We’re living with madness right now, and shops and restaurants are really feeling it. If you haven’t been out much, you may not have seen that stores have begun boarding over their windows. Sur La Table at Wilshire and Third is covered, and Williams Sonoma on Montana Ave. is also boarded. What they’re anticipating is anyone’s guess…
Kitchen Story burst onto the scene back in 2015, when it began serving its signature Korean food from its location at 2129 Sawtelle Blvd. A reader recently pointed out to me that they are now permanently closed, so I went by to check it out. A gracious note on the front door announces the closure and thanks its customers for the support. The closure actually happened in January and preceded the current state of affairs.
On a tip from a reader (Thanks Adrian!), I went by to check on the suspect state of affairs at 508 and 510 Santa Monica Blvd. in Downtown Santa Monica. The reader had told me that next door neighbors Seasalt Fish Grill and Yogiyo Korean BBQ had closed down. Sure enough, both are locked tight. However, both also have exactly the same sign in the window saying that they will be “re-opening soon”. I don’t want to pronounce them permanently closed, but we’ve seen this before…
I’ve been hearing from panicked readers that their fave nostalgic Sawtelle Japantown institution Curry House Japanese Curry & Spaghetti had closed down so I went by to have a look. Sure enough, the restaurant at 2130 S Sawtelle, suite 200 has closed after over 30 years. But that’s not all: According to this article, ALL Curry House locations in California abruptly closed their doors on Monday. Employees apparently had no idea and showed up for work only to find they had no jobs. This is tragic news for its many fans, many of whom are telling me they celebrated milestones and had first dates at the local fixture.
Mall food courts are being hit hard this year. More evidence? Pinches Tacos has vacated its prominent spot in Santa Monica Place. That leaves three empty eateries in the sputtering court.
Yikes! Still more closures… Westfield Century City Shopping Center food court is starting to look like a ghost town. Spice Affair is now boarded up. And longtime resident Ajisen Ramen has closed its doors as well.
And while we’re on the subject of sad closings… I have it on a solid inside tip that Santa Monica’s chic palace of all things kitchen-related, Williams Sonoma is set to close its doors. It is currently still open, and I do not have a time line, but I believe the intel is trustworthy. Williams Sonoma has been a sparkling anchor on the east end of Montana, and its demise will leave a cavernous hole in the upscale shopping district. By the way, I’m also hearing that the Starbucks on the corner of 15th and Montana is set to close as well due to high rents.
So far, as you can see from reading this blog, 2020 has seen a shocking number of restaurant closings. And we’re not done yet… Coral Tree Cafe is now closed at 225 S Beverly Blvd. in Beverly Hills. A gracious note on the front door blames rising costs of labor and rent. That leaves just two locations left (Encino and Brentwood) for the coffee and sandwich chain founded by Brentwood residents in 2002.
More signs of turbulence in Westwood Village… Longtime Westwood fixture D’amore’s Famous Pizza has quit its prominent location at 1136 Westwood Blvd. Not sure what happened, but I’ll keep my eyes on the space to see what may develop.
I’ve been carefully watching the branch of international Italian brand Obica at 606 Broadway in Downtown Santa Monica. Recently, the restaurant went silent, and the shades have been pulled down. A sign on the door promises a renovation, new management, and a new concept… all by February 10th. But things look a bit dodgy: While I was checking for progress, a self-identified former employee approached me and told me that the staff were unceremoniously sacked with no promise of rehire. His assumption is that Obica Mozzarella Bar is permanently gone. A cursory glance inside the front door reveals that nothing has been touched and no work has commenced. I’ll keep watching but we’ve seen this kind of thing before…
Yikes! It appears that an exodus of eateries has occurred in Downtown Santa Monica after the Holidays. Plan Check has checked out of 1401 Ocean Ave. Le Pain Quotidien has said adieu to 316 Santa Monica Blvd. (A note in the window blames an expiring lease agreement.) And, after a valiant effort, Creams & Dreams has closed their nitrogen ice cream outpost at 219 Arizona after four years. Sad…
I first told you about frozen treat expert Gelato-Go‘s arrival to 1305 Montana Ave. back in October of 2017. Sadly, it appears that things have turned icy for the gelato chain: Gelato-Go is now closed in Santa Monica. You can still sample their gelato at other SoCal locations, or in Florida.
Sadly, it appears that Korean bowl specialist Bibigo has disappeared from its location at 2210 Sawtelle Blvd. in LA. The space is completely gutted, ending any hope of a return. I’m not sure what happened, but I’ll keep watching to see what may take a chance in what is one of the Westside’s most competative food scenes, Sawtelle Japantown.
Back in June of 2017, I applauded Z Pastabar’s courageous decision to brave the sputtering food scene in Santa Monica Place. At the time, Z Pastabar had high hopes of a big expansion across the LA area. Sadly, it appears that things did not go as planned: Following their other SoCal locations, Santa Monica Place‘s branch of Z Pastabar is now closed.
Brentwood’s neighborhood fave Italian hideaway for celebrities, Toscana, has temporarily closed as of January 1st at 11633 San Vicente Blvd. According to a notice on the front door, they will apparently be having the kitchen renovated. The notice also promises a March 1st reopening. In the mean time, Bar Toscana, right next door, will remain open for lunch and dinner.
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.
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.
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…
It appears that casual outdoor burger spot Cowabunga Republic has closed up shop at 2912 Main St. in Santa Monica. The giant for lease sign on the front confirms the sad news. Cowabunga Republic burst on the scene earlier this year with a lot of initial attention from locals. I’m not sure what happened, but I’ll keep watching the unusual space to see what new venture may take a chance.
You know I’ve been tracking the massive expansion of the Israeli chain obsessed with lilliputian burgers, Burgerim. But could there be a bump in the road to SoCal domination? As a reader pointed out (Thanks Tony!) the new-ish Burgerim at 250 S Beverly Dr. in Beverly Hills has already called it quits after about a year. Not sure what happened, but the reader suspects competition from Burger Lounge, which is directly across the street, could have had something to do with it.