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Pelican Grill Crafts Quintessential California Dining Experience, Pairing Dramatic Newport Coast Location With Al Fresco Style

When Pelican Grill opens its doors in November, it will offer an experience that is unmatched in Southern California: stunning ocean and golf course views, fresh and often local ingredients prepared with passion and simplicity, a warmly elegant design that includes al fresco dining, and gracious, personalized service.

Pelican Grill, along with Pelican Hill Golf Club, will be the first components of The Resort at Pelican Hill, an extraordinary destination resort being developed in Newport Coast by The Irvine Company.

Thomas Ryan, an accomplished restaurant and hotel industry veteran, has been tapped as Executive Chef. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he has led food and beverage culinary operations for seven luxury hotel openings, and was twice invited by the acclaimed James Beard House as a guest chef as part of a “Great Chefs of the World” series.

“Pelican Grill will celebrate the best of the California lifestyle,” Ryan said.

Ryan’s culinary team will focus on preparing high-quality dishes using the freshest ingredients in a setting that is quintessentially Californian. The menu will favor simplicity over complexity, and allow natural flavors to take the stage. The restaurant is developing relationships with local farmers markets to obtain the freshest ingredients. Many of these – including some from the Irvine Ranch – will be available as specials that change throughout the seasons. The menu will offer some traditional American favorites, including steaks and seafood – along with other selected classics. Selections like Boneless Short Ribs of Beef, made from natural Brandt Beef from Brawley, Calif., and Agnollotti Pasta with curried lobster and a green apple, yellow tomatillo vinaigrette, underscore the commitment to procuring the highest-quality natural products and showcasing California classics.

In addition, the grill will offer an unrivaled setting, with high ceilings and large, arched Palladian-style windows modeled on the work of Andrea Palladio, the 16th century Italian architect who is the inspiration for The Resort at Pelican Hill. A beautifully designed terrace will run the length of the grill, where guests can sit at granite tabletops with hanging flower baskets overhead. The terrace will be the perfect spot for al fresco dining year-round due to discreetly positioned heaters in the floor and ceiling, and translucent Roman shades.

Other grill highlights include:

•A Dramatic Display Kitchen: Chef Ryan and his culinary team will work in an open kitchen with granite counter tops, authentic wood-burning oven, and a spectacular copper hood. Watching the chefs hard at work, with fragrant olive wood burning in the oversized ovens, guests are offered an immediate connection to the smells, sounds and sights of cooking.

•Distinctive Bar: The bar will make its own statement with a dramatic, backlit onyx panel on one wall. It offers a club-like setting where guests can relax over a drink, or dine on the expansive outside terrace. The look is stylish and rich, with leather wall coverings, an enormous fireplace of Italian limestone, deep cushioned banquettes and two panels of plasma TVs with nine screens each. At the well-stocked bar guests will find another innovation: a bartender offering inventive drinks using fresh and seasonal juices squeezed right there.

•Generous Wine List: Wine enthusiasts will discover one of the most balanced lists of wines by the glass offered anywhere – over 30 selections, which will change regularly in order to
continually offer guests new experiences. In a nod to the state’s rich diversity of innovative and award-winning vineyards, Pelican Grill’s wine list is comprised almost entirely of California selections.

•Casually Elegant Décor: The keyword is warmth: earth tones of gold and rust, deep amber, camel and tan predominate. The interior features richly textured fabrics and leathers, crackling fireplaces, rustic urns, deep booths, beautiful alder paneling and golden-hued Venetian plaster. The interior also features high ceilings and arched Palladian-style windows that overlook the terrace and the green and blue of the golf courses and ocean.

•Private Dining Room: A private dining room that can seat up to 40 guests will be ideal for small groups and personal gatherings. With its warm residential feeling, the room assumes the ambience of an upscale villa, complete with a beautiful limestone fireplace and floor-length draperies.

The 504-acre site where Pelican Grill, and ultimately The Resort at Pelican Hill, will be located enjoys one of the most serene coastal settings in Southern California – where the Pacific Ocean laps wide, sandy beaches and thousands of acres of coastal habitat are permanently protected as open space or designated for recreational uses only – located just south of Newport Beach in Newport Coast. The grill and Tom Fazio-designed golf courses will open this November. All other resort components, from the bungalows and villas to the function space for every type of event, luxurious spa with 22 treatment rooms, wedding chapel, additional restaurants and “Coliseum” pool, will open in fall 2008.

Easily accessible, Pelican Grill is located at 22800 Pelican Hill Road South, just 10 minutes from Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, 45 minutes from LAX, and adjacent to the famed shopping, dining and beaches of the chic seaside communities of Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.

The Irvine Company Resort Properties owns and manages the finest resort and leisure
destinations in Newport Coast and the City of Irvine. In addition to The Resort at Pelican Hill, the portfolio includes The Island Hotel Newport Beach, the city’s landmark property and only AAA Five Diamond hotel; Hyatt Regency Irvine, the city’s only Four Diamond hotel; Oak Creek Golf Club in Irvine, featuring a challenging, Tom Fazio-designed public golf course; and several of the finest marinas in Newport Harbor and Northern California.

Pelican Grill will open in November; reservations will be available in mid-October. For more information on Pelican Grill and The Resort at Pelican Hill, log on to www.pelicanhill.com.