When Mario Marovic develops a new bar or restaurant, he takes an unconventional approach.
Most hospitality firms scout locations where their restaurant will be most successful. Often, that means settling on a spot with high volume traffic.
But Marovic, whose string of Orange County food brands includes Wild Goose Tavern in Costa Mesa and Stag Bar in Newport Beach, flips that model on its head.
“I look at a neighborhood I like and then figure out what concept is best,” he said.
This year, Marovic and business partner Andrew Gabriel are putting that theory to the test in one of their most ambitious — and expensive – projects: The Country Club. The dining and entertainment venue, slated to open at the end of the year, is replacing the iconic Pierce Street Annex on 17th Street in Costa Mesa.
The old, A-framed bar and dance hall in the hipster-ville foodie enclave was known for its live music and “grill your own” burger menu. (Yes, customers brought their own meat). Two years ago Marovic and Gabriel took ownership of the building with the intention of creating a venue that would fit into a community of growing chef-driven concepts — Sidecar Doughnuts, Pitfire Pizza and Mendocino Farms.