What’s going on over at Burger Lounge in Santa Monica (and presumeably other locations as well?). The windows are papered over at their 213 Arizona location with promises of an evolution coming this fall. A visit to the website explains that a new plant-based menu is on the way. This from their website: “Everything from our burgers, fries and even shakes are going to have a plant-based option that will trick your tastebuds and please your “thought-buds.” And yes, the “thoughtfully sourced” meats will still be on the menu as well.
Sadly, I fear many businesses, and restaurants in particular, will not outlast the current COVID crisis. I’ve been reporting on multiple closures across The Westside. Yet another appears to be the beloved Italian coffee bar Ugo Cafe, set on the first floor of Santa Monica Place. If you’re missing their proprietary coffee or pastries, they still have two other locations.
The emporium of all things culinary, Sur La Table looks like it is set to close at 301 Wilshire Blvd. There’s a giant banner across the front announcing the sad news. This particular branch has long been the go-to for local cooks needing just the right size springform pan or imported dijon and will be sadly missed.
And finally, this last bit of news about the coming attractions to the new development in Marina Del Rey… It almost appears that Downtown Santa Monica is cloning itself in the Marina: The latest to join the list of new eateries is none other that Jonathon Gold’s fave Italian restaurant Uovo, which is opening a location at 4635 Admiraly Way Suite 105. You may recall that the diminutive Santa Monica bolthole has a cult-like following due to their expertly sauced pasta that is flown in daily from Bologna. Along with Kazu Nori and HiHo Cheeseburger, the dining scene in The Marina is about to get a whole lot more interesting.
It appears that Santa Monica’s branch of Steak ‘N Shake has abandonned any hope of returning to pre-COVID life as usual. While their website still lists them as temporarily closed, their location at 1455 Third St. Promenade is gutted and a large for lease sign in the window says they’ve no plans to reopen. Their departure leaves a cavernous hole in the Downtown Santa Monica food scene. I’ll keep my eye on the space to see if there will be any takers…
A few years ago when it opened, Ippudo caused quite a stir with its tonkotsu ramen that was a huge hit in New York. But things have changed. Ippudo is no more. And what’s next for the space at 1403 2nd St.? Why none other than expanding dumpling and noodle chain Dan Modern Chinese. According to their website, they’ll also be opening in Playa Vista and Manhatten Beach soon as well.
A new ABC application recently went up on the front of the currently closed-for-renovation Viceroy Hotel on the corner of Pico and Ocean in Santa Monica. While it doesn’t give us the name of the restaurant, it does promise that an eatery will be coming to the iconic property. You may recall that The Viceroy’s previous restaurant was called Whist and subsequently Cast, and in the past has been helmed at different turns by Tim Goodell and Tony DiSalvo. The website says the name of the new restaurant is Sugar Palm Ocean Avenue, and you can catch a glimpse of it through the front door. I’ll keep watching to see what develops.
The story that has garnered the most interest on this blog recently has been the disappearance of neighborhood coffee shops, and in particular, the mass extinction of SoCal’s beloved The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Thank you to all the readers who sent me news that the CBTL at 9th and Wilshire in Santa Monica has now also succumbed. There is still one extant Coffee Bean in the Third St. Promenade, and I went in today to have a look. The lack of customers, and low inventory of food left me wondering what its future may be… What’s going on? I’m not certain, but perhaps there’s a clue here.
Yikes! Ever since I first started telling you about the mass extinction of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf from the Westside, I’ve been hearing from horrified fans mourning the loss of even more neighborhood CBTLs. The Coffee Bean on the corner of Second and Santa Monica Blvd. is now gone. The CBTL on the corner of Wilshire and Federal has disappeared. And, while I haven’t checked it out personally, readers are telling me that The Coffee Bean on the corner of Lincoln and Manchester is now caput. Lots of you have been sending me theories on why this is happening, but if you have definite information, please let us know…
SoCal native Wahoo’s Fish Taco appears to be quiting their longtime address at 418 Wilshire Blvd. in Downtown Santa Monica. A sharp-eyed reader (Thanks Trent!) spotted the for lease sign hanging on the front. Since their Brentwood location closed last year, there are currently no Westside location except in LAX. Not sure what happened, but I’ll keep watching to see what develops.
I’ve been watching the space that was the home of erstwhile Baja Fresh at 720 Wilshire Blvd. (corner of Lincoln). The space has been undergoing a remodel for a while now. An ABC application recently went up on the front confirming that Westwood’s Fresh Corn Grill is on the way. Expect a menu of healthy pizza, pasta, salad, tacos, and enchiladas. We wish them the best of luck.
Back in January, I told you about the disappearance of Plan Check from its space at 1401 Ocean Ave suite 104. Now a new restaurant is intending to make the space their home. Posters are up in the windows announcing the impending arrival of King & Queen Cantina. Originally hailing from San Diego, the chain has a smattering of locations and sister restaurants. Expect “Latin flavors” with Dia de los Muertos decor that is meant to feel like a “party, out of the box, but more casual”. Of course everything us up in the air right now, but we wish them the best of luck.
The diminutive space at 725 Broadway in Santa Monica has seen its share of tenants, the most recent being an açaí bowl spot that closed over a year ago. Window covering is informing us that a new venture called Los Tarascos is moving in. The windows promise taco tuesdays and daily hand made tortillas.
A new ABC application has popped up on the front of the old Tinga/Renee‘s space at 522 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica. No business name is listed, but there is an applicant name: Ploenpidh Pola Houston. While this name is associated with a Koreatown bar, the Monte Carlo, after a bit of digging, I found that Ms. Pola is the mother of entrepreneurial brothers Jonnie and Mark Houston, who preside over an empire of themed nightclubs in Hollywood. I don’t have confirmation that this will be their newest project, so if you have any information please let me know. You can read more about the brothers in this LA Weekly story.
About a year ago, I told you about mega-popular Shake Shack‘s intention to build an outpost at 501 Wilshire Blvd, formerly the site of Panera and Polly’s Pies before that. Recently, an artist’s rendering of what the new building will look like was pasted on the front. It seems like they’ve a way to go since no construction has begun yet, and these are uncertain times…
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…
After sitting idle for a while, the restaurant at 331 Wilshire Blvd., that used to be the home of short-lived The Gables, is finding a new tenant. A banner is hanging over the entrance announcing that a branch of the salad, sandwich, and bowl chain Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop is moving in. However, the banner is delcaring that this branch will be called Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails. An ABC application in the window confirms the cocktails part. No word on an opening date, and I would expect big delays right now…
Back in October of last year, I told you about the disappearance of Pinkberry from 1456 Third Street Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica. Wasting no time whatsoever, expanding chain Somi Somi has opened in the space and is now serving their signature brand of “Korean-inspired” soft service ice cream. And, at the time of this writing, while other places have currently closed (or are offering take away), they are still open, giving us all a little needed cheer right now.
As you know, mall food courts have been hit hard with closures. The third floor of Santa Monica Place is no exception. But one plucky contender is going to give it a try. Plywood is up on the space just to the left of the food court announcing that something named 100% Ice Cream & Coffee is moving in. I don’t have much information on this place, but the sign says that organic grass fed ice cream will be on offer.
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…