There's a new steakhouse in town, and it's ready to serve up a lot more than meat and potatoes.
And as more and more in Laguna Niguel, Mike Schneider is hoping his new place, which is at the site of what used to be an Italian restaurant, will stick around for a long time.
He officially opens its doors located at 30100 Town Center Dr., in the former Alessio's restaurant, today for what he says will be a "soft opening"—meaning "we didn't do a whole bunch of advertising. We expect the first few days to be OK. Not too busy, but we expect the weekend to take off."
There will be a ribbon-cutting with the city Oct. 6 and a charity night scheduled for some time in the first month or so.
What can diners expect? "An upscale atmosphere for lunch and dinner, with high-quality food at a great price," Schneider said.
In addition, the bar/lounge will be "hip but cozy," and there are three large flat-screens and light music to "help create a nice energy but not too loud where guests can't talk at a comfortable volume."
There will also be a plated Sunday champagne brunch offered in either the main dining area or in the bar during NFL viewing, at prices starting at $9.
Schneider has been working on the remodel for four months while waiting for a liquor license, which he recently received.
He and his wife, Dorina, who did all of the interior decorating, lighting and art, are both excited about their new location. They also have a Hunter Steakhouse in San Diego.
"We have been working nonstop along with our general managers for four months to make this happen," he said. "It is really satisfying to see the end product compared to what we started with. We are thrilled to be in Laguna Niguel, and we are really proud to be able to employ 64 people from the area. We had over 325 people apply for jobs over two weeks."
But what sets Hunter Steakhouse aside from the ?
"We are different because we are known for having the 'best prime rib in town.' Our recipe has not changed in 40 years, and we cut all our steaks in-house daily. Hand-cut steaks are a big point of difference for us compared too much of our competition."
Guests can expect to pay between $7-$13 for lunch items and $16-$23 for dinner, with larger cuts in the mid-$20s.
Another perk is the salad wheel that is brought table-side by waiters offering diners 10 different toppings. There is also a wine list of more than 50 choices.
And, finally, "our culture is hospitality," Schneider said. "We love welcoming guests into our restaurant and feel genuinely privileged to have them in. We want to be part of the community, our team members live in the community, and we plan on supporting the community."