Like the hottest Hollywood club, too, has the VIP treatment, only it's not for stars and power-brokers. You have to be a card-carrying fisherman for the discounts and off-menu specialties.
Taco Surf CEO Todd Maris has had fishing in his blood since his youth. Fishing has been such a big part of his life that he wanted to give something back to it.
That's when Maris came up with the ‘Hook It and Cook It’ idea. Bring your catch in every other Tuesday to the Sunset Beach location, and Taco Surf will cook your catch, and supply the tortillas, chips, salsa, and all the fixings.
“All we ask if that our patrons pay for beverages and tip the waitress,” said Maris.
The idea came from an angler who caught a 30-pound halibut on the boat Options out of Pierpoint Landing in Long Beach recently. He called the restaurant and asked if they would cook it up for him, and the restaurant decided to do it. Since then, the idea has caught fire.
“We had over 30 fishermen here with fish last Tuesday,” said Maris. “Hook It and Cook It nights are really becoming popular.”
“There is something really appealing about getting in from a fishing trip with your fresh catch, taking it to Taco Surf and relaxing while they prepare your feast,” said Don Ashley, owner of Pierpoint Landing. “Count me in on that one.”
But Maris wasn't finished giving back to anglers. Visit any Taco Surf restaurant, show your fishing license and get a 15% discount.
Captain Larry Moore is a regular at Taco Surf. “I had dinner at Taco Surf with 7 friends the other day and showed my fishing license when the bill showed up. Let me tell you; it was a heck of a savings.”
Maris was born in Norwalk and quickly took to fishing. At the age of four, he was catching tomcod on the Annie B Barge in LA Harbor. He moved on to surf and pier fishing and then graduated to ½ day boats. Still feeling a need to fill his insatiable appetite for fishing, Maris continues his fishing adventures today fishing in Mexico, Alaska, and the islands of the Southern California coast.
On selected nights, he joins a group of private boaters from Performance Tackle in Los Alamitos to fish the Long Beach break wall. Maris fishes plastic lures called swimbaits and on most nights, is able to catch and release a limit of bass (10 bass per angler). Last week, Maris’ friend Mike Collado caught and released an 8-pound monster calico bass.
“We are all committed to caring for the resource we are so blessed to have,” said Maris. “That’s why we return most of what we catch.”
Maris also works closely with his favorite charity Olive Crest, an organization working to transform the lives of abused and neglected children. “It’s just the right thing to do,” said Maris.
Taco Surf opened its first restaurant in 1988 in Seal Beach. They now have locations in Los Alamitos, Dana Point, Belmont Shore and Sunset Beach with plans for a new restaurant this summer in Westminster.
“I am just happy to have a business where I can acknowledge the sport of fishing as a serious endeavor that should be respected,” said Maris. “The great thing about fishing is that you can do it for as long as you’re alive,” said Maris. “One thing is for sure, I will be fishing until the day I die."