A Restaurant

Orange County’s Most Timeless Restaurant

Originally built as a restaurant and service station, construction began on The Arches in 1925, the same year Coast Highway opened up from Huntington Beach to Newport Beach. Founded by John Vilelle and James Sturgeon, it was named by 10 year old Victor Chatten in a contest advertised by them in the Balboa Times. The distinct Mediterranean style of the original buildings, with arches and red tile roofs, quickly made it a recognizable staple of Newport Beach as it helped to shape and inspire the town in its early stages.

Beginning as a basic roadside diner, the restaurant and its menu flourished together, featuring steak, seafood and celebrities in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, and was touted for its French food by the early 1970’s. And while its appearance and function has changed over time, its commitment to customer and community has not.

A Restaurant, Today

With its seasonally-inspired, contemporary new american menu, Chef Alfonso Ramirez and his team showcase the restaurant’s relationships with many local farms and purveyors. His regularly changing menu consists of sophisticated dishes of land and sea that pair perfectly with A’s cozy, romantic and lively atmosphere. Visit our accolades page for a running tally of our accomplishments.

A Restaurant celebrates 90 incredible years!  Here’s how we honored such a momentous occasion.

Chef Alfonso Ramirez

Corporate Executive Chef
River Jetty Restaurant Group: A Restaurant, CdM Restaurant

Alfonso Ramirez comes to River Jetty Restaurant Group from Patina Restaurant Group where he served as Executive Chef of Catal Restaurant & Uva Bar in Downtown Disney since 2015.

Bringing an extensive culinary résumé and a deep understanding of classic cooking and modern techniques, Ramirez takes the helm as Corporate Executive Chef at River Jetty Restaurant Group’s A Restaurant and CdM Restaurant. Ramirez brings to the restaurants a passion for “rustic flavor,” and a desire to let high-quality ingredients speak for themselves on the plate.

An alumnus of Patina Restaurant who worked at the original location, the remodeled restaurant and the newest Patina location at Walt Disney Concert Hall in addition to serving as a lead chef for the Emmy Awards show from 2012 to 2018, Alfonso has an extensive background in fine dining.

With a passion for cooking that was instilled by his mentor and father who is himself a respected chef, Ramirez learned by doing from a young age and honed his expertise with guidance from some of the country’s top chefs with whom he’s had the pleasure of working throughout his career including Joachim Splichal at Patina, Lee Hefter at Spago, and Eric Greenspan at Meson G and The Foundry.

Alfonso earned his first position in the culinary industry as a line cook at Patina which he earned by “showing up at the back door and asking for a job”, and he hasn’t looked back. A Los Angeles native, Ramirez currently lives in Rancho Santa Margarita with his wife, whom he first met in high school, and their two daughters.

Jordan Otterbein, Operating Partner

Where are you from?
I was born in Arcadia, but have lived here in Newport for 48 years now, it’s a special place, I love this community.

What do you do at A?
I ensure A delivers on its promise of impeccable service and a memorable dining experience.

Why do you love food?
I love well prepared, creative food. I enjoy the social, family aspect of sharing a great meal and breaking bread with friends and family.

Why do you love A?
A has been my favorite restaurant since the day it opened. To me, it has every component of a very good restaurant ( in my humble opinion ) – excellent cuisine, awesome staff throughout, a very loyal clientele and last but not least, an ambiance and feel that is tough to beat.

First restaurant job?
I was hired as a server at the old Victoria Station in Newport, which was a train car.

Favorite ingredient and why
SRIRACHA, I put it on almost everything – except our great steaks.

Restaurant pet peeve
When a server says “are you still working on that? ”

Favorite thing about Orange County
OC is the best because we are within 90 minutes of almost anything.

What do you do when you’re not working?
I have four daughters…we have a lot of fun together

McG, FOUNDING PARTNER

Where are you from?
I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan but have lived in Newport Beach since I was 3. I attended Eastbluff Elementary, Lincoln Junior High, Corona del Mar High School and graduated from UCI – I have an “OC Education!”

You Are One Of The Original Founders Of “A” – What Was Your Vision For These Two Iconic Newport Beach Buildings When You And Your Partners Took Over In 2006?
I used to come to The Arches with all my friends, and we would all say to each other that it was the only old school Newport restaurant that was still hanging in there – lots of the other long-time spots had closed. So, when the opportunity presented itself to take over The Arches, we jumped at it, even though none of us knew anything about the restaurant business!

We wanted to ensure that “the old Arches property” would remain a restaurant, and most importantly that it would continue to be a restaurant we all love! When we started updating the structure (we ended up doing a complete renovation), we all agreed that the goal was to be sure that when our customers walked in, it still felt like it always felt… warm, relaxed, with a cool vibe – the place where you see people you know, and meet people you want to get to know. I’m proud of what we have accomplished here – I think we did what what set out to do, and that’s pretty cool.

Favorite Food?
That’s a slam dunk, Chef’s friday night special: Chicken Pot Pie