To have a concept described as an “adult candy store” is a testament to Wil Dee’s expertise in the craft beer arena. As Founder & CEO of Provisions Market and Haven Gastropub in Old Towne Orange, Dee not only sets the bar, but also continues to raise it when it comes to orchestrating a unparalleled craft beer list. In fact, he has been given the title of “Best Beer List” in Orange County for the past two years, and it is this emphasis on and attention to craft beer that has made Dee a local leader in the craft beer movement.
Dee currently sits on the Executive Board for the Orange Chamber of Commerce, as well as sits on as the Vice President of the Orange County Brewers Guild.
Born and raised in Orange County, Dee began his career in the service industry in the late 1990s, when the craft beer community had not come into existence. His experience begins at a nightclub in Anaheim and then takes him to a few restaurants in downtown Fullerton. For a period of 12 years, Dee worked as a Manager, Bartender, Bar Manager, and General Manager at various establishments in Orange County. Even though some of the locations he worked at carried a sizable draught selection, there wasn’t much beer on tap that was local and he sought out hard-to-find imports that gave him a little taste of the quality that we’ve come to expect from craft beer today.
Dee’s knowledge of craft beer, worldly wines and unique spirits comes from many unique experiences, including a two-month trip through Europe to become familiar with the great beers of Germany and Belgium, in addition to an exploration journey through the craft beverage scenes across the US. He also earned a hard-to-come-by invitation from Sierra Nevada to participate in Beer Camp 109 to be involved in the brewing process firsthand, which was just one of the many adventures that have shaped his approach and dedication to craft.
It’s that very dedication that fueled the opening of Haven Gastropub. With Dee’s emphasis on the craft beverage program, he brought one of the first true gastropub experiences to Orange County. Four years later, Dee opened the region’s most diverse and extensive bottle shop and tasting room, Provisions Market, which follows Dee’s strict guideline and system to ensure the very best selection of craft beer on tap, and in bottles or cans.
In addition to building successful businesses, Dee’s work includes assisting the less fortunate in times of need – he has raised almost $30,000 to assist the victims of the most recent Tsunami in Japan and those affected by Hurricane Sandy. In addition, Haven Collective has contributed to end childhood hunger across the nation through Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry program, and also locally, through Share Our Selves, an Orange County-based nonprofit that feeds hundreds of families daily and provides many other needed services for them.
Dee’s beverage programs have earned him numerous accolades, including the title of “Best Gastropub” by industry authority, Draft Magazine; “Best Beer List” by locally driven awards program, the GFAs; “Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator’s for multiple years running; “Best Cocktail” for his Pisco Sour by the Orange County Register, the area’s largest circulating daily newspaper; and numerous other nods, which serve to inspire him to reach even greater heights.
Recently Dee teamed up with best friend Randy Nelson, and acclaimed brewer Brian Thorson to open Chapman Crafted Beer in 2016, and will continue to lead and shape the craft beer movement in Orange County and beyond.
“Having previously held a 4-year position as Chef de Cuisine at Haven Gastropub from 2012 to 2016, Chef Brady has history with the restaurant and the Old Towne Orange community,” commented Dee, who was one of the Founding Partners of Haven Gastropub in 2009 and the sole proprietor of the establishment today. “As we approach a decade of serving our community in Orange and beyond, we look to keep things fresh and innovative to provide an unparalleled experience to our guests.”
As Executive Chef, Craig Brady lends years of experience and much passion to create dishes that push the boundaries of what is commonly known as “pub food” at Orange County’s award-winning restaurant, Haven Gastropub in Old Towne Orange.
Chef Brady received his formal training in New York City’s French Culinary Institute. During his stay there, he worked and staged at some of the city’s most exciting kitchens, but his first paid position out of culinary school was at the newly opened Montage Resort in Laguna Beach and its flagship restaurant, The Loft. He went on to the Patina Group’s highly acclaimed French bistro, Leatherby’s, and noted Scott’s Seafood at South Coast Plaza. It was because of his time at the latter that he was tapped to open a very popular and busy seafood restaurant in Santa Monica first as Sous Chef, then as Chef, gaining local and national write-ups along the way. Chef Brady’s reputation led him to Boston to aid in the opening of an authentic Verace Pizza Napoletana, or VPN, certified enoteca called Posto. This restaurant was praised as among the Best of Boston, and It was here as Chef de Cuisine that Chef Brady developed a love affair with Italian cuisine and philosophy that is still visible in his food to this day. The experience in Boston served as the perfect stepping stone to head back to Orange County, where he would join the Haven Gastropub team in 2012 as Chef de Cuisine.
Over the next 4 years, Chef Brady defined his style and created something truly unique and special in the form of very intricate and creative beer-paired dinners with local breweries. In 2016, Chef Brady took on something new and challenging by joining the team at the heralded Ranch Steakhouse in Anaheim as Executive Sous Chef to run a grand operation efficiently and expertly.
In April 2018, Chef Brady returned to Haven Gastropub, this time as Executive Chef to add a new sentence to the acclaimed restaurant’s already rich story.