Women in Business

How this badass hospitality entrepreneur is giving Surf City guests more dining options

In an industry dominated by men, there’s no doubt that Alicia Whitney, the creator of Prjkt Restaurant Group, is leaving her mark on California cuisine. While her innovation and drive have led her to open multiple notable SoCal restaurants, and even release her own wine label, she has found her niche in creating elevated beachfront dining experiences in locations once reserved for reheated burgers and hot dogs.

And with her latest announcement of a 10-year agreement with the California State Park System for new beach concessions along a 3-mile stretch of Huntington Beach, her long-term partnership is the first of its kind with California State Parks, including multiple restaurant concessions within a state park. This new announcement comes 5 years after the restaurant group’s historic Bolsa Chica State Beach concessions rolled out in 2016 – with SeaLegs at the Beach now a destination in SoCal for live music, comedy, and dining right on the sand.

PRJKT RESTAURANT GROUP EXPANDS WITH CONCESSION-STYLE EATERIES AND BEACH RENTALS KIOSK ALONG THREE-MILE STRETCH OF HUNTINGTON STATE BEACH

After Reinventing Classic Beach Concession Stands at Bolsa Chica State Beach, Landmark Partnership with California State Parks Continues to Redefine Beachfront Cuisine

Huntington State Beach, known widely as “Surf City,” is globally celebrated for the annual summertime U.S. Open of Surfing, musical festivals, and breathtaking sunsets.  But a new wave of elevated beach culture is topping the swells this year. Beginning this spring, creator Alicia Whitney and the team behind acclaimed concessions along Bolsa Chica State Beach will add another milestone to the West Coast surf town. Prjkt Restaurant Group has inked a 10-year agreement, in partnership with the California State Park System, for three new beach concessions and a re-envisioned beach rental kiosk along a 3-mile stretch of Huntington State Beach. The beachside locations are set to begin operations to the public starting in late spring 2021, following CDC guidelines. The contract comes five years after Prjkt Restaurant Group enhanced Bolsa Chica State Beach concessions in 2016.

“With more than 11 million visitors flocking to Huntington Beach every year, it’s time to continue enhancing the concession beach experience,” Prjkt Restaurant Group CEO Alicia Whitney said. “Our restaurant group has seen the success of the beach concessions serving locals and vacationers at Bolsa Chica State Beach, and now it’s time to bring that concept to Huntington State Beach. We couldn’t be more thrilled to bring our elevated menus to the foreground of the Golden State’s most picturesque sunsets and superior waves.”

Fun-in-the-Sun Beach Rentals, Innovative Concession Menus and Sandside Amenities

Located on the iconic “main drag” of Huntington at Beach Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway will be The Huntington Beach House. Beachgoers will enjoy elevated food offerings year-round, including mouthwatering burgers, salads, skewers, flatbreads, sandwiches and a variety of unique beverages. Brunch on the water will feature mouthwatering pancake and sausage skewers, breakfast and acai bowls, chorizo tacos, and Fruity Pebble French Toast Sticks. These items all pair with a vast beverage menu. Firepits, sand boxes, and a 120-foot seated counter over the boardwalk will welcome diners into a “Golden State of Mind” – also the eatery’s tagline.

Sahara’s Sandbar, at Magnolia and Pacific Coast Highway, will be a beachside destination for pizza, beer, and shaved ice. Named after Whitney’s daughter, Sahara, who grew up in the restaurants, the upbeat atmosphere will reflect a youthful Bohemian vibe. Pizza delivery will also be offered year-round, and special events can be accommodated on Sahara’s Sandbar patio to hold 150 people.

State Parks will be at the center of California Fork and Spoon, with a Redwood-carved California State Bear sculpture in front of the Brookhurst and Pacific Coast Highway concession, ideal for photo moments. The concession menu features a culinary experience of California foods—El Pastor tacos, classic burgers, tri-tip sandwich, fried soft shell crab, clam chowder in a bread bowl, and high-quality beverages originating from across the state. A California mural will be created by Timree Gold reflecting the history and energy that embody the coastal region.

SandBox, located at Newland and Pacific Coast Highway, will serve as the recreational hub of PCH—a kiosk for electric bike rentals, surfboard vending machines, firewood vending machines, as well as cold beverages and snacks, and beach necessities.

SandBox beach rentals will open to the public in May 2021. The three new concession concepts will open to the public over the coming year, beginning with Huntington Beach House in Spring 2021, Sahara’s Sandbar in Fall 2021, and California Fork and Spoon in early 2022.

Partnership Will Encourage Healthy, Active Lifestyles and Support Positive Public Experience

California Department of Parks and Recreation manages 280 park units, integrating its California State Parks Healthy Food Initiative, which encourages visitors to consume native California-grown foods, organically grown and reduced fat foods. To serve this initiative, Prjkt Restaurant Group is now the exclusive caterer for both Bolsa Chica and Huntington State Beaches.

Prjkt Restaurant Group’s long-term partnership to operate concession restaurants is the first California State Parks agreement to include more than one restaurant type concession in one agreement, and only the second restaurant concession at a state park in Orange County.

“The beaches of Southern California are home to extraordinary biological diversity and ecosystems, and the state considers it its mission to protect these natural resources, while allowing visitors to enjoy a range of recreational and educational activities,” said Kevin Pearsall, State Park Superintendent III, Orange Coast District, California State Parks. “Alicia has lived in Huntington Beach for 22 years, and her locally-minded commitment to creating opportunities and enhancing our beaches is evident in what she’s done with Bolsa Chica State Park.”

About Prjkt Restaurant Group

Prjkt Restaurant Group is on a mission to create culinary adventures infused with the distinctive vibe of Surf City, USA. Formed by hospitality entrepreneur Alicia Whitney, Prjkt Restaurant Group offers inviting dining experiences and playful interpretations of American classics –all developed to celebrate California culture and the people who embrace it. You’ll find Prjkt Restaurant Group concepts at Bolsa Chica State Beach and Huntington State Beach. Learn more at prjktgroup.com.

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