New restaurant brings communal eating to Millenia

Common Theory Public House, founded in 2014 in San Diego, held its ribbon cutting for Common Theory Public House Otay Ranch on March 19, with co-founders Joon Lee and Cris Liang. Of Chines heritage, Liang was born in Mexico, and after immigrating to the U.S., attended Bonita High School. Lee is of Korean heritage and attended Eastlake High School.

Both attended UC San Diego together.

Common Theory was created by the two friends’ common bonds. Delicious food, quality craft beers, and making memories, it offers a rotating selection of more than 30 craft beers at one time, coming from the most popular breweries in San Diego County, throughout California, and the U.S. Its kitchen is the symbolic culture clash of Korean, Chinese, Mexican, and American background, demonstrating the one common story of many of what it means to be Californian.

At the ribbon cutting, Chula Vista Mayor John McCann, Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce CEO Marcy Weaver and Thalia Lopez attended the celebration.

“Our objective from the beginning was to build a warm, friendly space where everyone is welcome. A place where there’s always something amazing available to eat and drink to suit anyone,” said Lee. “We finally have brought our communal style back to our hometown for even more to enjoy.”

The new Common Theory is located at 1980 Optima St. in the Millenia community, adjacent to Otay Ranch Town Center. The 4,500-square-foot restaurant resides alongside Metro Park, which is labeled P5 on the Millenia map.

Common Theory, also known to regulars simply as “Common”, has a capacity of 128 with table, booth, high-top, and bar stool seating. The restaurant’s centerpiece is a 26-seat communal table, which can be divided up into smaller groups with planters. The are 18 seats at the bar and four big-screen televisions for game viewing. Also above the bar is 3D wall art of a dragon that was commissioned by San Diego artist Christopher Konecki.
Beverage Director Chris Lee, who also curates the drink menu at Lee’s and Liang’s speakeasy Realm of the 52 Remedies at the Convoy Common Theory, has 30 beers on tap with a focus on local breweries. The current tap menu includes two selections from acclaimed Russian River Brewing: Velvet Glow Helles Lager and Russian River Porter. Bottled beers, wine, and low ABV beverages are also available.

Executive Chef Steven Lona presents a menu that is roughly 80 percent the same as the Convoy location. Highlights include shareables Duck Fat Fries, Crispy Chicken Wings, Blistered Shishito Peppers, and Chinese Sausage Flatbread. Featured entrées are Bulgogi Cheesesteak with Korean-style marinated beef, CT Burger, Wagyu Ribeye Burger, Szechuan Hot-Friend Chicken, Pork Sisig Rice Bowl, and Kimchi Fried Rice.

Traditional American gastropub fare is also on the menu. Pretzel balls, hummus platter, crispy calamari, salads, and other flatbreads. Lona will soon add Mexican-inspired dishes.

“No matter your heritage, we all have a common desire for good food, good drinks, and to be surrounded by good people,” said Liang. “Our new Common is a comforting venue that we’re confident all will enjoy.”