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San Clemente Journal


Jul 05, 2023 03:10PM ● By Mary Colarik

Seasurf is located downtown on El Camino Real at Avenida Cabrillo.

by Mary ColorikDoug Lemon and his wife Cheryl Leverich owned The Grill Restaurant on the bustling corner of El Camino Real and Cabrillo for almost 20 years. The Grill was a beloved local institution serving satisfying breakfasts and lunches to surfers, families and tourists. The couple still owns the building, but decided to close the business in August 2021, retiring from the 24/7 hustle bustle of running an eating establishment. 



Recently, however, they have decided to form a partnership with a brand-new restaurant, Seasurf. After Lemon visited the Seasurf location in Yorba Linda and met with Danny Kim, the restaurant group’s Project Manager, he decided to open a Seasurf restaurant in the same location. 

It took several months to convert the space, but Seasurf successfully opened for business in December 2022. Despite a cold, rainy winter and spring, locals and surfers have been flocking back to the old spot with the new vibe. 

Stepping up to the counter to place an order, customers encounter a curated selection of oyster varieties and seafood displayed in the spacious, refrigerated, glass case. Patrons can ‘hand pick’ their oysters from the case and watch the cooks shuck them in the open, exhibition style kitchen. Orders, selected from the extensive menu featuring many seafood entrees, are placed with the cashier. All the seating is outside on the patio and along the sidewalk, except for a small bar inside. Luckily, plenty of heaters have been installed, so the space has a cozy, beachy feel. The concept is fast, and casual with a big commitment to customer service. The staff has been trained to offer patrons more of a full-service experience by paying attention to their needs once they are seated. Guests are given a number to display on their table while they wait for the food to be served. Everything is made to order therefore, it’s the perfect time to patiently sit, relax and people watch. This new eatery has the feel of sitting in a small European sidewalk café. Oftentimes there’s even an opportunity to pop up from the table to snap a photo of a spectacular sunset. As the old saying goes, “location is everything,”


Danny and his general manager, Alan have a strong background in restaurants and retail business throughout Southern California. At one time Kim owned Jack and Jill’s of Beverly Hills. Currently the two divide their time at both the Yorba Linda and San Clemente restaurants while the restaurant group is getting ready to open another spot in Laguna Niguel. Kim and his high school friend, chef Yogi, ‘built the menu backwards.’ He explained that while they were eating fish tacos in Ensenada, they wanted to recreate the Baja beer-battered classic Ensenada style fish tacos for their restaurant. Then when they were in Hawaii, they were intrigued with the flavors of garlic shrimp. Thus, the menu item, North Shore Garlic Shrimp, sautéed with ginger and garlic, served with Seasurf rice and pickled cucumber is their “homage to the Big Island.” The Lahaina Shrimp Garlic Noodle is another nod to their love of Hawaiian flavors. 

Seasurf’s menu is extensive with all kinds of delightful starters, six different taco offerings, steamers, poke, (including the “famous poke nachos”), grilled seafood, salads and sushi rolls. Additionally, for those who prefer meat, grilled steak asada, chicken tinga tacos, carne asada steak tacos and a carne asada burrito are available. 

Danny would like locals to know that not only has the City of San Clemente been wonderful to work with the last several months, but also how grateful he is to Doug and Cheryl and David Kenworthy for their ongoing support; they have offered tremendous input and influence for the new business. They are regulars, they know ‘everybody,’ and act as mentors to Danny, Alan and the staff offering suggestions about what will work, including price point and hours of operation. Danny takes pride working with excellent food purveyors and credible fish vendors providing top quality products to restaurant goers.

I had the pleasure of trying several different menu items, including the beer battered Alaskan Cod fish and chips, Lahaina Shrimp with Garlic Noodles, North Shore Garlic Shrimp, three different oyster varieties, Seafood Cioppino and the Lobster Avocado Sushi Roll. All were delicious and on point. I enjoyed a glass of Chardonnay served in a Seasurf logo stemless glass. Additionally, I was treated to one of Seasurf’s signature Michelada drinks, made with beer, topped with a shot of soju garnished with fresh mangos and served in a glass rimmed with a lime chili salt for a refreshing, relaxing drink which perfectly complements many of the menu items and the chill beach town atmosphere. The restaurant also features a Bloody Bacon Michelada, six craft beers on tap, wine and non-alcoholic beverages. 

Danny and I had a nice chat while I sampled the entrees. We had fun discussing tennis, John McEnroe, other great tennis pros and Howard Stern’s excellent interview skills. (Kim played and enjoyed the game of tennis for many years before he got busy running restaurants and raising three children with his wife.)

Seasurf is open 11:30am-7:30pm, Sunday thru Thursday. Fridays and Saturdays remaining open until 8:30pm. Happy Hour is Monday-Friday from 3-5pm. Happy Hour menu features 13 items ranging from $2 - $8 with drinks priced at $6 - $8. Seasurf. is located at 202 N. El Camino Real. Phone: (949)281-1994. Website,