Situated along the popular, slight “S” curve on Orange Avenue, Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge offers people-watching with privacy and a hard-to-pick-from menu.
Plus the restaurant just kicked off a special to give back to locals: Tuesdays, those who show an ID with a 92118 zip code get 20% off. And with Oktoberfest here, they wanted to find a way to still celebrate and created a special menu — including a Schnitzel plate and special craft beer — featured Sept. 18-Oct. 3.
Manager Gus Thompson encouraged people to come out for a great time like date night and experience an eclectic but familiar menu that adjusts year-round.
Socially-distanced pavement stickers guide you to the friendly staff members, who will seat you al fresco between dividers required due to the pandemic — yet they’re surprisingly beneficial for a more secluded dining experience. Paired with the sidewalk passersby, the patio seating is delightful and invites guests not to be in too much of a hurry.
Opened in 2011, the award-winning Leroy’s is linked to the Blue Bridge Hospitality collective of several successful restaurants and eateries run by David Spatafore. Spatafore’s distant cousin Leroy Mossel is the involved namesake and the executive chef is Ronnie Schwandt.
“At the time there were no restaurants in Coronado serving local farm-to-table food and drinks, craft cocktails and a focus on craft beer,” Spatafore said. “This was the kind of place that we like to eat at so we built it.”
Thompson said Leroy himself is around almost every single day and definitely plays a role.
“He knows most of the people in this town,” Thompson said. “He’s a good namesake for the building. He’s been and lived all over the world, and those experiences he’s had is kind of what has been brought to our menu.”
Thompson said one can say it’s American but you’ll see Asian or French influences for example. He added it lends the ability to really play, taking classics and putting spins on them like Asian barbecue sauce with Brussels sprouts. They “don’t do standard” and always try a unique ingredient.
Clever cocktails and craft beer do jump out from the drinks menu as well as hard kombucha. My dining partner and I ordered the Mezcal Margie and Summer Fresca, the latter and Raspberry Bourbon Smash coming recommended as crowd favorites by our server — who kindly let us delay ordering while we caught up.
While the menu is straightforward, it boasts difficult decisions with its modern yet beach town comfort food. We at least decided on the four Deviled Eggs as an appetizer since they were easy to share, and who doesn’t love picnic food? The savory cupcakes’ egg whites, yellow cream and other toppings, combined for just the right amount of salty, sweet and pickled.
We finally chose the Lobster Roll as well as the Grilled Cheese and Roasted Tomato Bisque. With the almost-open-faced lobster sandwich came a tasty but light green salad and the best potato chips I’ve ever had (and I’m not a huge plain potato chip fan), crispy yet flakey — and not bland.
The grilled cheese and tomato soup dish stole the show. The bread is brioche. Thick and fluffy with its shiny, soft crust — buttery and a little crunchy, and a little salty — it’s the perfect hug around the plentiful, gooey cheddar, American and smoked cheddar cheeses. Dip each bite in the powerful tomato bisque with chunks of tomato in it and your mouth will fill with hearty, creamy, roasted, smoky flavors. All of a sudden you’re a very spoiled, sophisticated kid.
We were so stuffed with delicious cocktails, dairy, seafood and bread, we couldn’t fit in dessert. But when I go back, I’m definitely getting the Lemon Blueberry Cake. Or the Naughty Ding Dong.
My dinner buddy was vegetarian and we also weighed the handrolls and the falafel dish. Oysters and heirloom tomatoes, seedless watermelon with charring, swordfish options and a selection of salads, also called out for me to return. Leroy’s provides a weekend brunch too.
Spatafore said he loves the falafel plate, the vegetable chopped salad, poke tacos (of course, he added), oysters and the fresh fish sandwich.
Though the indoor dining area isn’t open yet, visiting during the week makes it easy to get a table right away. A QR code is provided on each table so guests can easily use their smartphone’s camera feature to pull up the restaurant menus and skip the health risk of handling an extra item.
The Leroy’s menu also shares how the team is committed to a local, sustainable and seasonal menu which changes to highlight the efforts of their partner farmers, fishermen, brewers, distillers and other artisans. The restaurant will always celebrate local goods purchased directly whenever possible, it adds.
Note that a 4% surcharge is applied to all guest checks to help cover increasing costs and support recent increases to minimum wage as well as benefits for its team.
Below are some guidelines from Leroy’s which can help the more novice pandemic diner, including myself:
- All guests need to wear face coverings while not at their table.
- We ask all guests to wear masking when interacting with our staff.
- Please maintain six feet of social distancing whenever possible.
- Our staff will wait for you to signal for them to come to the table to assist you.
- We will provide bottle or tap water as requested, but we will allow you to refill your own glass.
- Please be prepared to order your entire meal at one time, including drinks.
- If the restroom is occupied, please do not wait in the hallway.
- We will wait to clear everyone’s plate at the same time. So it is clear to our staff that you are finished, you can either place your silverware at the top of the plate with all handles facing to the right, or you can slide the plate to the side or middle of the table.
- If you have any leftovers, we will provide you with boxes for you to package the food yourself.
Spatafore said while the seesaw of requirements and restrictions on restaurants — as well as the slower and colder months — loom, the most positive thing right now is they’ve made it to this current day.
Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge
1015 Orange Avenue