Studio Cafe

Studio Cafe has been running for more than 20 years, and is a Newport Beach institution.  It's known for its big drinks, fun atmosphere, and live music.  In the summer months, it's a popular bar and restaurant.

I bought Studio Cafe in 1999.  It was quite run down, so I engaged Ken Mockett's company to do a complete remodel - new bar fixtures, tables & chairs, flooring, new soundproof windows, new kitchen equipment.  We also added a computerized bar and register system.

My restaurant company was called 'Newport Blues, Inc.'  I planned to open other restaurants with a casual atmosphere and live music - 'Newport Blues' being one of them.  We had a separate small office in Shipyard Way.  Mike Mergen was the office manager, and Tricia Freeman was in charge of advertising and band booking.  Steve Welton was the Studio Cafe manager, and Steve Palmer was executive chef.

We started with live music seven nights a week at Studio.  This proved to be a bit ambitious, so we cut back to three or four nights a week.   Local bands featured include The Voodudes, The Tricia Freeman Band, Girls Night Out, The Boomers, Mike Ubaldini Band, and Stan O'Kane.

In 2003 I sold Studio Cafe to Cabo Cantina, a small chain of Mexican restaurants based in Beverly Hills.  It's now more popular than ever.  One of my former staff, Andrea, was later manager of Cabo Cantina.

Studio Cafe was a Newport Beach institution, going for more than 30 years.

I did an extensive remodel inside, and added this red awning outside.

View from the street. The boardwalk (right) runs for miles, and is a popular biking and walking trail.

The Balboa pier, outside our front door. The city completely repaved the pier area. It looks very nice, but caused us many months of business disruption.

The Balboa beach, from the pier. The beach is a popular surfing spot.

The proud flag in our front yard!

There would often be free city concerts in the bandstand outside Studio. The lawn was a popular group picnic site.

With my manager, Steve Welton.

Some of the Studio staff. Andrea (second from left) was later manager of Cabo Cantina.

Chris and Scotti with Steve Welton.

Telmar people at Studio.

Mike Ubaldini, Larry Green and Stan O'Kane. Note the 'Granville's Annual 50th Birthday Party' sign. We held one every year!