So… this may come as a bit of a shock to you so you may want to fix yourself a Manhattan, lower the lights, put on some Bill Evans, and sit down. One of the questions I most frequently get asked is if Bandera would be reopening. As you probably know, Bandera has remained shuttered, probably due to the fact that the majority of the space was a bar. Known for their mood lighting, stiff cocktails, jazz trios, and excellent Dover sole, Brentwood’s beloved branch of The Hillstone Restaurant Group was a popular nightlife spot for many years at 11700 Wilshire Blvd. I now have it on good authority that Bandera will not be reopening at this location. Better make that Manhattan a double.
About a year ago, I noticed an ABC application on the construction fencing at 930 Montana Ave. The application listed the new tenant as Bluestone Lane Coffee. Well, things seem to have changed. The application is gone, and window paper is announcing that Bluestone Lane is out and none other than creative coffee purveyors Go Get Em Tiger are moving in. This will be Santa Monica’s second branch.
The recent spate of new eateries on the horizon points to a renewed sense of hope in the restaurant business after a very dark time. You can add two more to the list. A sandwich board in the parking lot of the North Village shopping center at 150 S Pacific Coast Highway in El Segundo is announcing that the South Bay’s very own Poulet du Jour and Offset Coffee are moving in.
ISno Cafe closed its doors early this year, leaving the former Monsieur Marcel space at 1260 Third St. Promenade once again empty. But there’s a small now hiring notice hanging in the window that lists a new business, Kindred Spirits, is moving in. There’s not much out there about KS, except a job listing calling for bartenders, baristas, pastry cooks, and hosts. But the contact email on the notice references Cafe Demittase, which is the quiet neighborhood coffee spot just north of Wilshire on Third St. I have no clear understanding of what the relationship is, so if you have more info, let me know.
The 400 block of Santa Monica Blvd. in Downtown Santa Monica was hit particularly hard during the melee a year ago. Businesses were destroyed and the north side of the street has sat largely unoccupied since. Long-standing sushi restaurant Sake House by Hikari was set on fire and will not be returning, as evidenced by the for lease sign in the window. But there is a sign of hope: Bay area third wave fave Blue Bottle Coffee will be moving into the space at 415 Santa Monica Blvd.
The Runway in Playa Vista has been busy… Free Market recently opened bringing a fresh selection of eateries. Now you can add one more to the list. There’s window paper up at the former location of Hal’s Bar & Grill at 12751 Millenium Dr. #140 announcing a new restaurant called Neighbors. There’s not much info out there yet, but their Instagram page states that their goal is “a restaurant experience created with our neighbors in mind”. Looks like they’re shooting for a Fall opening.
Congratulations good people of Malibu! You’re about to get a new java joint. While there is no obvious sign, the windows of space #7 in the Malibu Country Mart at 3835 Cross Creek Road are blackened with the words “But first, coffee”. You might recognize this phrase as the tagline for the sleek third-wave purveyor of caffeinated drinks Alfred Coffee.
S Santa Monica Blvd. is a revolving door for restaurants. The space at 9527 S Santa Monica Blvd., most recently occupied by top-secret brioche breakfast place The Kind Ones, is no exception. But one plucky contender is going to give it a go. There’s paper in the windows announcing an upcoming branch of New York’s own Joe’s Pizza. We wish them the best of luck.
You know I’ve been reporting on the massive redevelopment of Manhattan Village, ostensibly transforming it into a major shopping and dining powerhouse. There has been an explosion of new eateries landing in the shopping center. You can add two more to the list. A banner is informing us that BOA Steakhouse and Sushi Roku are on the way. Both are part of the Innovative Dining Group or IDG.
It looks like El Segundo’s The Point shopping center, on the corner of Rosecrans and Pacific Coast Highway, is about to get a new eatery. I told you about the closure of buzzy Umi by Hamasaku back in October of last year. Window covering is letting us know that this location will be the future home of expanding Greek/Mediterranean restaurant chain CAVA.
Remember that colossal redo at Manhattan Village on the corner of Rosecrans and Sepulveda? It’s about to get a whole lot sweeter. Plywood is up announcing that a branch of Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt is taking one of the spots in the new part. Handel’s Ice Cream had its beginnings in Youngstown, Ohio when a woman named Alice Handel began serving it in 1945. They operate over 60 locations in a number of states and offer over 100 flavors of ice cream and yogurt that are made fresh daily at each location.
