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The Coast News

Celebrating 5 years of Wine Country at the Beach at Solterra!

David Boylan

Celebrating 5 years of Wine Country at the Beach at Solterra!
After many years of Licking the Plate I have developed a sense of the long-term viability
of a new restaurant, many times upon walking through their doors. Such was the case 5
years ago when I came across Solterra Winery & Kitchen. On first glance my initial
thought was that it was very much like “Wine country at the beach” which was the
headline that ran in my first Coast News column on Solterra. The design and
construction was such that it seemed like it had been there a while. That, combined
with the barrel room that is so perfect for events, the restaurant and bar that open up
on to Coast Highway 101, the front and back patios, just exuded a warmth and sense of
style all it’s own. There is always a steady stream of folks out and about on Coast
Highway and that makes for great people watching.
Over the past 5 years it’s been my go-to spot to take out of town guests, impress clients,
or just popping in while out on a bike ride for a glass of wine and a chat with the friendly
staff. The kitchen has always been solid and the servers well versed on pairing wine and
food. I’ve been lucky to get to know owner Chris Van Alyea through several radio
interviews, columns and just hanging out. We share interests in fishing, music, wine and
great food and when those are common interests, there is never a shortage of good
conversation. What he has done with Solterra is very close to my idea of what a great
restaurant should include and the fact that he combines that with winemaking makes it
even better.
I caught up with Chris recently to get his take on 5 years under his belt with Solterra.
LTP
When Solterra was just an idea in your mind, how did you settle on Leucadia as your
location? 
Chris
I truly think that Leucadia is one of the best communities anywhere.  It has a great vibe
with very friendly people and you can’t beat this location.
LTP
Now celebrating five years in business, how have you seen coastal Leucadia change
during that time?

Chris
I think there have been a lot of great changes with an awesome selection of new
restaurants and coffee shops.  Leucadia is now a destination for people to go out for a
night on the town.

LTP
You must be stoked given the warm reception you received and that Solterra is more
popular than ever. What do you attribute that to?
Chris
That's much-appreciated David. Our staff is quite welcoming and patrons feel like their
part of the family.  Our food has been pretty innovative and our wines have improved.
LTP
What have some of the challenges been?
Chris
Oh boy where do I start.  As a new restaurateur there has been quite a big learning
curve.  From the winery's standpoint it is challenging at times crushing 80 tons of fruit in
an urban setting.
LTP
If you were to describe the wine you make at Solterra in a nutshell how would that
read? 
Chris
We source from vineyards up 800 miles and are always searching for great vineyards.
We produce wines in a "new world" style that expresses the ripe fruit characteristics in
the wine.
LTP
Your kitchen has evolved over the past few years as well. What’s good these days
coming out of the Solterra kitchen? 
Chris
The customer feedback lately has been our food might be the best we have had. Chef
Bryan Rhodes is very talented and innovative with his cuisine.
LTP
There are also some servers and bartenders that have been around for a while. Any
shout outs to your team?

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