Haven Gastropub opened in September of 2009 to a record crowd of 500,000+ attending the annual Orange International Street Fair. Since then, Haven Gastropub has already been recognized by both the Orange County Register and the readers of OC Weekly as the Best New Restaurant of 2009.
The gastropub movement started in the early 90’s in London, England. The idea of taking an existing pub, injecting a gourmet chef, and elevating the experience for its patrons crossed the pond and has been permeating this country for a few years now. Only recently has Orange County become a destination for such fare.
Haven Gastropub’s mission is to provide high quality, freshly prepared food at reasonable prices, maintaining purveyors of local or organic produce, sustainable seafood, and humanely raised meat and poultry as often as possible.
Haven Gastropub also goes further to provide a unique selection of beer, wine, and cocktails to enjoy alongside the food.
Haven Gastropub strives to make available beers that are reserved or highly allocated for only the most serious beer-centric restaurants and pubs. Annual releases, brewery collaborations, and just plain hard to find beers somehow find their way into the cold storage space at Haven Gastropub.
Haven Gastropub carries a vast selection of wines by the glass and by the bottle. Boutique wineries are sought out, to give the guests a chance to indulge in something they may have never tried before. While you may recognize a few wineries by name, you will notice even more that you’ve probably never heard of. The team at Haven Gastropub has painstakingly gone through many a wine tasting to find these gems…
On the cocktail side, Haven Gastropub has many unique offerings as well. Recipes developed by Haven’s own grace the bartop throughout the evening. Spirits not seen in your average bar, such as those created by Modern Spirits in Monrovia, CA are used to create delicious cocktails to help elevate your experience.
Welcome to Haven Gastropub!
A Southern California native, Greg Daniels’ passion for cooking was sparked when he was just 15 and working at a fast food joint, where he fell in love with the camaraderie of a restaurant environment. In his 20s, Daniels paid the bills by working as a bartender at several Orange County restaurants and lounges, but he never lost sight of his dream of becoming a chef. “I was cooking quite a bit at home, and was always excited to learn more,” he says. “With cooking, I saw an opportunity to use more of my creative side within the restaurant industry.”
Daniels subsequently enrolled in the Le Cordon Bleu program at the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, CA, from which he graduated in 2005. While studying, he worked at a small Italian eatery in Huntington Beach, doing everything from washing dishes and sweeping floors to cooking on the line—all without pay to gain more experience. Daniels next worked as a line cook at acclaimed dining establishments such as Pascal in Newport Beach, where he further honed his skills. After leaving Pascal, he worked alongside Executive Chef Andrew Sutton at Napa Rose in Anaheim, which gave him the opportunity to work in a kitchen with a more modern flair, as well as learn new cooking techniques.
Daniels’ culinary training also went beyond the kitchen walls. He traveled extensively to sample the cuisine at world-class restaurants such as the Fat Duck in Bray, England, Per Se in New York City, and Incanto in San Francisco. He also had an appetite for reading, which, in turn, further fueled his creativity in the kitchen. “I read constantly: nonfiction by chefs, cookbooks, blogs, and whatever else to feed my passion,” he notes.
After departing Napa Rose, Daniels returned to tending bar at Slidebar in Fullerton, where he had met Wil Dee, who was the General Manager at the time. A rapport was developed as Daniels and Dee worked at a few different spots in Orange County, occasionally switching roles of employer-employee.
Dee, years later, began working on opening a new concept in Orange called Haven. Because of their past camaraderie, Daniels was brought on to create the menu, and quickly assumed the position of executive chef. His innovative take on American and European comfort food helped make Haven Gastropub one of the most popular dining destinations in the area.