Mexican food with a twist came to the beach cities recently with the opening of Dia de Campo in Hermosa Beach, which took over the spot formerly occupied by Cafe Boogaloo.
Dia de Campo is the Blackhouse Hospitality Group's fourth restaurant they've opened in the past two years, including Abigaile in Hermosa Beach and Little Sister in Manhattan Beach, as well as WildCraft in Culver City.
Jed Sanford and chef Vin Vuong, who lead the Blackhouse Hospitality Group, wanted to develop a “new vision” for a Mexican and seafood restaurant in the beach cities that paid homage to the Latino food Vuong grew up with in Los Angeles as well as the food familiar to Sanford during his trips to Mexico.
“Traveling down to Baja, camping, surfing, getting some good local Mexican food, seafood on the beach, that sort of idea is a little bit of inspiration for it,” Sanford said.
Sanford grew up surfing so he also wanted to pay respects to that legacy in Hermosa Beach, giving Dia de Campo a “surf lodge” decor and atmosphere.
“I wanted to make it a super comfortable locals place that's got a beach vibe to it,” Sanford said. “Hermosa is an awesome beach town and I wanted to do something that felt a little bit more Hermosa … Abigaile is a little more aggressive, it's dark. Little Sister is kind of the same thing. I wanted to show some range in our team and what we can do.”
Sanford wanted to let the light in, so he focused on the natural attributes of the old building and its brick walls. The windows had been filled over the years with cinder blocks, so those were removed. Some of the wood that was part of Cafe Boogaloo was salvaged and used in various aspects of the renovations, which were extensive.
Part of the renovations was an overhaul of the kitchen, which now includes a wood-fire grill and a West Coast style raw bar with seating. They wanted to give the cooked meats and fish a unique beach campfire taste.
“We wanted a traditional menu with some new school things, but with clean ingredients, a little more straight ahead in terms of people's familiarity with the food,” Sanford said. “I think that's important for Mexican seafood. We want to put a current spin on things but sort of how far we take the food is interesting.”
Dia de Campo is located at 1238 Hermosa Ave.
For more information, visit DiadeCampoHB.com.