Just steps from the ocean and across from the iconic Giant Dipper roller coaster, the newly renovated Coaster Saloon dons a freshly painted building exterior all beach-goers are sure to love, labeled "BBQ, Burgers, Beer,” while keeping a similar sign design as an ode to the restaurant’s last 36 years as a local favorite.
“The renovation was super quick,” says Coaster Saloon general manager Maciej Panocki. “We got it all done with closing the restaurant for only a few days, two different times.”
With executive chef Tim Eylens at the forefront of Coaster Saloon’s revamped menu, it’s no mystery why this man is known for his barbecue. With a cult-like following, Indiana native Eylens brings his expertise and passion for meat to the beach.
Using traditional low-and-slow techniques, Eylens introduces customers to his oak-smoked beef brisket (that literally melts in your mouth), baby back pork ribs, pulled pork, burgers, and specialty items such as breaded chicken tenders, bell pepper rings, and smoked gouda mac and cheese.
“What really makes our barbecue stand out is that everything is cooked fresh. We don’t have everything back there sitting in a freezer,” says Panocki. “You can taste the difference. The food speaks for itself.”
Some must-try dishes include garbage fries (cheese, pulled pork, jalapeños, pickled onions, and barbecue), collard greens (the perfect mix of savory and sweet), and The Q (a burger with cheddar cheese, onion strings, barbecue, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, topped with pulled pork).
The open-air eatery’s red, white, and blue color scheme is reflected throughout both the inside and patio. Foosball, corn hole, and a pool table make the patio the perfect spot to enjoy a cold craft beer in the sunshine. There is also a giant outdoor projector screen to catch all the biggest football games during the season.
If that’s not enough, the restaurant features 40 brews on tap, 15 flat-screen TVs, daily happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m., and a different drink special every night of the week, with brunch on the weekends from 8 to 11 a.m.
“We kind of adopted the Arizona Cardinals as our team here,” says Panocki. “After the Chargers left, we were looking for a team and we have so many Arizonans that visit, we adopted the Cardinals as our team!”
Coaster Saloon has a Tailgate Special Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays during football season, offering $4 drink specials, $6.99 eats, and their touchdown combo featuring an Old Timer burger and Budweiser for $10.
Come taste some BBQ and see for yourself why the locals have already given it their stamp of approval.
Where: 744 Ventura Place.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily; brunch
8 to 11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays;
bar 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.