Happy New Year From Toddrickallen!

At this time of year, I like to say a heart-felt thank you to all who read and support Toddrickallen.  You are my inspiration.  As we look to the New Year and New Decade, expect a few changes to this site, as well as to the capricious Westside food scene.  In the mean time, here’s wishing you all a delicious 2020!

Spitfire Grill Closing After Almost 30 Years In Santa Monica: New Restaurant Expected

A reader (Thanks Charlie!) sent me this article in the SMDP about the end of Santa Monica’s beloved hidden airport restaurant Spitfire Grill.  According to the article, current owner John Clarizio has sold the restaurant citing that he needs a break.  The new owner is Irish restaurateur Sean Martin, who has had successes in London.  The eatery is to be called The Cloverfield and will feature Italian food in an atmosphere that is reminiscent of a “London Bistro with Southern California elements”.  Spitfire will stay open for a while during the finalization of the sale.

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Westwood Rebounding…

With all the recent bad stories about the spate of Westwood’s restaurant closings, it’s good to close the year with some hopeful news.  Headlines Diner & Grill is open in its new location at 1131 Westwood Blvd.  Right around the corner, Frozen Land is now peddling gelato, ice cream, and frozen yogurt in its new location at 10911 Lindbrook.

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Qwench Juice Bar Coming To Culver City

A banner is up on a space in the Culver Crossroads shopping center on the corner of Washington and Sepulveda announcing that an outpost of juice expert Qwench is intent on moving in.  Let’s hope the move-in goes much more smoothly that the branch of Qwench in Westwood, which took an astonishing three years to complete.  Look for a menu of juices, smoothies, bowls, sandwiches, kombucha, tea, and coffee.

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The Kind Ones Not Feeling It In Beverly Hills

It looks like Beverly Hills wasn’t so kind to them…  Back in October of last year, I finally figured out from the teaser campaign that The Kind Ones was moving into the notoriously tricky space at 9527 S Santa Monica Blvd.  If you recall, The Kind Ones had roots in Kuwait and was focused on specialty breakfast sandwiches with top-secret brioche buns.  But apparently that wasn’t enough to pull people in:  The Kind Ones is now closed.

(Thanks Anthony!)

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Ago Says Arrivederci To West Hollywood After 20 Years

Sadly, it appears that glittering West Hollywood institution Ago has called it quits, having served their last meal over the weekend.  Ago has stood like a sentinel near the corner of La Cienega and Melrose for 20 years.  It was a quiet fortress for industry power players who, dripping in Chanel and LV, would make their way from the string of Bentleys and Lamborghinis in the car park to the twinkling patio to dine on branzino, deftly deboned tableside, washed down with multiple rounds of excellent negronis.  The Tuscan menu, created by Chef/partner Agostino Sciandri (in partnership with Robert DeNiro and others) was good and reliably served by polished Italian natives.  I’d been hearing whispers of trouble for a while now, and some long-time employees had been let go, so it wasn’t necessarily a surprise, but it does feel like the end of an era.  I for one, will miss it.

I’m told the space has been sold and a new venture is expected by March or April.  As always, I’ll keep watching…