David Wilhelm, the veteran Orange County chef and restaurateur recently purchased San Juan Capistrano’s Cedar Creek Inn, located at 26860 Ortega Hwy, with plans to ultimately remodel and rebrand the space as Tavern At the Mission early next year, according to a press release published today by FSR Magazine.
“As a San Juan Capistrano resident, I’m personally invested in maintaining the community’s historic charm,” Wilhelm, who’s lived in San Juan Capistrano for nearly 5 years is quoted as saying. “Our town has a uniquely rich history, and I couldn’t be more excited to share a concept that reflects my own history as a chef and restauranteur with my community.”
Although Wilhelm and business partner Gregg Solomon will usher in a full-scale relaunch complete with renovated dining rooms, bar, and a reimagined outdoor patio capable of hosting live music sometime next year, the chef has begun his takeover with a revamp of Cedar Creek Inn’s menu, bringing in more of the New American cuisine that the chef is known for, as well as comfort food classics and “dishes that pay homage to his storied history as a chef and restaurateur,” as explained in the press release.
A teaser of the “elevated-yet-approachable” menu items includes appetizers like French 75’s Onion Soup with thyme, sherry, and AOP Gruyere and Wilhelm’s Santa Fe Caesar Salad with green chile dressing, salsa fresca, avocado, roasted corn, parmesan, and chile-roasted pumpkin seeds. Hearty entrees will include D’s Honey-Buttermilk Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, Blue Lake green beans, and thyme gravy, as well as a Tequila Shrimp Pasta with poblano chile cream.
Meanwhile, once Tavern at the Mission’s makeover is complete, guests can expect a menu that “[focuses] on California’s multicultural history, drawing inspiration from Mexican, Spanish, and European cuisines,” and some of Wilhelm’s signature Southwestern creations such as his Maine Lobster and Corn Crepe ‘Burrito’ with chipotle cream sauce.
Incidentally, a few of Cedar Creek Inn’s more popular dishes, including the Monte Cristo Sandwich and Coconut Cake will remain on the menu, “paying homage to the location’s history.”
“Cedar Creek Inn has been a staple in this community for more than twenty-five years,” Wilhelm said. “We’d like to honor that history and the loyal patrons who’ve frequented over the years by continuing to offer some of their most beloved menu items.”