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Finney’s stepping into iconic White House next summer

By Diane Armitage

“The day I heard the White House in Laguna Beach became available, I dropped everything I was doing and drove to Laguna,” said Brad Finefrock, the business development guy behind the growing Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen brand.  
       “Are you kidding me? The White House? My twin brother, Greg (founder of Finney’s), and I spent plenty of time at the White House in our formidable 20s. It’s the greatest location in one of the finest beach towns around. 

“We were standing there on the patio trying to peek in, and the owner, Jules Marine, walked up and asked if he could help us. I said, ‘We want to rent your place.’ It wasn’t even a question for us,” noted Finefrock.

Finney's White House

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Photo by Diane Armitage

After closing in 2019, the fabled White House of Laguna Beach has a new tenant: Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen

That first chance meeting in March has led to the culmination of a long-term agreement between Marine and Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen, the famously popular American tavern that first set up shop in Westlake Village and has since opened in Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Porter Ranch and Burbank.

A man on a mission for memorable tavern food

Brad’s twin, Greg Finefrock (pronounced FinneyFrock) has been devoted to restaurant development for 25 years. Initially in franchise development for Baja Fresh and The Counter Burger Restaurant, Greg learned every aspect of operations while mulling the idea of his own concept. Finally, he planted a flag of his own with Finney’s Crafthouse in Westlake Village in 2016. 

Since then, it’s only gotten better. 

Finney's brothers

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Photo by Diane Armitage

Finney’s management (L-R), Founder Greg Finefrock, Executive Chef Eric Bosrau and Director of Business Development Brad Finefrock

Thanks to the talents of Executive Chef Eric Bosrau, Finney’s features “upscale cooking” in a casual atmosphere, with emphasis on an inventive array of from-scratch appetizers and shareables, gourmet burgers, flatbread pizzas, wings, beer, beer and more craft beer. 

Typically offering at least 30 taps, Finney’s focuses on local beers around each restaurant’s location. 

“At least two-thirds of our beer menu is always focused on local beers,” said Brad. 

“That, coupled with our craft cocktails and this rather crazy addictive food menu, we’re really looking forward to welcoming Laguna locals and visitors next summer,” he added. 

130 seats

The Finney’s team of architects has joined forces with Skendarian and contractors already engaged in the renovation to keep the momentum rolling. Once the “shell work” is completed, the new tenant plans to pull building permits in January with a five-month project buildout to follow. 

Last week, Laguna’s Planning Commission approved the request for 130 seats for both indoor and patio use. 

Finney’s will be removing the dance floor and live entertainment aspect but will be incorporating all the old millwork, black-and-white photos and more to pay reverent homage to the White House’s storied history.

While Planning Commission members were familiar with the popular Finney’s concept, it’s assuring to note that Julian and his wife, Julie, made a single day’s trek north to four of Finney’s locations. That evening, Jules called Brad to say, “We want to have a Finney’s in the White House.”

“We love every location we choose for Finney’s,” said Brad. “But this opportunity in Laguna’s former White House is quite an honor. You just don’t get many chances to take on a legend like this.”

Breaking News:
Oliver’s Osteria receives nod from Michelin

 On Wednesday this week, the revered Michelin Guide announced that our own Oliver’s Osteria in Laguna Canyon has achieved the well-deserved “Bib Gourmand” category. Congratulations to Chef Erik De Marchi and his team! 

Chef Erik De Marchi

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Courtesy of Oliver’s Osteria

At the helm of Oliver’s Osteria, Chef/Owner Erik De Marchi celebrates a “Bib Gourmand” award from the Michelin Guide

In efforts to broaden its appeal, the Michelin Guide, first established in 1926, recently added the Bib Gourmand category for stellar restaurant entities that “serve great food at reasonable prices.”

Nearby San Juan Capistrano’s Heritage Barbecue was also notified of a Bib Gourmand award. (I’ve been there and, yes, it’s fabulous). 

The Bib Gourmand is one level below the Michelin 1-star designation and offers new visibility for restaurants that can eventually find themselves awarded a touted Michelin star.

Last year, the Michelin Guide took a hiatus because of COVID, but is releasing its 2021 list of 1-star, 2-star and 3-star winners next Tuesday, Sept 28. 

Oliver’s Osteria is at 853 Laguna Canyon Road in the Hive next to the Sawdust Festival. Call for reservations at (949) 715-0261, or go online to their website.     

The best-selling author and blogger on The Best of Laguna Beach™, Diane Armitage is on an endless quest for the most imaginative adventures in Laguna’s restaurants, events, and lifestyle. Check out chef interviews, retail and restaurant news, and favorite events at and follow on Instagram @BestofLagunaBeach (look for Diane’s smiling face).


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