A few months ago, I heard from a lot of readers that breezy pizza spot Surfer Rose was washed up. But I never had any confirmation. Now, however, there’s a new ABC ownership change application on the door. No business name is listed on the door, or on the online info but there is an applicant: 2460 Wilshire Restaurant Group LLC (Surfer Rose’s address). Otherwise, the application doesn’t give much information. This link does mention the name of “hospitality traiblazer” Michael Greco of next door’s Fia. Other than that, I guess we’ll have to wait and see…
I’ve been hearing from surprised readers who noticed that Krispy Kreme has vanished from its corner location at Wilshirie and Euclid in Santa Monica. You may recall that KK was a sensation some years back, with people waiting in long lines to secure the pillowy treats. I’m not sure what the cause was, but donut competition in Santa Monica is fierce: Dunkin’ Donuts, Sidecar, and an upcoming Randy’s Donuts are all within blocks.
Good news people of Beverly Hills, high-end goceries are heading your way! Many of you grieved when I told you about the closure of the much-beloved Williams Sonoma at 339 N Beverly Dr. Wasting no time, window coverings are informing us that this location will eventually be an outpost of popular (if pricey) natural foods grocer Erewhon. It appears that they are taking their time: They’re shooting for an opening next year.
It appears a new culinary training program is coming to the Westfield Century City Shopping Center. Plywood is up announcing the arrival of Little Kitchen Academy. LKA uses a Montessori approach to teach “children and teenagers to take a mindful and sustainable approach to food preparation”. This will be the first US location for the Canadian brand.
This post is for all those concerned readers who wrote me inquiring about their beloved Margo’s restaurant at 1534 Montana Ave. in Santa Monica. In the last wave of COVID shutdowns, Margo’s closed like every other restaurant… but it never reopened. For all intents and purposes it appeared that the popular eatery was throwing in the towel. Well… you can all breathe a collective sigh of relief: A banner hanging over the door is announcing to all that Margo’s is back.
The food court of the Westfield Century City Shopping Center has been hit particularly hard over the past year, and there remain a number of empty spaces. But one plucky contender is giving it a go… Mochinut has moved into the space most recently occupied by Beleaf Cafe. And what is Mochinut? According to their website, they specialize in mochi donuts, which are combination of American doughnuts and Japanese mochi that they describe as having a “unique shape and wonderful texture; light crispy coating with soft chewy inside”. They also offer “Korean Rice Flour hotdogs”. Mochinut currently has 10 US locations with 30 more in the works as well as upcoming locations in South Korea and Thailand.
While no one was looking, a delightful new coffee and pastry spot opened recently in Santa Monica. Readers have been letting me know how excited they are… once they find it. You probably didn’t notice the little charmer Paderia Bakehouse because it faces the parking lot behind the newly refurbished former bank building at 3032 Wilshire Blvd. (corner of Berkeley). It took me a while to find it as well, but once discovered, you’ll be rewarded with menu of coffees, teas, horchata, pudding, pastries, and cultishly popular Portuguese Egg Tarts. Paderia has locations in Irvine and Fountain Valley, but this is the Westside’s first.
The hidden little space at 11740 San Vicente Blvd. Suite 104 has had a bumpy ride since its under-the-radar glam industry spot La Scala quit the location. For a while it was a short-lived French eatery called Meet In Paris, but mostly it has sat empty. That’s about to change. There’s an ABC application posted on the front announcing that this space will soon be a branch of Santa Monica’s perpetually popular Italian powerhouse Rosti Tuscan Kitchen. (They also have a branch in Calabases as well.) Brentwood sure does love its Italian restaurants…
Good people of Brentwood, carbs are heading your way! With one other pop-up store in Culver City, Pop’s Bagels is moving into the space that used to be home to Alfred Tea Room at 11928 San Vicente Blvd. And what makes Pop’s special? Their three flavors of bagels (plain, everything, and cinnamon raisin) are made in small batches throughout the day ensuring crispy, hot perfection. They also make their own cream cheeses and cultured butter from scratch. We wish them the best of luck.