Ox & Sons To Take Over Cafe Montana In SM…

You may have been wondering what was going on over at neighborhood fave Cafe Montana at 1534 Montana Ave. in Santa Monica. Recently, they closed down.  Then a sign went up in the window that announced they were remodeling and promising to reopen soon.  That sign quickly disappeared.  Then came the black plastic covering the windows…  According to a source, Cafe Montana will not be reopening, ending a more than 20 year long run.  The space is being developed for a new venture, tentatively named Ox & Sons by businessman, restaurateur, and owner of Westside Rentals Mark Verge, who recently opened Art’s Table in Cafe Montana’s sister restaurant, the now-defunct Babalu.  No details on an opening date or menu, but I’m told the concept will be “high-end”.

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Get A Free Dessert This Tuesday AT Native Foods…

We all know that Thanksgiving can be hard on the turkeys.  Now you can help the pitiable poultry out:  This Tuesday, November 25th, when you buy a main, side, and drink at Native Foods, part of the proceeds will go to Farm Sanctuary, an animal advocacy group that maintains shelters for the birds.  For your kindness, Native Foods will give you a free dessert, their ginger snappy sandwich cookie.

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Basanti Tea Bar Landing Soon In Beverly Hills

Looks like a new venture, Basanti Tea Bar will soon be taking over the vacated Crumbs Bake Shop space at 9465 South Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills.  Not much out there yet except a still-developing website and job listings, but apparently the company was founded in Monterrey, Mexico in 2008.  Look for a menu of “more than 35 loose leaf tea mixes, exotic fruits and indulgent flavors”.  No word on an opening date, but I’ll keep checking…

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Koala Tapioca Opening (Very) Soon In Westwood…

Koala Tapioca is in their final build-out and hiring phase and is poised to open soon at 10965 Weyburn Ave. in Westwood. Created by two UCLA alums, this is their first foray into brick-and-mortar after beginning in a truck named Koala Tea.  Look for a menu of icy drinks, boba, and street food with strong Asian influences that you can read more about here. 

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Hillstone Restaurant Group Expands Into Montecito

It wasn’t that long ago that an old-timey nursery sat at 1255 Coast Village Road in posh Montecito, a relic of the now-tony street’s utilitarian past that has disappeared to accommodate the patrons of estates worth millions just a stone’s throw away.  The nursery was demolished to make space for a new development that will house a branch of LA-based Hillstone Restaurant Group (Houston’s, South Beverly Grill, Gulfstream, Bandera), according to the ABC application posted outside.  This will be a prominent national chain presence in the sleepy seaside town known for its fiercely local and independent restaurant scene.  And while I can confirm neither an opening date nor the exact branch of the HRG, rumor has it that the new venue will be an R+D Kitchen.

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