This landed in my inbox: This Sunday, May 29th from 12-5pm is the 7th annual MAINopoly: A Taste of Main Street. This event is a pet-friendly, boardgame-themed culinary walking tour of Main Street’s fave neighborhood eateries, coffee spots, and treat shops. Attendees will use “MAINopoly dollars” and are encouraged to dress in “Monopoly-inspired or patriotic Memorial Day attire”. There will be a “Go to Jail” beer garden, cocktails, DJ, and prizes. Some (but not all) of the restaurants that will be participating are: Ashland Hill, Sweet Rose Creamery, June Shine, and Holey Grail Donuts. The event takes place between Navy and Bay St. (check in at Ashland Hill) and benefits The Main St. Business Improvement Association. Read more and get your tickets here.
A sharp-eyed reader (Thanks Adrian!) wrote to tell me about something taking over the papered-over former home of wine bar and event specialist Fundamental at 1303 Westwood Blvd. There’s a small, hand-written note on the front door naming the new establishment as The French Way. I can’t seem to find out much information on this new eatery, but the note on the door confirms that it will be a restaurant, and they are shooting for a June 15th opening.
There’s window paper up on the corner spot at 1133 Montana Ave in Santa Monica announcing that a new frozen confection spot is moving in. Mochidoki offers high-quality mochi ice cream and was founded in New York in 2015 where they still operate two locations. This will be the first West Coast outpost. Their menu consists of “imaginative and refined Japanese-inspired desserts” in such flavors as red bean, cake batter, and salted caramel. According to their website, they are the “preferred provider” of mochi ice cream to such establishments as Nobu, Tao, and others.
A new dessert place is expanding into The Westside. MeloMelo has a new location in Westchester at 8336 Lincoln, and is soft-opening a location in Sawtelle Japantown this Friday at 2002 Sawtelle Blvd. MeloMelo currently has a smattering of LA locations and offers a creative menu of proprietary coconut jelly mixed with fruit, dairy, and other ingredients, all served in environmental glass jars. Personally, I’m excited to try the durian coconut.
Winston Pies unceremoniously quit the unlucky space at 1705 Ocean Ave., but the plucky pastry purveyor is not done with Santa Monica quite yet. There’s window paper up on the front of the old Milo SRO space at 826 Pico Blvd. announcing the arrival of the expanding popular bake shop. Winston produces pies that are handmade from scratch using natural ingredients and baked in the tradition of founder Brianna Abrams’ childhood home of Winston-Salem, NC. Thanks to PHW for spotting the notices.
It was only a little over a month ago that I told you about the catastrophic loss of Santa Monica’s neighborhood fave Bread & Porridge. Thank you to all the readers who wrote to tell me about what would be replacing the beloved breakfast eatery. The windows are still papered over, but a notice on the front lets us know that something called Flapjax is quickly moving into the space at 2315 Wilshire. A cursory search reveals one familiar name associated with the new restaurant: Ebru Fidan Caplan. Caplan is the force behind another popular breakfast spot, Bru’s Wiffle.
A reader (Thanks Andrew!) wrote to tell me that he had noticed an ABC application in the window of the erstwhile location of The Drift Kitchen at 2917 Main St. in Santa Monica. The application lists the name of the new restaurant as Vamos Vamos. I can’t find any definitive information on this new eatery, so if you have any, let me know. As for The Drift Kitchen, their website says they are searching for a new location, but in the meantime, they have a pop-up at their sister restaurant Rocketship Coffee on Melrose.
We all know that Downtown Santa Monica has seen a flurry of construction in recent years. I try to keep my eye on all the new developments, but this caught me totally by surprise. Did you know that there is now a subterranean Trader Joe’s hidden in the block on 5th St between Colorado and Broadway? I sure didn’t. Nevertheless, Trader Joe’s has opened their newest location at 500 Broadway about a week ago.
It appears that something new will be filling the space created by the lamentable loss of Smitty’s Famous Fish & Chicken at 9032 Venice Blvd in Culver City. There’s a banner hanging on the front of the gutted shop that announces the impending arrival of Bernie’s Soul Kitchen. BSK hails from near Chicago and offers a menu of “jerk and soul food” including bowls, pizzas, wraps, and dinners. (Thanks Andrew!)
On a tip from a reader (Thanks Scott!) I went by a shopping center near the corner of Overland and Venice to see what was going on. Sure enough, signs are now up announcing that a branch of confectionary expert Crumbl Cookies is moving in to the space at 3810 Midway (corner of Venice Blvd.). Crumbl Cookies began life in Utah in 2017 before spreading to over 300 locations nationwide. They serve a selection of favorites like their proprietary milk chocolate chip, pink velvet cupcake, and lemon glaze along with a rotating menu of flavors and a “mystery cookie” all served in an iconic pink box.
