This week I met with the executive chef at the Hotel del Coronado, Stefan Peroutka, to discuss the new offerings at the classic resort. Amidst the Del’s Master Plan of renovations and updates, locals and visitors can enjoy the recently reopened Sun Deck restaurant and ENO Market & Pizzeria, in addition to the outdoor Beach & Taco Shack and other favorites at the hotel.
Peroutka grew up in Austria where he learned the joys of cooking from his mother. “[Cuisine] was always really predominant in my house when I grew up,” Peroutka said. “Cooked meals and having lunch together as a family was always important. It was always something that was just in my life. When it came time to decide on a career I liked different trades and I wanted to do something with my hands and be more creative.”
Peroutka would go on to do a couple internships before taking on a three year apprenticeship while attending culinary school at the same time. “I was done at a fairly young age, I finished when I was 18, and then I had to do my military service in Austria – it’s a mandatory thing – and then I started to travel.”
2000 marked Peroutka’s first time in the U.S. but he lived and worked in Europe for another period of time before making his way to Las Vegas. “I think it was in ’07 or ’08, I landed in Las Vegas and then stayed [there] for a long time. I worked in big casinos and in the end oversaw the banquet department at the Venetian,” Peroutka recalled. “But I wanted to work for a smaller hotel but with a lot of different outlets and really take on a leadership role for an entire resort.” Peroutka’s search would lead him to the Hotel del Coronado where he’s enjoyed the opportunities the property has been able to offer to him. “I love it in Coronado, such an iconic property. Sometimes you gotta pinch yourself when you’re in it every day…and you know what destination it is and what it means to so many people.”
Peroutka has been with the Hotel Del for three years now as the executive chef where he’s navigated the hotel’s big updates, and in recent months, the effects of the pandemic. “From change of management to obviously starting the Master Plan renovation, to going into COVID and trying to come out of that and actually for the first time in 133 years that we actually closed the hotel to the public? It was a rollercoaster,” Peroutka said looking back on recent events.
The pandemic has caused delays with some of the renovation plans and created unforeseen obstacles with its widespread effect. “[We] seem so far to be on top of it, of navigating those difficult times,” he said. “...The first challenge I faced when we came back was really understanding, ‘ok where did we leave off?’, with getting in touch with all the different vendors and suppliers – not necessarily so much for the food, but for the plates and silverware, uniforms…and then understanding what those other industries go through because everybody was shutting down, not just hotels,” explained Peroutka. “So supply chain interruption was a big thing we had to navigate through.”
Additionally, because not all the outlets at the hotel have been able to re-open, staff has not been able to return to 100 percent capacity yet. Peroutka is hoping for a quick recovery for the economy and the industry to be able to see that change.
But despite the challenges, Peroutka and his team have remained steadfast in their commitment to create innovative, SoCal inspired dining experiences for guests and locals. Initially not knowing how much of the hotel would be open and with uncertainty around the demand for travel weeks before the Del’s restaurants were to open again, Peroutka was pleased to very quickly realize that yes, “people wanted to get out and wanted to do it in a safe environment.” With enhanced safety and sanitation measures and learning to run business as usual with masks and social distancing in place, Peroutka and his team introduced new menus in time for a busy summer. Regular updates to the menus offer guests seasonally inspired options with both ENO Market & Pizzeria and Sun Deck offering accessible yet elevated dining to their guests.
“When the concept was developed, we obviously wanted to be a prime spot in Southern California on the coast to have great, healthy food that is very vegetable centered, and we try to use as many local products as we can all year round,” Peroutka said of Sun Deck’s fresh, clean, and exciting flavors. “We anchor that with some proteins, some meats and some seafood…still in a casual way, but with an elevated experience.”
Along with an updated menu, there has been a new green initiative, and Peroutka mentions how they’ve moved to replace previously used disposable glassware with more sophisticated plates, silverware, etc. for that nice, Southern California lounge vibe.
According to Peroutka, “[With] ENO we always knew that we wanted to have a marketplace and pizzeria, so we built this beautiful marketplace/coffee shop that is more than just grab-and-go food…Then around that we designed a really incredible, true Sicilian style pizza menu.”
Guests can find international foods and treats at the market portion of ENO to take home, like chocolates, pastas, olive and truffle oils from Italy and more. ENO’s market is designed to provide options for guests at the Del’s villas and locals to be able to take home high quality ingredients to cook a nice meal in their own kitchens, as well as items perfect for a picnic on the beach, bay, and other spots around the island. “Also, we’re trying to offer something to the local community,” said Peroutka, “where they can come and find a selection that they maybe won’t find at a regular grocery store.”
Of the new patio for the pizzeria restaurant portion of ENO, Peroutka says it exemplifies the European dolce vita atmosphere.
Already Peroutka has noticed guest favorites from the new menus. “At Sun Deck definitely one of our top sellers is our incredible Del Burger that really a great burger – a double cheeseburger on a beautiful brioche bun…The octopus that we serve up there is incredible, we have a really nice vegan mezze platter that is based on an edamame hummus that has fresh vegetable and falafel.” Those are just a few crowd pleasers and favorites.
“All the pizzas in ENO are really great, again it’s a true Sicilian – it’s a very thin crust with big air pockets in the crust that makes for a really nice light pizza.” One of Peroutka’s personal favorites from ENO is the Bianca, a white sauce pizza with rendered pancetta, green olives, and arugula on top that’s been tossed in lemon juice and sesame seed oil.
Both of these restaurants have outdoor seating to accommodate diners safely right now where they can enjoy a meal right off the beach as the sun sets on the water. While sit-down dining may be subject to change with the county’s coronavirus cases, take out and ENO’s market offer equally enticing options for guests and locals.
For those looking to get a taste of the new dishes available at ENO Market & Pizzeria and Sun Deck, you can currently make a reservation for outdoor seating (weather permitting) Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 9 p.m. at ENO, and at the Sun Deck, Sunday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Takeout is also available from ENO Monday-Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 12 to 9 p.m. with ENO’s market also open daily from 6 a.m. to midnight.
To stay up to date on dining availability and events, you can visit the Del’s website at https://hoteldel.com/restaurant-coronado/.