Jeff Moore was noticeably enthusiastic while speaking with the San Clemente Times this past Friday afternoon.
Upon learning about the lengthy and arduous process Moore and his business partner have endured to complete their development project, the luxurious Rare Society steakhouse’s fifth location, his excitement is understandable.
“I can confidently say that this will be the best restaurant in all of Orange County,” said Moore.
Over the past four years, Moore and his partner have experienced the immediate and subsequent effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including inflation. They have had a constant dialogue with restaurant owner Brad Wise, who is the executive chef and main mind behind Rare Society.
Moore has visited the other locations, two of which are in San Diego, and raved about the food, the staff and the ambiance. Each location is decorated to the nines, matched by menus that feature oysters, beef tartare, premium cuts of meat and indulgent sides.
“It’s like a roaring ’20s steakhouse meets the Spanish Village by the Sea, and it comes together and blends so nicely,” he said of the upcoming opening.
He also complimented Wise’s intelligence and understanding of what is needed to operate businesses at a high level.
Taking part in the experience has been “priceless” to Moore, he added.
He’s seen many learning curves come his way, especially the challenges of properly managing the restaurant’s construction and staying under budget.
Nonetheless, Moore said he wouldn’t change a thing about working with Wise and Trust Restaurant Group, which he called “true professionals.”
“I would say one of the hardest parts of my job, specifically, was having to keep my partner and investor enthusiastic and having to be passionate about the project for four full years and keeping everybody on track,” said Moore.
That commitment was necessary to fulfill their intentions of revitalizing the lower half of Avenida Del Mar by building a two-story restaurant.
Rare Society will fill a need in town by serving as a niche restaurant that brings in clientele from surrounding cities, as well as San Clemente, according to Moore.
All the great restaurants will be able to play off each other, he said, referring to the maxim that a rising tide lifts all boats.
“In the same way that Rare Society is going to be convenient, I think that they’re going to be leading the way and setting the bar,” said Moore, referring to the service and food.
The restaurant will offer an experience that doesn’t currently exist in the city but is something that people want and deserve, he continued, adding that the new clientele will recognize “what a great town” San Clemente is.
His goal is for all surrounding businesses on Del Mar and El Camino Real to benefit from his venture.
The final stages towards the restaurant’s opening include checking off health inspections, fire codes, and other safety precautions, as Moore looks to hold a soft opening within the next two weeks and potentially open by June.
Afterwards, Rare Society’s corporate staff will come in to operate the restaurant while simultaneously hiring and training incoming employees for the first three months.
“I honestly always joke and say that San Clemente doesn’t even know what’s about to be served up to them,” Moore said. “It’s a true crown jewel.”