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‘Top Chef’ Alum John Tesar Brings West Coast Surf and Turf to Dana Point

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The Dallas-based chef opens Outer Reef inside the Laguna Cliffs Marriott

John Tesar
John Tesar - official photo
Steven Visneau

It’s no longer a rumor: Former Top Chef contestant John Tesar’s seafood restaurant Outer Reef is headed to Dana Point at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, with an opening slated for the end of 2018. Tesar is a four-time James Beard nominee, and appeared twice on Bravo’s culinary competition show.

Tesar recently signed a lease for the space, and will source all seafood straight from the Pacific, which includes crudo, caviar, and fresh shellfish. Surf converges with turf as Tesar will bring some dishes from his Dallas steakhouse, Knife. Outer Reef is a tribute to Tesar’s Dallas restaurant Spoon Bar & Kitchen, which closed in early 2015.

Tesar has quite the reputation in Dallas, and was a standout personality while competing on Top Chef. Tesar was known for his lack of filter, rants, and in-fighting during season 10, but was much more subdued during season 14. D Magazine labeled Tesar as “The Most Hated Chef in Dallas,” and the chef maintained an awkward and public spat with former Dallas Morning News restaurant critic Leslie Brenner.

Outer Reef is the second Southern California restaurant from a Top Chef contestant this year. Season 12 winner Mei Lin opens Nightshade sometime this month.

Outer Reef. 25135 Park Lantern, Dana Point, CA