Hooked for 20 Years!

NEWS | It's our 20th anniversary! For two decades, we've been leading the West in offering fresh, local and sustainable seafood. And with eight locations, we're still growing. To celebrate, we'll be offering “Throwback Thursday” specials and an all-employee reunion! So come in, get hooked.

Newport Beach, Calif. (August 29, 2016)

For years, we at Bluewater Grill insisted that residents would get “hooked” once they tasted the restaurant’s just-off-the-boat seafood and shellfish dishes made possible by direct relationships with local fisherman.

Above: Swordfish fresh from local waters, caught from our very own harpoon boat, the Pilikia, into Bluewater Grill in Newport Beach.

Twenty years later, our prediction has come true: serve the freshest sustainable seafood and people will come. The original Bluewater Grill in Newport Beach’s historic Cannery Village, opened in 1996, has led to locations in Redondo Beach, Tustin, Phoenix, Temecula Wine Country and on Santa Catalina and Coronado islands.

Above: Waterfront dining at Bluewater Avalon in Catalina Island.

Like the first restaurant, the six additional Bluewaters continue the mission of introducing the public to hyper-fresh sustainable seafood via a legendary menu of artisanal, chef-driven dishes offered at accessible prices and in an atmosphere of localized, casual style.

The company opens its eighth neighborhood location in 2017 when Bluewater Grill Carlsbad debuts in the heart of Carlsbad Village.

To celebrate, Bluewater Grill founders are planning “Throwback Thursdays” Sept. 8 through Oct. 6 featuring weekly Bluewater menu favorites at 1996 prices as well as a Sept. 29 all-employee reunion and group photo on the docks outside Bluewater Grill Newport Beach. The special menu offerings range from a Half-Dozen Oysters and Calamari to Bluewater’s popular Tuna Poke in Jar, Crab Avocado Dip and housemade New England and Manhattan Clam Chowders.

Bluewater also recently unveiled a new logo and website that will allow it to take its popular combination of seafood and legendary hospitality to new neighborhoods in the West.

Above: New look, new menus.

According to Bluewater co-founder and co-owner Jimmy “Jim U” Ulcickas, the celebrations and changes are the most since he and partner Richard Staunton opened the first Bluewater on the site of the former Delaney’s and Sea Shanty Restaurants 20 years ago. “Back in 1996, Bluewater was at the forefront of the fresh, sustainable seafood conversation,” he said. “Folks weren’t used to getting hyper-fresh seafood and shellfish right in their own neighborhood, and the question of fish origins was just starting to take off.”

“Today, many restaurants claim to be fresh and responsible – but we are still the sustainability leader, on track to practice a 100% sustainable trade, and one of the few to regularly certify our menu with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and other organizations,” he added. “We’re also one of the few restaurants to operate our own fishing boat, which gives us more control over the fish we ultimately serve our customers. It’s a difference you can taste.”

Life-long boaters and fisherman, Ulcickas and Staunton met over their mutual love of the ocean and their desire to introduce others to the wonders of fresh seafood and shellfish. To this day, many of the general managers and others in the seven-restaurant Bluewater family compete regularly in fishing competitions. And the company still captures its swordfish and other fish by hand aboard its fishing vessel, The Pilikia, just as it did in the early days.

Above: Our fishing vessel, The Pilikia, captures fresh swordfish and other fish from local waters.

“Even more than restaurant owners, we consider ourselves fisherman at heart,” explained Staunton. “I think it is precisely this appreciation for the ocean that makes Bluewater such a favorite among seafood lovers. We’ve worked hard over the years to build the consensus that if you want the absolute freshest fish, you come to Bluewater.”

In celebration of the 20th anniversary, the Bluewater Grill website has been updated with a fresher, more authentic visual style focusing on the restaurant’s origins and commitment to signature dishes created from carefully sourced and harvested ingredients, the onsite cutting of fresh fish, and artisan foods.

The refreshed site also devotes more attention to localized events, promotions and specials associated with each restaurant as part of the brand’s ongoing quest to offer localized seafood experiences. This includes the posting of each restaurant’s lunch, dinner, brunch, small plates, happy hour and other menus that are updated regularly to reflect seasonal availability.

The all-day Throwback Thursday specials offered at special 1996 prices include:

  • Thursday, Sept. 8: Half Dozen Oysters – $7.95
  • Thursday, Sept. 15: Tuna Poke in a Jar – $7.95
  • Thursday, Sept. 22: Bluewater Crab Artichoke Dip – $7.95
  • Thursday, Sept. 29: Calamari – $7.95
  • Thursday, Oct. 6: A Bowl of Bluewater’s housemade New England or Manhattan Clam Chowder – $4.50

All past and present Bluewater employees are invited to a group reunion photo and reception on Sept. 29 at 3pm on the dock outside Bluewater Newport Beach!

Fun Facts about Bluewater

Bet you didn’t know that we…

  • Purchase $10 million in seafood annually directly from local fisherman around the world. That’s an average of $27,500 per day!
  • Serve so much fresh fish that we’re able to catch or purchase an entire 200-pound swordfish, which is rare for a seafood restaurant.
  • Maintain personal relationships with many of our fisherman suppliers – such as Steve, our harpooned swordfish supplier aboard the Captain Hook; Ivar, our lobster fisherman in Redondo Beach; and Glen, our personal shellfish grower in Washington’s Puget Sound.
  • Serve 200,000 loaves of artisan bread every year.
  • Personally tested 26 different brands of butter before settling on the perfect combination for our bread. (It’s the #23 butter.)
  • Hand-shuck 475,000 oysters and clams to order annually. (We also poke each shucked shellfish with a knife and smell it to make sure it is fresh.)
  • Purchase oysters and clams directly from the farms where they are grown exclusively for Bluewater Grill.
  • Crack 30,000 pounds of lobster and crab every year.
  • Ladle 80,000 gallons of Clam Chowder and Lobster Bisque each year.


Come in, get hooked

Tustin 714 258 3474
Newport Beach 949 675 3474
Redondo Beach 310 318 3474
Phoenix 602 277 3474
Catalina Island 310 510 3474
Coronado 619 435 0155
Temecula 951 308 2722



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