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A New European Bistro Coming and A Special Laguna Design Center Visitor

Business in Laguna Niguel is humming this week with a bit of news that should make residents sit up and take notice.

Laguna Niguel residents who are tired of eating the same old fare may now rejoice.

A new European-style bistro/cafe is headed into town this summer while a well-known designer stopped by this week at the Laguna Design Center. Both make up this week's Laguna Niguel Biz Briefs. 

LJ's Bistro Coming in June

Paul Braunschweiler, a former restaurateur in Omaha, Neb., who had a top-rated restaurant there is now embarking on a new venture in Laguna Niguel. He has signed a lease in the former 3,000-square-foot New Mandarin Garden space at 29971 Alicia Pkwy. The European cafe/ bistro will serve "healthy yet comfort cuisine," and it could open by early June, said Braunschweiler, who was born in Switzerland.

"I looked around Laguna Niguel, where I now live and noticed that there really isn't much in terms of restaurants," he said. "I'm looking forward to bringing our unique fare and concept to the community."

Braunschweiler lived for about a year in Costa Mesa, worked in the L.A. area for a while at the Beverly Hilton, Verdi's in Santa Monica, and Adriano's on Beverly Glenn. He lived in Switzerland for 27 years, then worked on a Norwegian Cruise ship for four years, followed by some years in the Midwest." 

The restaurant is aptly named after his daughter, Leah Jean, 22, who is also in the food services business. She will return from Nebraska to help run the restaurant, Braunschweiler said. 

"It won't be a big menu but there will be a lot of variety," said Braunschweiler, who also leaves in Laguna Niguel.  

LJ's Bistro is currently undergoing renovations and awaiting liquor permits from the city.

Top Designer Visits

Famed designer, Roger Thomas, took to the mic at , 23811 Aliso Creek Road, on Tuesday for the annual spring event.

Thomas is the executive vice president design for Wynn Design and Development. He created the interiors of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, which opened December 2008. He led the interior design of Wynn Macau which opened to the public Sept. 5, 2006 and most recently directed the interior design of Encore at Wynn Macau which was completed in April 2010. 

According to his web site, "while he is a recognized leader in interior design for the hospitality industry, Thomas also designed corporate offices and aircraft interiors for Mirage Resorts Inc., as well as the private residences of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen A. Wynn, then chairman of Mirage Resorts."

For more on Thomas click here.

Please send any information, or news tips about businesses coming or going in Laguna Niguel to Debbie.Sklar@Patch.com

Nicole Reusser March 23, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Can't wait to try out the food from a fellow Swiss! Looks positively delicious. :-)
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) March 23, 2012 at 01:22 AM
@Nicole: I agree, it will be nice to have a new place in town!
Mindy Sessions May 31, 2012 at 03:31 AM
This chef is amazing! I have been to both of his restaurants in the midwest, It will be nice to have an upscale place to dine in LN. Can't wait!
Dzi9r August 29, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Great to have new face in town, but why the need to insult to the reliable, established community businesses. The "same old fare" ? ... I'm not rejoicing!
joanne August 30, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Too many chain restaurants and too little innovation in OC dining. I plan on stopping by this week. Hoping for something better that what limited fare we have in Laguna Niguel!!
Christine Margulies September 29, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Had dinner at the new LJ's last night with friends and the food was excellent especially for the reasonable prices. Service was very eager to please and friendly. the martinis were good, not excellent, but overall big thumbs up for LJ's - we'll be back soon!!
joanne October 05, 2012 at 04:13 PM
We have returned several times and the food is far better than what one would typically find in OC. wine list is good, service great and food is fantastic! we are glad the restaurant is here!

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