Impasta Expanding To Downtown Santa Monica

With one location in Beverly Hills, it appears that the “no regretti spaghetti” folks at Impasta are expanding their operation westward.  There’s window paper up at 413 Santa Monica Blvd. announcing the impending arrival.  You may recall that this particular block was nearly destroyed in May of 2020, but has been slowly reviving with the arrival of Blue Bottle, MIXT, and now ImpastaImpasta offers a menu designed for low-carb and gluten-free diets with items such as “classic pasta and pizza recipes made with zero to low carb noodle options, cauliflower crusts”, and no red meat.

Fresh Corn Grill To Leave Santa Monica

On a tip from a reader, I went by to check out what was going on at Santa Monica’s branch of healthy California-cuisine minichain Fresh Corn Grill.  It was over two years ago when I first told you about their arrival to the space at 720 Wilshire, formerly home to a branch of Baja Fresh.  Sadly, this location is ceasing operations after today (Friday 09//23).  It was explained to me that the company is being restructured by the owners.  The other two locations (Westwood, West Hollywood) are to remain open.

(Thanks Jonny!)

Monty’s Good Burger Landing In Downtown Santa Monica

Congratulations, Good People of Santa Monica, exceptional plant-based burgers are heading your way!  There’s a small hiring notice on the front of the erstwhile home of Thai Dishes on Broadway at 123 Broadway.  It lets us know that popular plant-based Monty’s Good Burger is moving in.  Monty’s has locations across LA and specializes in hand-breaded plant-based chicken sandwiches, fries, tots, shakes, and an artisanal vegan burger that is so good, it landed them a spot on Eater’s list of Essential Los Angeles Burgers.

Mixt Coming To Downtown Santa Monica

You may recall the corner spot at Fourth and Santa Monica Blvd. from the nightly news after an arsonist torched the place in May of 2020.  Back then, it was the home to Sake House by Hikari which decided not to return to the location at 401 Santa Monica Blvd.  The space had been undergoing renovation since then, and now window paper lets us know the new occupant: MIXTMIXT has locations throughout California and in Scottsdale and Dallas. They offer a menu of chef-crafted salads, market plates, sandwiches, and bowls, as well as a “design your own” concept featuring “whole, honest, pure foods”.

McConnell’s Bringing Icy Treats To Downtown Santa Monica

Santa Barbara’s finest, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, is opening a location in Downtown Santa Monica.  There’s a now hiring notice posted in the window of of the diminutive space at 1456 Third Street Promenade, most recently home to ice cream shop Somi Somi, and Pinkberry before that.  For over 70 years, McConnell’s has been producing what some call the “best ice cream in the world” using simple, straight-forward ingredients.  It looks like they’re close to opening…

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.

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.

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.

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…

Trader Joe’s Now Open Under Downtown Santa Monica

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.

Osteria Del Fornaio Opens In Santa Monica On…

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.

Lotus Dim Sum Dumpling House Replacing P.F. Chang’s In Santa Monica

Ever since I told you about the startling disappearance of Santa Monica’s branch of Asian-ish chain P.F. Chang’s, people have been demanding answers about what may replace it.  The commodious space on the corner of Wilshire and 4th was leased a few months ago, and construction on the interior had begun, but there was no indication of what the new restaurant would be.  Just this week and small sandwich board has appeared that lets us know that the new establishment is going to be Lotus Dim Sum Dumpling House.

Here Are Your Kitchen United MIX Downtown Santa Monica Choices…

Ghost kitchen chain Kitchen United Mix is exploding across our region bringing a myriad of delivery choices.  They describe themselves as, “the nation’s first ‘Multi-Restaurant Ordering’ to-go experience”.  Back in October of last year, I told you about a branch moving into the old Gallery space at 1325 Third St. Promenade.  That branch recently opened and here are your choices: Camile Thai, Continental Empanadas, Fuku (chicken sando and fingers), and Wow Bao.  I’m told more are on the way…

Tu Madre Coming To Downtown Santa Monica

Obica ended its LA run back in 2020.  The Downtown Santa Monica location of the Italian mozzarella chain, at 606 Broadway Ste 100, has sat empty since at least January of that year.  But that’s about to change.  An ABC application has recently gone up on the space informing us that this will soon be a branch of Tu MadreTacos Tu Madre has four other locations across LA and specializes in creative Mexican food in bright, colorful surroundings.

SMiZE Cream Done Smiling In Santa Monica

That didn’t take long…  Back in February, I told you about the arrival of SMiZE Cream to the space formerly occupied by Ugo Cafe in Santa Monica Place.  You may recall that TV personality and model Tyra Banks was behind the premium ice cream project.  Sadly, it appears that they have cleared off from Downtown Santa Monica.  Their website says that they are switching to a delivery model.  

Sprinkles Blessing Santa Monica With Cupcakes

Lovers of cultish confectionary empire Sprinkles will soon be able to get their fix in Santa Monica.  Just outside the sluggish and half-closed food court of Santa Monica Place a brightly painted storefront has appeared almost overnight.  I looks like this outlet will only be a home to one of their signature ATM’s, but when you’re desperate for cupcakes, does it matter?

Kitchen United Mix Adding A Second Location In Santa Monica

When NY-style coal-fired pizza joint Grimaldi’s closed in El Segundo, it was reported that they were moving to a Santa Monica takeaway operation in the office complex at 2501 Colorado.  What wasn’t reported was that the new location will be inside yet another outpost of rapidly expanding ghost kitchen/food hall Kitchen United Mix, making this Santa Monica’s second branch.  Currently at address there is an erstwhile Daily Grill and, more suitably, a cafeteria called Colorado Kitchen.  Both Santa Monica locations of Kitchen United were shooting for an October opening, but as it stands, little work has been done at either.  Nearby Westwood is also getting a branch as well.

King & Queen Cantina Coming To West Hollywood

King & Queen Cantina appears to be on a mission to spread their signature brand of bawdy fun to Westside.  It was last year when I told you that they were bringing a branch of the San Diego party chain to Santa Monica (it has since opened).  Now they have their sites on West Hollywood. Signs are already up on the former Tortilla Republic space at 616 N Robertson announcing their impending arrival. Expect a “party, out of the box” with “Latin flavors” set in Dia de los Muertos decor.

Kindred Spirit’s Grand Opening This Weekend In Santa Monica

I first told you about Kindred Spirit back in June, when I noticed help wanted flyers on the former ISno Cafe and Monsieur Marcel space at 1260 Third Street Promenade.  KS opened back in August, but is hosting a Grand Opening event this weekend.  The good folks at Kindred Spirit reached out to me and asked me to pass this along to you:

“Kindred Spirit – a new project from the Demitasse coffee geeks featuring an all day menu of alcohol free cocktails, lunch and brunch plates, and a rotating seasonal menu of classic patisserie inspired by the Santa Monica farmers market in a plant filled open air space on the Promenade is now open and will be having a grand opening event this weekend.

Kindred Spirit has been soft open since August but will be celebrating an official grand opening the weekend of October 23rd with a “Sober October” event from 12-4p featuring the launch of of their fall menu, an adult and family friendly mocktail and craft session with Makers Mess (dried floral wreaths like these), and complimentary sampling from the Free Spirits alcohol free spirit brand who are featured in a number of Kindred Spirit’s elixirs. Makers Mess craft session complimentary with food and beverage purchase.

Following that Kindred Spirit has a number of on site alcohol free brand pop-ups planned through the holidays and into Dry January.”

KS Lox of things Bagel /Photo: Carolina Korman