Sogno Toscano Bringing “Tuscan Dreams” To Santa Monica

Something fresh and new is coming to the tiny space at 1512 Montana Ave. in Santa Monica.  Windowpaper covering the front lets us know that Sogno Toscano is moving in.  And what is that?  While the name might not be immediately familiar, they are the “USA’s largest Italian online food store”.  Maybe you’ve even spotted their delivery trucks ferrying their wide selection of Italian meats, cheeses, pasta, and oils.  While they currently have a coffee and wine bar in New York, this location is being described as a “lifestyle cafe, wine bar, & specialty market”.  (Thanks Kurt!)

Japonica Now Open In El Segundo

Excited readers have been letting me know that there’s a great new sushi/ramen place open in El Segundo.  While I’m a little late in the game in reporting this, Japonica is now open at 229 Main St.  Japonica has two other South Bay locations and offers a solid menu of Japanese favorites such as sashimi, tempura, bowls, and rolls.

Ugo Opening A Trattoria In Downtown Santa Monica

The space at 1237 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica has seen a number of eateries come and go.  Years ago it was a Greek restaurant, then a BurgerIM, and most recently, a hot chicken place was slated to move in.  But apparenty that fell through…  Italian specialists Ugo Cafe has long had a relationship with Downtown Santa Monica.  Originally, they had a shop in Santa Monica Place.  Then they moved to 1400 Third Street Promenade.  And now, they are opening a new location at 1237 3rd St.  As you can see, the sign displays the new business as Ugo An Italian Trattoria.  A spokesperson assured me that this will be their second location in Santa Monica (and third in total), and whereas their current Promenade location is more of a “grab and go” concept, the new location will be more of a “fancy” sit-down restaurant.

LAX75 Coming To Culver City…

People are demanding answers after an ABC application went up on the front of the beloved theater most recently home to ArcLight at 9500 Culver Blvd. in Culver City.  Here’s what I can find out so far…  It appears that Amazon is taking over the historic theater.  And there will be food as well.  The ABC app lists the name of the new business as LAX75, and the primary owner is listed as multinational foodservice company The Compass Group.  There are a lot of rumors swirling around, so if you have more concrete info, please pass it along. (Thanks John!)

Erratum: This story originally reported the new restaurant as French 75.  Thanks to all the readers who took the time to let me know. 

Lotus Dim Sum Dumpling House Opens Today…

It was back in March of this year that I told you about what was going to fill the cavernous hole left by the shocking disappearance of P.F. Chang’s on the corner of Wilshire and 4th in Santa Monica.  Wasting no time whatsoever, Lotus Dim Sum Dumpling House has fully moved into the location and is throwing open their doors today, July 27th at 12:00pm.  Along with recently-opened popular Osteria Del Fornaio on the opposite corner, Lotus is bringing a much-needed injection to a struggling Downtown Santa Monica dining scene that was hit hard by pandemic closures.  We wish them the best of luck.  You can check out Lotus’ menu here.

Sauced BBQ & Spirits Bringing Axe Throwing To El Segundo

Yes, you read that headline right.  There’s a new pork purveyor coming to the former home of Salt Creek Grille at 2015 East Park Pl in Plaza El Segundo.  With a smattering of locations throughout CA, Sauced BBQ & Spirits is promising us “authentic slow-cooked Southern BBQ”, but that’s not all…  We’re also being promised “axe throwing” at this location, which you’ll just have to read more about here.  And yes, you can drink alcohol while throwing axes because, well, why not?

Dunkin’ Donuts Comes To Westwood Village

The troubled corner space at 1001 Gayley in Westwood Village was most recently and briefly the home to juice shop Qwench, and before that it was a branch of Coffee Bean.  Now a reader (Thanks Kiko!) wrote to tell me that a new coffee joint is taking over to location.  It appears that national chain Dunkin’ Donuts will soon be dishing breakfast pastries and sugary coffee drinks to the good people of Westwood.

Kitchen United Mix Bringing New Food Options To Downtown Santa Monica

A reader (Thanks Tom!) noticed new options coming to Downtown Santa Monica’s outpost of the rapidly expanding ghost kitchen enterprise Kitchen United Mix at 1315 Third St Promenade.  This location (formerly The Gallery Food Hall) has had a troubled past, and has seen many eateries come and go.  According to a banner on the front, we can soon expect take-away food from popular chains than previously were not easily accessed by the beach community: Chili’s To-Go, Maggiano’s, and It’s Just WingsChili’s To-Go‘s website says that they will open on August 9th.

Fat Sal’s Opening In Venice Beach Soon…

Since like many locals in Summer I avoid Venice Beach, I appreciate a reader (Thanks Billy!) taking the time to let us all know that a sandwich shop that inspires cult-like devotion is opening a location there.  Fat Sal’s Deli is replacing burger joint Simmzy’s at 37 Washington Blvd, near the corner of Pacific Ave.  Fat Sal’s has 6 other locations (including Saudi Arabia) and appears close to opening this location, which means that beachgoers will soon be lined up for deep-fried mozzarella sticks on top of mouth-watering sandwiches.