There are notices in the window of the two spaces at 1330 and 1380 Main St. in Venice that let us know that coffee is coming soon. The notices also tell us that this is a new project from @superdomesticcxc. Super Domestic Coffee is a coffee and cyclery concept that has a location in Culver City and a location in LA. Besides coffee, tea, and kombucha, Super Domestic offers a menu of pastries, bagels, burritos, tartines, and cycle accessories.
It appears that something new is coming to 8320 W 3rd St. in Beverly Grove, formerly home to vegan burger joint Subito’s. Window paper is announcing that Seoulmates is moving in. Their Instagram page promises “Korean Street Fusion: Korean tacos, sandwiches and rice bowls”.
Self-described fourth wave coffee purveyor, Reborn Coffee is close to opening at 3180 N Sepulveda Blvd in the still-renovating Manhattan Village in Manhattan Beach. As I understand it, the term “fourth wave” refers to bringing the highest quality of coffee to the general public. (If someone wishes to offer a more concise definition, please do!) Reborn Coffee has locations throughout SoCal and promises “the world’s best cold brew”.
Purveyors of “authentic Chinese food” Northern Cafe continue their expansion. A new branch has appeared almost overnight at 700A S. Allied Way in El Segundo. Hopefully they’ll have better luck with the space, which has previously been a Mediterranean eatery, an Indian restaurant, and a branch of burger joint The Counter.
North Swathmore Ave. in Pacific Palisades continues its move toward becoming a destination-worthy restaurant row. More evidence: Roca Pizza is settling into the tony street at 1061 N Swathmore. Roca Pizza is the latest project from California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Co-founder Rick Rosenfield and his wife Esther and will feature pies with long-refrigerated dough baked in imported Italian ovens. They currently have a location in Glendale, and they are planning on a Marina Del Rey location as well at 4700 Admiralty (in Waterside Marina Del Rey). This location is shooting for an early 2023 opening.
If you’ve ever been inside a branch of poineering Italian restaurant Il Fornaio, you probably walked past a marble slab etched with the names of their various locations. Prominently featured on that list is Santa Monica. There’s just one problem: There hasn’t been one in Santa Monica since it closed on the corner of Ocean Ave. and Colorado many years ago. But that’s about to change (ok, so its not an Il Fornaio itself, but it is related according to the website). I first told you about the triumphant return to Santa Monica back in 2019. After 2 1/2 years, Osteria Del Fornaio will throw open their doors to the good people of Santa Monica on April 26 at 401 Wilshire Blvd suite 150 according to a spokesperson. Expect a different menu than its closest sister restaurant in Beverly Hills. There will still be pasta and pizza, but there is an emphasis on smaller share plates served in a bright dining room with communal tables that look into a central kitchen. You’re welcome.
If you’ve been missing Forty Carrots‘ peanut butter yogurt you’re in luck. There hasn’t been an outpost on the Westside of the Bloomingdale’s house brand since the store closed in Santa Monica. But there is now an location on the third floor of the Bloomindale’s in The Westfield Century City Shopping Center. Expect a menu of frozen yogurt, sandwiches, and salads.
This is one of those stories that mystifies me. For some reason, a whole lot of you have been tracking this story since I first told you about it back in July of last year. To all those people needing answers, this news is for you: La Ong has opened their doors this week at 9632 S Santa Monica Blvd. Expect a solid Thai menu with such favorites as papaya salad, crab fried rice, and green curry all served in a sleek modern and airy space.
Normally sleepy Camden Dr., in The Golden Triangle, has recently become a hive of restaurant activity. Work is progressing on Beverly Bar. The earstwhile H.O.M.E. space appears to be leased. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on at the fossilized Brighton Coffee Shop (the windows are papered over). And now a new ABC application has appeared on the front of 420 N. Camden naming the business as Gion Beverly Hills. And what is that? I’ll leave the description to them… This from their Yelp page:
“Named after the famous geisha district, Gion in Kyoto, Japan. Gion Beverly Hills is the first and only traditional Japanese tea house that features actual geisha from Japan. We offer the rare opportunity to view a live geisha performance and have interactions with the artists. Along with the geisha show we also serve a delicious tasting menu inspired by Kyoto’s four seasons accompanied by a tea ceremony featuring wagashi (traditional tea ceremony dessert) that will serve as your dessert course.”