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FIRST LOOK: Decoy Dockside

San Marcos gets an ambitious, two-story gastro-lodge on the lake


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“San Marcos: The New Dining Hot Spot!” is not a headline anyone has, nor will, write. North County inland has long had more places that grow food than good restaurants that serve it. But today, with the opening of Decoy Dockside, that changes a little bit.

Decoy is the new two-story, lake-view restaurant and bar concept from Eat.Drink.Sleep., the hospitality company behind JRDN and Cannonball. It’s a pretty stunning part of the rehab of the Lakehouse Hotel & Resort at Lake San Marcos. Overseeing the “great outdoors” dining concept for both floors is chef Danilo Tangalin, most recently with JRDN. The 1,000 square-foot, indoor-outdoor bottom floor is called Dock Bar, where lake people can drink some craft cocktails and beers, plus casual bites like burgers, duck meatball banh mis, and ostrich empanadas (anyone who’s driven to the Wild Animal Park has seen the ostriches on local farms).

The 8,000 square-foot dining room upstairs will focus on freshwater fish and game, largely cooked in a wood-burning oven. Elk osso bucco will come over risotto and topped with mint salsa verde, while the whole roasted lavender duck is designed to share. There’s also a wood-and-bronze private dining room.

The upstairs has fireplaces, images of wildlife, lake-faring paraphernalia, green velvet booths, and large-scale landscapes of forests and California redwoods. Blue velvet chairs dot the dining room. Over 300 buoys hang overhead in an art installation by Hollis Brand Culture, who helped create the space with Eat.Drink.Sleep. director of design, Anthony Garcia.

Enough words. Please enjoy the first known photos of Decoy Dockside below.

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