Longtime Downtown San Juan Capistrano restaurant Cedar Creek Inn is under new ownership and will eventually get a new name.
Orange County restaurateur David Wilhelm is the new owner and confirmed the shift in leadership with an email announcement sent on May 18. Wilhelm purchased the eatery with his friend and partner, Gregg Solomon.
Wilhelm said the previous owners, which included Sally Cochran, contacted him years ago about wanting to sell the restaurant. Rumors of a change in ownership have swirled in the San Juan community for some time.
Wilhelm had been scouting a location for a new restaurant for some time and said the Cedar Creek Inn location is a terrific spot—not to mention all the business activity percolating in Downtown San Juan.
“I just felt like it was only going to get better as a location,” he said.
According to his bio, Wilhelm has also opened and operated other notable Orange County restaurants, including Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern in Dana Point.
The Cedar Creek Inn name will remain for the rest of 2023, but Wilhelm plans to temporarily shut down the restaurant at the beginning of 2024 to prepare for a rebranding.
The restaurant will eventually be renamed Tavern at the Mission to match his other existing restaurant, Tavern House Kitchen + Bar in Newport Beach. Cedar Creek Inn is across the street from Mission San Juan Capistrano and the boutique hotel Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano.
The shift is “necessary,” Wilhelm said.
“They had a great run,” he said in reference to Cedar Creek Inn’s previous operations. “Concepts have a shelf life.”
Cedar Creek Inn’s location in San Juan opened in 1996, after a Laguna Beach location was started earlier in 1989.
Some changes to Cedar Creek Inn’s menu and website have already been implemented, including updated drink and wine offerings.
Implementing such changes will likely be challenging since some people might “inevitably” mention a favorite item taken off the menu, Wilhelm said.
However, other customers have already given favorable responses to new dishes introduced, he said.
The new owners also plan to add live entertainment for the restaurant’s patio area.
Visit cedarcreeksjc.com for more information.
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