Back in March of last year, I noticed a small pending development permit taped to the front of the old Hennessy+Ingalls bookshop at 214 Wilshire Blvd. in Downtown Santa Monica. The permit listed the applicant as Santa Monica Farmhouse. Recently a teaser ad went up on the front the space taunting us with, “You will never guess what’s coming soon.” Last week, the ABC applications were on display spilling the beans. The future occupant will be another branch of the ridiculously popular oenophile paradise Wally’s Wine and Spirits. Wally’s expansion into Santa Monica came onto Eater’s radar back in late March, but no details were revealed. Because there are two applications, one for ‘on sale’ and one for ‘off sale’, I think its safe to assume that this Wally’s will be similar in design to the one in Beverly Hills.
It was about four years ago when I noticed that “fresh & healthy Mediterranean” restaurant Z Garden had opened a second branch at 313 Wilshire Blvd. in Downtown Santa Monica. I’m not sure what happened, but it appears that they have vacated this location. And wasting no time whatsoever, a hastily hung banner announces that Chou Chou French Pastries & Cafe have quietly slipped in. I’m not certain who’s behind this and there’s not a lot of information out there yet. If you’re missing Z Garden, their other location is still open on Pico.
Update: Read the comment below for more information…
The mystery continues… Back in June of 2015 renovation began on the shabby old food court The Gallery at 1315 Third St. Promenade in Santa Monica. Excitement heightened when it reopened and restaurants started trickling in. And then something went wrong. The restaurants that had opened moved out and The Gallery sat empty. Then, last week, the windows were papered over and a required construction sign has appeared in the window. If anyone has any information, let me know as this story has been keenly followed by a great number of you…
Sadly, it looks like retail shoe store Lorin is going out of business at 1354 3rd St. Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica. Why am I telling you this? Because if you look at the storefront carefully, you’ll see a notice of pending design review in the lower right corner. The notice informs us that “a new bakery” will be taking over. If we look closely at the artist’s rendering, the name of the new bakery will be Carlo’s Bake Shop. Apparently Carlo’s Bake Shop is another name for none other than New Jersey’s Carlo’s Bakery of TLC’s Cake Boss fame. This would be the chain’s first West Coast location.
It wasn’t that long ago that I told you that Buca Di Beppo had closed its doors at 1442 2nd St, sparking a conversation about the viability of any restaurant in the pricey and complicated Santa Monica and LA market. Now it looks like another national Italian brand is going to give it a try. A sign is up on the construction plywood at the old Buca space announcing that it will soon be the home of a branch of North Italia. There’s reason to hope that they will have a better run than their predecessor: They know a thing or two about Downtown Santa Monica. Within a block in either direction are two other restaurants from North Italia’s parent company Fox Restaurant Concepts, Flower Child and True Food Kitchen. We wish them the best of luck.
Walking around Downtown Santa Monica recently, I noticed plywood covering the front of the space at 109 Broadway that used to house defunct Middle Eastern restaurant Seaside Grill. I was lucky enough to catch one of the owners of the new establishment who informed me that the upcoming eatery will intriguingly be called Air Food, and the menu will be “French”, otherwise I don’t have any more information than that. They’re shooting for a mid-April opening, and this being Santa Monica I wish them the best of luck with that.
About a year ago, I told you about the expansion of a decadently rich yogurt shop to the tony space at 1431 Ocean Ave. (in the Pacific Plaza building) in Santa Monica. It took a while, but Go Greek Yogurteria recently opened and is dishing dairy to the good people of Santa Monica. Read more about their fresh yogurt bar and self-serve frozen yogurt here.