Bringing its eclectic style and distinct personality to Orange County’s dining scene, Benny and Mary’s is set to open in Irvine in October 2023. The seventh restaurant for husband-and-wife team Cynthia Vigil and Chad Reinhardt, Benny and Mary’s gives diners an opportunity to step into the “home” of its namesakes, Benny and Mary, fictitious characters created by the restaurateurs to lend a sense of whimsy to the story behind the space.
“Orange County diners will soon have the opportunity to break bread with Benny and Mary, two very eccentric individuals whose space is quite eclectic, yet surprisingly comfortable,” explains Vigil, who is co-owner of Orange County-based Toast Kitchen & Bar, Mimosas Brunch & Dinner, and Julep Cast Iron Kitchen & Drink in a statement. “We are confident that this wholly unique space with a fabulous atmosphere will captivate with its vibrant energy and whimsical sophistication.”
Benny and Mary’s will offer lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, with menus created by Chef Matthew Resler, who firmly believes in harnessing the flavors of locally sourced ingredients, allowing their quality and freshness to shine through using sustainable cooking practices. His lunch menu reflects his culinary philosophy with bright, flavorful dishes like Chopped Kale Salad with green and purple kale, red onion, yellow bell pepper, heirloom tomatoes, English cucumber, avocado, crispy quinoa, and an agave mustard vinaigrette; and Korean Short Rib Tacos with bulgogi-braised short rib, house-made kimchi, gochujang aioli, and fried garlic. Diners will also be able to enjoy elevated takes on lunchtime sandwiches and burgers with Chef Resler’s Muffaletta with capicola, mortadella, salami, pistachio pesto, artichoke tapenade, wild arugula, and roasted garlic aioli on focaccia; and Drunken Goat Burger with an 8-ounce all-beef patty, wine-infused onions, roasted garlic aioli, wild arugula, and tomato jam on a brioche bun.
On Benny and Mary’s dinner menu, Chef Resler marries fresh seafood with authentic global flavors in his Thai Mussel Pot with Prince Edward Island mussels, garlic, shallots and leeks tossed in a coconut-lemongrass broth with micro wasabi, served with toasted baguette; and Yellowtail Crudo with fresh yellowtail, ginger pea puree, pickled fresno chiles and cucumber, and puffed forbidden rice. Dinner entrees feature Bucatini Pasta with house-made fennel sausage, whipped ricotta and pistachio pesto; and Short Rib Osso Buco with 12-hour braised short rib, seasonal vegetables, and amaretto-butternut squash puree with a port demi-glace.
The restaurant will offer weekend brunch every Saturday and Sunday with a menu that begins with an Eggs Benny featuring poached eggs, pork belly, wild arugula, and pink peppercorn hollandaise on English muffins; and a Surf & Turf Benny with land and sea focus and mustard seed hollandaise. Chef Resler puts his own spin on other brunch favorites with Butter-Poached Lobster Deviled Eggs, Confit Duck Hash, Wine-Poached Pear Labneh with Fruit & Granola, and Chipotle Cheddar Biscuits with Chorizo Gravy. Those looking to indulge in lux offerings may partake in a Chilled Seafood Tower and Caviar Tower with Champagne.
After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and then as a law enforcement officer for 14 years, Chef Resler experienced a life-altering event that led him to retire from the force and build a career in the culinary industry. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, Chef Resler’s experience ranges from leading the kitchens at gastropubs, to wellness-focused establishments centered around holistic cooking.
Benny and Mary’s is set to open to the public in October 2023.