By Keith King
It’s Friday evening and you and your friends are trying to find a place to grab a bite to eat, but you’re tired of the same options every single time. This small decision can’t turn into quite the conundrum if you’re seeking creativity. Chef Geoff Cole just may have the solution to your problem.
The Admiral’s Experience Restaurant & Catering opened this past June. Located at 7407 Jackson Drive, Cole’s restaurant provides fine dining, hosts special events, and offers a unique taste to San Diego.
When I went to check out the restaurant, I couldn’t help but to notice the diversity in the menu. The menu featured a variety of dishes like Filet Mignon, Caribbean dishes such as Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Italian dishes like Chicken Mushroom Marsala, Vegan and gluten-free dishes, desserts like inflamed Salted Caramel Creme Brulee, and Dulce De Leche Brownie. The Admiral’s experience has by far one of the most in depth menus that I have seen at a restaurant.
Cole is a former 1st Class Culinary Specialist of the U.S. Navy. During his time there, he often found himself cooking meals for Captains, Commanders, and even Admirals at private events.
“That’s where I came up with the name ‘The Admiral experience’,” said Cole. “I wanted to bring that feel, and service to the people.”
While stationed in Italy, he found himself at a point where he felt he needed to change direction in his life.
“While overseas I was going through a time period where I was depressed, and the military didn’t allow me to go home and handle my personal business. After that I told myself that I wasn’t going to reenlist, and I vowed to put my life in my own hands.”
As an outlet Cole began cooking more and posting the videos on YouTube.
“I turned my depression into motivation and before I knew it, I was getting 10,000 views for my videos. It got to a point where another chef all the way in Alaska threatened to sue me for using a name similar to his. That’s when I knew that I must be doing something right if I’m getting someone’s attention all the way in Alaska.”
Cole eventually separated from the military to pursue his goal of being an entrepreneur and Chef. In 2014 Chef Geoff began catering, but getting started didn’t occur without any obstacles for him.
“It was a big obstacle getting everything going, nobody wanted to invest in me. I don’t know too many black catering companies that offer gourmet foods, or contemporary sit down restaurants, and that’s the experience I wanted to provide, but nobody wanted to invest into the food industry”
After doing some research he found that as a veteran, he had the opportunity to have priority on government contracts, so he began to grind in order to fund his dream.
“Once I found this out, I started my own janitorial company, and I began using the money from the contracts to fund my restaurant. I had bad credit, and nobody to invest in me, I had to figure out a way to get it on my own, and this was it.”
A couple friends and myself stopped by the restaurant on a Thursday to watch a football game. On Thursdays, if you wear a jersey you receive 10% off of your bill, on the weekly daily specials.
The atmosphere was real laid back with a good crowd. After going back and forth with myself debating would I order my usual hot wings and beer to watch football, I decided to try the New Orleans Shrimp & Grits, when my food came out it took one taste to figure out that I had made the right decision. All of us left feeling full, and satisfied, by the food, service, and overall establishment.
When asked about his vision for the next level Geoff told me that his goal is to start a franchise.
“Something like Benihana, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, The Cheesecake Factory. I don’t just want to work in my business, eventually I want to step out so I can work on my business and focus on the growth of my company.”
The next time you’re looking to indulge in something a little different, this just might be the establishment for you.