The historic Top Gun House, nestled within the Mission Pacific Hotel in the burgeoning beachside destination of Oceanside, CA, opens to the public as the home of The HIGH-Pie. Developed by chef and restaurateur Tara Lazar of F10 Hospitality [behind Palm Springs hot spots such as Cheeky’s, Birba, Toucans and others], The HIGH-Pie is named after its signature creation, a sweet hand pie that is filled with seasonal, locally picked fruits. After more than a year of product development and preview tastings, The HIGH-Pie makes its brick-and-mortar debut at The Top Gun House, and the opening of the house marks the completion of San Diego’s newest beachfront destination.
Tara Lazar is a chef, restaurateur, hotelier behind F10 Hospitality, the leading hospitality group she founded and leads in the Coachella Valley. She opened her first restaurant, the popular casual breakfast spot Cheeky’s to much acclaim in 2008, before growing her hospitality empire with the opening of four additional Palm Springs concepts: al fresco Italian restaurant Birba; Mr. Lyon’s Steakhouse; cocktail bar Seymour’s; and tiki-inspired lounge Toucan’s. Lazar also opened and runs Palm Springs’ boutique 34-room hotel called Alcazar. Last Spring, Lazar expanded for the first time outside of Palm Springs when she partnered with the highly anticipated new Mission Pacific Hotel and Seabird Resort properties in Oceanside to open High/Low, a seasonal produce-driven restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and cocktails, located within the Mission Pacific Hotel. She’s continuing the partnership to bring The HIGH-Pie to the Top Gun House. Together with the Mission Pacific Hotel and its sister property The Seabird Resort, The Top Gun House launch marks the formal grand opening of San Diego County’s largest beachfront development in 50 years.
INTRODUCING THE HIGH-PIE:
The HIGH-Pie menu is centered around its namesake, an individual hand pie filled with compote made from seasonal, locally picked fruits, such as All-American favorites like apple and cherry. The menu also features a creative take on mini pie a-la-mode, which gets filled with housemade mascarpone ice cream, fried, and then baked to order. Each hand pie is served on a popsicle stick (ideal for enjoying beachside and on the boardwalk) and can be ordered with a choice of dipping sauces: Charlie’s Chocolate, Government Cheese, Lemon Curd and Sea Salt Caramel. As a nod to its historic home, HIGH-Pie packaging, designed in collaboration with LFNCO studio, has a 1950’s military design, with vintage composition and red, white, and blue Americana color palettes, and to-go offerings are bundled into creatively designed house-shaped collectible boxes in packs of three, 12 or 24. To complement the pies, the bakery serves hot coffee alongside Apple Kombucha, Fizzy Cherry Cider, and Buzz The Tower, a New Orleans style iced coffee with sweet milk.
RENOVATING THE HISTORIC TOP GUN HOUSE:
While the 500 square-foot house was originally built in 1887 by Dr. Henry Graves, it’s famed for its use in the popular 1986 movie Top Gun where it was the oceanfront residence of Tom Cruise’s co-star Kelly McGillis. After falling into disrepair, the house was painstakingly rehabilitated to historic standards by ownership group S.D. Malkin Properties, Inc., with the design support of Nicolò G. Bini at LINE architecture and under the guidance of the Oceanside Historical Society and Save Our Heritage Organization. The Top Gun House was relocated from its original address at Pacific Street and Seagaze Drive to the beachfront courtyard of Mission Pacific Hotel, where its structure, design details, and finishes were returned to their original glory, and is easily accessible to the public, overlooking the Oceanside Pier.
As the new home of The HIGH-pie, The Top Gun House maintains its original blue Victorian cottage exterior, with billowing sheer curtains on the windows lining an outdoor porch with a hanging swing. Rather than modernize the space, the design team embraced a nostalgic Americana feel evoked by both the movie and history of the house. The renovated interior is adorned with bold, retro signage, Victorian era panels and an upholstered fireplace, as well as fun design touches such as Top Gun set photos, historical imagery of both Oceanside and the Graves House, vintage furniture and more. The serving counter has deli-style display cases and shelves, and pies are featured on a Willy-Wonka-esque conveyor belt. Directly outside sits a vintage scooter style motorcycle delivery cart to deliver HIGH-pies to guests at the neighboring hotels.