by Jamie Brinkman
A brand new restaurant with a fresh concept has come to town, bringing a distinctive taste and style to compliment those establishments presently residing on Avenida Del Mar. Opening with a newly renovated indoor and outdoor space sometime in February, its name, H.H. Cottons American Bar & Grill, was inspired by one of San Clemente’s own.
When most locals hear the name Cottons, they might think of the surf break just north of Trestles or they might even think of the Western White House better known as the Nixon House which H.H. Cottons built. What most don’t know is who this man was or his significance to San Clemente. Although Ole Hanson was the original founder of San Clemente, Hamilton H. Cotton was also a fellow founder - he held the note to the land that eventually became the quaint little Village by the Sea. He also happened to be quite the entertainer in his day and even once hosted for President Roosevelt.
It was with this history in mind that the owners of this new restaurant thought it appropriate to call their restaurant the H.H. Cottons. And in the spirit of entertaining it felt right to honor one of San Clemente’s founders.
The concept for the H.H. Cottons was brought to life by four local San Clemente families. Between the four there are 15 rambunctious children, thus the first vision for the restaurant was to create a family friendly place that would provide locals with a lively, fun establishment to bring their families to enjoy great food and drinks. Grabbing one of San Clemente’s premier locations, on the corner of Avenida Del Mar and Ola Vista, these proprietors wanted to create an eatery that all ages could enjoy, one that would also offer a unique setting and menu.
This restaurant is designed with a rustic industrial vibe, and the menu will feature both locally sourced dishes as well as options inspired from central California’s most popular dishes. Reclaimed wood and steel has been used throughout the establishment giving it a trendy yet casual vibe with a sense of structure and style, a design that offers an ambiance that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Sports fans can watch a Lakers Game on surrounding flat screen TV’s, while families with hungry kids will find a variety of menu and seating options, including large tables and a completely remodeled outdoor patio. And not to leave out those who are hoping for a place to celebrate, the restaurant will offer cozy booth seating as well as a large bar serving hand-made specialty cocktails with a twist on the classics, as well as 30 beers on draft daily.
Just as important as the setting, the menu was carefully crafted with a range of healthy options lending itself to every palate. The majority of the items will range from $12 to $20, with specialty items a few price points higher. Chef and partner Jason Gable has gathered inspiration from the many culinary driven places he has lived, including New Orleans and Hawaii, and will incorporate some of these flavors into the dishes. The menu will also draw inspiration from the central coast of California where two of the partners attended college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Causal items like street tacos will be offered at just $4 for those looking for a quick yet delicious dinner. Heartier items will also be featured, like the nightly unique steak special and the central coast specialty-Tri-tip.
With numerous entree choices, a hip and cool vibe, and a stellar bar, the H.H. Cottons will offer a well-rounded balance to the establishments already calling San Clemente home.