Farms. My menu is 100% from scratch. We are as zero waste as possible and compost the rest. I specialize in showcasing what San Diego is growing each and every day.

I am extremely proud to believe in and execute exactly what my morals & ethics reflect within my restaurant.

Garden Kitchen is unlike any other restaurant in San Diego. Our combination of San Diego produce-driven menu with extremely fresh & creative prepared food, combined with upscale & friendly service, and a dining ambiance that is similar to dining al fresco in the south of France.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well-positioned for?
I think the often delicate and emotional touch a woman can bring to a kitchen is reflected in our food. Women are well-positioned for anything they put their heart into.


  • Happy Hour 3pm-5pm, $4 beers, $5 wines, $5 sangria, $3 off special happy hour menu
  • Dinner Service 5pm-9pm has entrees from $22-$40
  • Wine lounge has small bites $9 -$15 with wines by the glass starting at $9
  • All bottles of wine are available for sale to go, 15% off
  • Wine Club is 3 wines a month for $50 hand-selected by our Sommelier

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Debra Bellisario

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