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San Clemente Journal

Snacking on the Beach

May 05, 2005 02:17PM ● By Don Kindred
by Nick Azzolini

Summer is almost upon us. Come haze or high water. While you’re at the beach enjoying the sun, sand and surf it is a known fact that at some point hunger and thirst will come 
upon you. Depending on where you’ve marked out your beach spot, somewhere along the way you’re bound to encounter a concession stand to appease those demands.

At North Beach the stand known as “Kahuna’s Grill” is run by locals Eric and Gia Lucy, who took over about a year ago. Gia is the author of, “Sun, Sand and Surf, the Ultimate Guide to Orange County Beaches” and “Temecula Wine Country”. Eric is an ordained minister (pastor at South Shores Church at Salt Creek) and personal trainer. 
The Lucy’s snack shack is open weekends through May. Starting mid-June it operates seven days a week until Labor Day. Hours are from 11am to 5:30pm. You will find not only hamburgers and fries, but also Chicago style hot dogs, Nature Burgers, nachos and salads there. In addition smoothies, sno-cones and soft-serve ice cream are also offered.

The Pier Bowl
Venture south to the Pier and discover the pride of San Clemente, the Crab Pot Restaurant and Beach Eatery, operated by the Fisherman’s Restaurant. While the hours are limited through May, the Crab Pot goes into full swing mid-June. This is a full service eatery with an extensive menu ranging from grilled seafood, to ribs and chicken. After 5pm a hostess and table service are added for the dinner crowd. A full service bar is available to make your dining experience complete.
The Pier Bowl also offers several alternatives to the beach snack shacks should you feel the need to leave the sand. Directly across the street from the pier you will find Cassano’s Pizza, the Beach Garden Café, Le Gallette Creperie and the White Horses Restaurant.

 The Pier
If you find yourself walking out on the pier, whether it be for exercise or to do a little fishing, you will happen upon Schleppy’s on the Pier. Carlos Keppner took this place over several years ago and has done a remarkable job transforming this circa 1927 bait and tackle shop into a unique destination. Its full-service kitchen offers 1/3 lb. ground sirloin burgers, Ahi burgers, homemade ceviche, fish and chips and clam strips. Coffee and a full espresso bar round out the menu.

The City has dubbed the concession at the base of the pedestrian overpass at T-Street Beach, The Surfer, but the locals know it as the T-Street Snack Bar. The Wilson family has run this snack shack since 1990. The Surfer is open on weekends from 11 am to 6 pm through mid-June when it opens daily all summer until Labor Day. You can feast on fast foods, soft-serve ice cream and candy, and rent Boogie boards and swim fins there.

Calafia Beach
On the eastside of the railroad tracks at Calafia Beach you’ll find another of Carl Keppner’s eateries, Schleppy’s at the Beach. This concession provides casual beach dining. Its menu offers the 1/3 lb. ground sirloin burger, fish tacos, homemade ceviche, fried clams and chicken burritos. It also boasts a full espresso bar and serves fruit smoothies. This is the only beach concession that has a full beach rental department where you can acquire surfboards, Boogie boards, umbrellas, beach chairs and sundries, in the event you’ve forgotten something. And at 5 pm, this snack shack transforms into an oceanfront dining experience complete with an extensive beer and wine list. The perfect ending to a great day spent on the beach. b