Chin Chin Bids Ciao To Beverly Hills

I’m a little late in reporting this, but I’ve been hearing from shocked readers that Chin Chin has closed its doors at 206 S Beverly Dr. in Beverly Hills.  I’m not entirely sure what happened, but the Asian-ish eatery has been a staple of the Beverly Hills dining scene for 25 years.  One reader (Thanks Steve!) claimed it was due to leasing issues, and noted that the nearby branch in Brentwood is getting a much-needed scrub-up so don’t count Chin Chin out yet.  It appears that the space is already leased, and as always, I’ll keep an eye out to see what may develop.

Update:  While I have not confirmed this, a reader (Thanks Robin!) reports that this will be a branch of San Diego’s own Parakeet Cafe.  

The Original Thai Dishes Gets A New Home In Santa Monica

Ever since Argentinian steak house Malbec vacated the cavernous space at 2628 Wilshire, I’ve been keeping my eye on the location to see what would develop.  Leased notices went up a while ago, but I could detect no movement… until now.  An ABC application recently appeared on the front, spilling the beans that The Original Thai Dishes is setting up housekeeping (as opposed to the unrelated Thai Dishes on Broadway).  According to a spokesperson, this not a second location for the classic Thai eatery, but rather a move from their current space at 19th and Wilshire. 

Panini Kabob Grill Coming To MDR

Don’t ever count out plucky Panini Kabob Grill.  While the chain has lost some prominent locations during The Pandemic (Santa Monica, Beverly Hills), they continue to open new ones.  A sharp-eyed reader (Thanks Jennifer!) spotted a nonresponsibility notice on the door of the empty storefront at 13455 Maxella #250, on the second floor of the Villa Marina Marketplace in Marina del Rey.  The notice lets us know that there’s a new Panini Kabob Grill on the way.  PKG prides itself on fresh Mediterranean fare produced daily in their “scratch kitchen”.  You can peruse their menu here.

Cluck & Blaze Landing In Hawthorne

There’s a banner hanging on the front of the space at 4850 Rosecrans Blvd. (corner of Inglewood Ave.) in Hawthorne, formerly home to a branch of Waba Grill.  The banner informs us that Cluck & Blaze is moving in.  C&B has two other locations (Long Beach, Glendale) and will soon be bringing “authentic Nashville-style hot chicken” to the good people toiling away in the nearby aerospace industries.

Supita Bringing Tarts To Sawtelle Japantown Soon…

Poke & Co went belly-up a while ago, leaving a gaping hole at 2010 Sawtelle Blvd.  That’s about to change.  There’s a hiring notice on the front door that lists the new tenant as Supita.  Their logo describes them as “tart specialists”.  Other than that, I can’t seem to locate much on the new treat shop.

Update:  I heard from the good people at Supita who asked me to pass along a link to their website.  We wish them the best of luck.

Tulsi Bringing Plant-based “Modern Indian” To Westwood Village

A sharp-eyed reader (Thanks Kiko!) noticed window paper up on the former home of Veggie Grill at 10916 Lindbrook in Westwood Village.  The paper promises us a branch of “modern fast-casual Indian eatery” Tulsi.  Tulsi has two other locations in LA (with the ambitious goal to eventually bring “Indian food into every neighborhood”) and offers a menu of plant-based faves including dosa, samosas, kathi rolls, dabeli, and even a few tacos.

Hermanito Coming To Santa Monica…

Some excellent sleuthing on the part of one of my readers (Thanks Helen!) uncovered the mystery of what has leased the former Swingers space at 802 Broadway (corner of Lincoln) in Santa Monica.  She was able to discover a municipal application that reveals the name of the new business.  Apparently, it is none other than a Sawtelle’s white-hot Mexican destination Hermanito.  And this guy’s company is doing the design and consulting.  Interesting…

Sweet Lily Bakery Expanding To Culver City

A reader (Thanks Andrew!) wrote to tell me that he had spotted window signs up in the space that formerly housed Yalla Mediterranean at 9516 Culver Blvd.  The signs let us know that Sweet Lily Bakery is settling in.  Sweet Lily currently has a location on Cahuenga, and is the dream of two people from France, Marine and Thibaut, the latter of whom won “Best chocolate eclair of Paris”.  Expect a solid menu of French favorites including pastries, cakes, sandwiches, tartines, and quiche.

The Upper Crust Pizzeria Coming To Brentwood

People were devastated when favorite neighborhood French charmer Belle Vie fell victim to the Pandemic.  According to new signs, the space will soon be a branch of up-and-coming pie joint The Upper Crust Pizzeria.  You may recall that before Belle Vie, this space was the home for 40 years of Divita’s Pizzeria, so I guess this is a bit of a full circle.  The Upper Crust has locations in Massachusetts and California and offers a menu of “sort of famous” pizza, wings, lasagna, and calzone.

American Deli Comes To Hawthorne

Good news aerospace people, a new dining option is landing at 13257 Hawthorne Blvd. in Hawthorne.  A branch of American Deli has settled in to the location.   American Deli boasts almost 200 locations, mostly in the American South, but also a couple here as well.  Their menu focuses on classic American food such as wings, reubens, burgers, and subs.  Expect an opening in a few days, according to a spokesperson.