People in Your Neighborhood: Scott Yeng of OB’s Holding Co. advances his family’s restaurateur success story
Scott Yeng’s path to restaurant success has been full of twists and turns, but the Ocean Beach resident and business owner has made quite a name for himself.
Yeng co-owns and operates The Holding Co., a funky and eclectic Mexican-Asian fusion restaurant, bar and music venue near the beach at 5046 Newport Ave. in OB.
Yeng says his upbringing in the restaurant industry has helped him keep his finger on the pulse of what guests want.
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The Yeng family fled Cambodia and ultimately spent six years in a refugee camp in Thailand. The family made it to the United States in 1991, settling in Ocean Beach.
“Upon moving here, my parents started working at and eventually bought OB Donuts,” Yeng said.
When he was old enough, Yeng, the youngest of three brothers, began working at the shop.
“My brothers taught me how to manage a team and create high-quality, consistent food, while my parents acted as my heart and brain,” he said.
Yeng recalls being among only a handful of Asian families in OB during his youth. In school, his classmates were in awe of the food he would take to school, he said.
“When I shared my lunch with other kids or had friends over after school, the comments were always the same: ‘This is freaking amazing,’” Yeng said.
When he got older, he said, food became his language of love, and he recognized that at the end of the day, most people want the same thing — “to delight our taste buds and explore the different possibilities of flavor combinations.”
With his brothers, Kyle and Steve, Yeng opened OB Noodle House at 2218 Cable St. in 2008. The restaurant was a quick success and was featured on Food Network’s “Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives.” The popularity sparked a second endeavor called OB Noodle House Bar 1502 at 4993 Niagara Ave.
When lines longer than a chow fun noodle started snaking around the corner of the Asian restaurant at 2218 Cable St. in Ocean Beach, the Yeng brothers knew it was time to scope out a second location — and perhaps even a third — to keep their loyal customers well-fed, entertained and happy.
“Over a decade ago at OB Noodle House, we began selling peanut butter whiskey, which quickly became a hit and established a local and national fan base,” Yeng said.
The popularity of the in-house whiskey prompted Yeng’s brother Steve to dive deep into creating the brand Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey.
As the years progressed and Yeng became more and more confident in his restaurant knowledge, he knew it was time for a new venture.
The idea for The Holding Co. first came when Yeng was 21. Fresh to the nightlife scene, “I soon realized how difficult and tedious it was to coordinate with everyone on a place to meet up, then find a place to have dinner, then decide where to end the night,” he said.
He wanted a one-stop shop for a night out — “a place where people can find great food, great entertainment and a great bar,” Yeng said.
Now, The Holding Co. is in full swing under Yeng’s leadership.
The three-level establishment opened in 2019 after a long building remodel. Each level has its own purpose, Yeng said. The rooftop offers signature cocktails and views of surfers and sunsets. The middle floor has the restaurant, and the main floor regularly hosts live music.
“Instead of looking for an Uber to your next destination, simply just go up or down a level for an entirely different vibe,” Yeng said.
“I’ve worked with Scott for a number of years,” General Manager Alex Glanzman said. “He really treats his team as a family, and that’s why so many of us have been with The Holding Co. since the beginning, and some even longer with OB Noodle House.
“This sense of family that he has created extends to the greater OB community as well. He takes great pride in creating a top-notch dining experience for customers. ... His restaurants are more than places to grab a bite or a drink; they are places for people to come together and make memories.”
The Holding Co.’s Mexican-Asian food offerings are driven largely by Yeng’s love of sharing culture.
“I focus on all sorts of Asian cuisines, and my mother’s cooking has always been very influential in my decisions as a restaurateur,” Yeng said. “Growing up as a minority, this was a way for me to break down stereotypes and combat discrimination while also introducing my friends to a whole new world they had never experienced.”
With success comes challenges. Trial and error are part of the role, especially when it comes to restaurants, Yeng said. Initially, finding passionate and dedicated employees was a problem, but now Yeng said he’s confident in his staff members’ ability to serve their customers.
“I am proud to say that The Holding Co. has retained almost every single staff member that started with us when we first opened,” he said. “The formula is simple: Treat your team like family. As owners, we are more than just the people who sign their paychecks. We are their mentors, their brothers-in-arms, their therapists and often their last resort.”
Moving forward, Yeng hopes The Holding Co. can be known as more than a bar or restaurant. “We would like to be known as the place that hosts everything from local up-and-coming bands to big-name national acts to having the best venue for fundraising,” he said.
“As a family who has received enormous generosity from the local community, we strive to do what we can to give back to the people who made us who we are today.”
For more information about The Holding Co., visit theholdingcompanyob.com.