When you walk into newly opened TOWER 48 Newport Beach, there’s a neon-lit sign on the wall. “Best Buns on the Beach,” it reads in a bright, almost turquoise blue. Behind it, you’ll find a coastal forest of palm tree wallpaper (naturally) and in front, two orange stools, ideal for waiting (and Instagramming) while your sandwich is being made. Or, for the less digitally inclined, you could simply let your eyes wander across the classic, Newport Beach surf photos along the far wall, or watch as local chefs prepare everything from chicken and waffles to burgers and banh mi in the clean, open kitchen. You could even just do nothing but luxuriate in the good vibes this modern beach deli on Balboa Peninsula serves. That works, too.
There’s an intangible feeling of anything goes exuded by the small space, an inviting atmosphere emblematic of its owners, Orange County restauranteurs Andrew Dorsey and Dan Biello, known for their mastery in creating casual-chic fare. The duo also opened up the ever-popular SOCIAL Costa Mesa together in 2014 (and Biello is perhaps best known as the co-founder of Peninsula favorite, Chronic Tacos). Roots of both SOCIAL Costa Mesa and Chronic Tacos can be easily discerned in TOWER 48, an eatery grounded in carefully curated marketing and behind it all, quality deli food.
The Dream is in the Details
It’s one thing to open a restaurant and do it well but it’s another to create an experience for the diners that goes beyond loving the food they’re eating. TOWER 48 is at once a tiny restaurant and a successful experiment in clean, impactful branding. Everything from the large, illuminated logo above the counter to the logo-embossed paper that wraps each sandwich is consistent and (dare I say it) cute. The lifeguard towers in Newport Beach are not only beacons of safety and protection but also enduring symbols of California cool. TOWER 48 adopts the familiar imagery to its advantage, and maybe that’s why entering the restaurant feels so much like returning home.
Kudos must also be given to the designer. In a space as large as a little living room, every corner is used to perfection, seating is maximized and, in a twist of unexpected fun, there’s even a slim counter outside the door to enjoy TOWER 48’s well-prepared dishes in the fresh air.
Whether you’re coming to TOWER 48 from an early morning surf sesh or a sunset beach stroll, here are a few of our favorite menu items that could be eaten any time, day or night:
- Vegetarian Sandwich – Avocado, cucumber, sunflower sprouts, raw garlic hummus, heirloom tomato and olive oil on whole wheat bread.
- Avocado Toast – Crème fraîche, cherry tomato, tarragon, radish, golden pea shoots and olive oil on sourdough bread.
- Strawberry Avocado Toast (because you can never have enough avo toast) – Avocado, strawberries, coffee (!!) and balsamic glaze on sourdough bread.
- Catalina Caprese – Mozzarella, heirloom tomato, arugula, olive oil balsamic glaze and house-made pesto on a baguette.
- Chicken Salad – Apples, cranberry, tarragon, toasted almonds, sprouts, Swiss cheese and garlic aioli on a croissant.
- Grom Burger – Wagyu beef, American cheese on a brioche bun (gluten-free bread available, upon request).
Click here to view the full menu.
TOWER 48 Newport Beach // (949) 432-5858; 4525 West Coast Highway, Newport Beach, CA 92663; Open 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Thursday and 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Find TOWER 48: Instagram, Facebook and Website.