We had the good fortune of connecting with Ross Pangilinan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ross, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
It was always a dream to have my own restaurant. Before I opened my first restaurant in 2016 I worked for the Patina Group for a long time. In that time I started a family, got married and had two kids. It was a great job that offered excellent hours for a chef plus amazing benefits, but I was too comfortable and the timing to venture off on my own was right. Eventually, I felt ready for the next phase of my career and made the decision with a “now or never” mindset.
What should our readers know about your business?
I currently have three restaurants – Mix Mix Kitchen Bar in Santa Ana, Terrace by Mix Mix in South Coast Plaza, and ReMix Kitchen Bar in Long Beach. Shortly after opening, Mix Mix Kitchen Bar won best new restaurant in Orange County by Orange Coast Magazine and eventually received a Bib Gourmand from Michelin Guide in 2019. It’s my first restaurant and where many signature dishes were created. We had a tremendous team and we all wanted to grow and create new opportunities. Terrace by Mix Mix is located in the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. We opened Terrace by Mix Mix in a space that was once a pizza restaurant and we now have a great pizza program and an amazing outdoor Terrace with lush greenery everywhere – the perfect space for private parties. My broker who also became my partner in Terrace by Mix Mix was looking for the next thing and Long Beach Exchange was it. ReMix Kitchen Bar is the newest restaurant located at Long Beach Exchange in east Long Beach. We focus more on a global menu and tend to change the menu often. Getting to where I am now wasn’t easy but with time and hard work, things fell into place. Due to the pandemic we are going through the hardest thing I have ever experienced – no indoor dining, staff not wanting to work and so they can qualify for unemployment, everchanging safety regulations, etc. We are overcoming these challenges by constantly adapting. We’ve added more outdoor dining to ReMix and always are making new exciting dishes. We are doing some amazing tasting menu events at Terrace and have sold out every event. At Mix Mix, we are building a large outdoor seating area in the street to accommodate this new normal. We also do high-end offsite catering that has always been essential to our business. One major lesson I have learned is to surround yourself with genuine, like-minded people who will help the business grow and always work to understand the bigger picture.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If they had never been to my restaurants, of course we would go to all of them! Staying at the Hilton on PCH in Huntington Beach makes for beautiful and relaxing stay, plus it is central to my restaurants. We would also have to visit Hamamori in South Coast Plaza for their Omakase menu. As for LA, I always recommend eating at as many chef-driven, independent restaurants as possible. Lastly, I’d make sure we played at least three rounds of golf, definitely Westridge in La Habra, Los Coyotes in Fullerton and maybe Tustin Ranch. Overall, I’d make sure their visit was the perfect combination of amazing food, breathtaking SoCal scenery, plus hanging out great people who know how to make you laugh.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my partner at my first restaurant, Oscar Ramos. He is an entrepreneur who owns multiple LA-based businesses. Oscar believed in me since day one. Long before we opened the restaurant, he always told me if to reach out if I ever became interested in starting something new. I happened to run into him one random day when I was already looking into starting a restaurant and the rest is history.
Photos by John Pangilinan