When Dan Tapia left Bouchon to open his own business, he had two things in mind: first, his business would encourage hiring wounded veterans who otherwise couldn’t find work, and second, that he’d open a cocktail bar. But then he found a hidden gem sitting at 743 E 4th Street and immediately changed his mind about the latter. The building’s exposed trusses and bright open windows inspired the theme of 4th and Olive: Alsatian.

Here’s a brief geography refresher for you, Alsace is a historical region in northeastern France bordering Germany and Switzerland and reflects a mix of those cultures. Alsatian cuisine has tastes of both German and French cuisine and is generally hearty and filling, and is complemented by a good dose of local beer or wine.

4th and Olive is proudly a veteran-owned and staffed operation, Tapia is a Navy veteran and recovering quadriplegic himself and is eager to make accommodations for injured veterans to work at the restaurant. They currently have a special setup for one of their bartenders, an injured vet who Tapia met during pain treatment at the VA Hospital and only has the use of one arm.

As gastropubs kept opening up around him, Tapia knew he had hit on something. “There’s more food out there than burgers and truffle mac” Tapia noted, “And more beer than IPAs, too.” It’s true, the menu has entrees from venison sausage to coq a riesling and not an IPA in sight – this isn’t your standard New American fare that’s so common at new restaurants currently.

The pork shoulder chop from Marin Sun Farms in Northern California is served with roasted apple, fennel, cipollini, mustard seed and brown butter and just melts in your mouth. As we heard one nearby diner exclaim, “I didn’t even know you could get food like this in Long Beach.”

4th and Olive is in soft opening mode for dinner only until mid December when they plan to open for brunch as well. Upcoming plans include a rooftop hydroponic garden so they can grow their own cabbage for sauerkraut, serving beers tabletop in pressurized uKegs by GrowlerWerks, and the addition an Alsatian signature dish: Choucroute garnie: homemade sauerkraut with sausages and other salted meats and charcuterie, and potatoes.

When asked how he’s liking Long Beach, Tapia answered, “We have all the amenities of Los Angeles without the jerk component. If I could spend the rest of my life anywhere, this is where I’d like to be.”