The Hook & Plow restaurant on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach has attracted a strong local following since its opening in early 2014, with its concept of “Farm to table, ocean to plate” cuisine, featuring the freshest ingredients possible.
“We want to keep it as local as possible,” said co-owner Brian Kelleher. “So on our menu, not everything is from California, but we try to source things as locally as possible.”
Last week, Executive Chef Alejandro Arrieta unveiled new specials that live up to that concept. Clam Bake Mondays features Maine lobster, clams, shrimp, corn on the cob, russet potatoes and andouille sausage. Hook & Plow debuts its first Taco Tuesday with lobster, short rib, pulled pork and shrimp tacos. Chicken and waffles—organic chicken and pumpkin spice waffles topped with maple lilikoi syrup—is featured on Wednesdays. A 36-ounce tomahawk steak served with Brussels sprouts, wild mushrooms and russet potatoes is served on Tomahawk Thursdays.
Kelleher, who has been in the restaurant business in some capacity since he was 12 years old growing up in Massachusetts, opened Hook & Plow in Feb. 2014, with his wife Bre, along with Lisa Cassity and Lauren Copelan, who are twin sisters. They did substantial renovations to what was Buona Vita Trattoria's overflow room, which had a kitchen and bathroom, but little else.
“There were some unforseens because the building was so old and not a lot of work had been done,” Kelleher said. “We were caught off guard but there was no rush to open .. we wanted to make it perfect.”
Four months after opening, they hired Arrieta, who Kelleher called a “perfect fit.”
“He's a chef with no ego at all,” said Kelleher. “He takes suggestions, he works with us. He was the final piece to our puzzle.”
Hook & Plow's daily menu includes starters, salads, sandwiches, soups, fresh seafood and entrees. Each dish is created from scratch with seasonal, organic and fresh ingredients. Everything is non-GMO, hormone and cruelty free. The fish is delivered fresh six days a week. The menu changes depending on what is available. The wines are from California and the beer comes from local breweries.
Kelleher started as a busboy when he was 12 years old when his sisters were working as waitresses and he was “dying to go and work with them.” Over the years, he always kept his foot in the restaurant business, eventually working for Mama D's in Manhattan Beach for six years where he learned the importance of customer service.
“That's what they're known for, their almost over the top customer service, but people go in there and you feel like you’re the only one in the restaurant,” said Kelleher of Mama D's.
Because Kelleher has worked at virtually every position in the restaurant business, he has an appreciation for hard work.
“In order to make a restaurant go, it's not what everybody sees out here … if a typewriter is losing one letter, it's useless, everybody plays their part in keeping this place going,” said Kelleher, who after working at Mama D's, also helped open The Shore and Roc Sushi, which is still open in Hermosa Beach. “We have an incredible staff. A majority of them has been here since day one.”
Hook & Plow is located at 425 Pier Ave.
For more information, visit thehookandplow.com.