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Xperience Adds Sol To Irvine Campus

Xperience Restaurant Group Inc. opened its newest Sol Mexican Cocina location on March 24 at the Centerview office campus near John Wayne Airport.

The opening marks the Cypress-based company’s first restaurant opening of 2022. The opening is also the first Sol location to open under the ownership of Xperience, which with nearly $160 million in systemwide sales ranked No. 12 on the Business Journal’s most recent list of largest OC-based restaurant chains.

Xperience’s portfolio includes the Acapulco and El Torito Grill chains, along with the Las Brisas restaurant in Laguna Beach. It currently has 61 restaurants under its umbrella.

Xperience acquired the Sol restaurant chain in 2019, along with its sister chain Solita, and plans to expand both brands across Orange County, according to company officials.

CEO Randy Sharpe has a goal to have 100 restaurants under Xperience’s belt, and expects 70 spots in operation by the end of the year. Another Sol location in Huntington Beach is currently under construction.

The company adapted in the pandemic to emphasize safety, but didn’t alter its menu, he told the Business Journal.

“The guests choose you and remember you for a reason,” Sharpe said at the opening of the Irvine spot.

“We said, ‘Let’s make sure we’re around for the end of this.’”

Irvine Location

After facing delays from its planned opening last fall, this is the second Sol restaurant in Orange County, following a spot along Mariner’s Mile in Newport Beach.

The Irvine location replaces the company’s former El Torito Grill on 1910 Main St., which is part of the larger Irvine Concourse campus that runs between Von Karman Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard.

The Centerview complex has other new restaurant openings in the works after undergoing a major revamp the past few years under the ownership of Emmes and Oaktree.

Sharpe said the Centerview location will be Sol’s largest location with 135 employees.

The Baja-inspired restaurant holds 11,277 square feet of space, including a 2,861-square-foot patio that can seat 100 guests. Three banquet rooms are also available for booking special events and private dining.

The restaurant “is going to become part of the fabric of the local landscape. We see it as an extension of Sol Newport Beach which has become a thriving part of the neighborhood scene,” VP of marketing Giovanni Salvino-Prada said in a statement. 

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