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By Kristina Pritchett

The Shwack Cantina

1527 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente

The restaurant may be in San Clemente, but many Dana Point residents know the name. The Shwack Cantina, the second restaurant in the Shwack family, opened its doors along El Camino Real in July.

On Tuesday, customers sat along the bar, and open doors welcomed in the coastal breeze. Out on the patio, brightly colored pillows adorned a bench seat. Within ten minutes of the door opening, multiple customers walked in to try the new eatery.

Although Max Fisher, owner of the Shwack restaurants, grew up in Dana Point, he knew he wanted to expand his restaurants outside of the city. The location in San Clemente fit the Shwack atmosphere.

“Originally we were looking at a space up in the outlet mall,” Fisher said. “Going through the research, it didn’t fit Shwack’s vibe.”

That vibe—a surfing and family environment—is something Fisher has continued from the Dana Point location.

“It seemed like this would be a good fit, there’s a lot of families around here,” Fisher said.

Fisher said originally, he looked to open a cantina in Dana Point, but it wouldn’t have been under the Shwack name.

“But when we found this space, it made sense,” Fisher said.

Fisher said he enjoys seeing his Dana Point customers in San Clemente, and knows some regulars from San Clemente who can travel a little less distance.

“They like that it’s different food so they can go to both, and I like hearing that,” Fisher said.

The menu may be different, apart from the Shwack burger, but Fisher said they will continue to have fundraiser nights for organizations around the city.

In the future, Fisher hopes to have four or five locations in the coastal communities. But for now, he’s working full-time at the Cantina.

“I don’t pass up on opportunities,” Fisher said. “If something came up and it’s a good spot, we’d make it work.”

The restaurant opens daily at 11 a.m.

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