The Gallery, at 1325 Third St. Promenade, managed to survive the Pandemic lock downs but mysteriously closed a while ago, prompting readers to pepper me with questions about its status. The Gallery had gone through a major redo not that long ago and was home to such eateries as Voltaggio STRFSH, Paperboy Pizza, Dialoque, and others. Then it went dark. But now we know what’s coming… There’s a notice up on the front that names the new eating hall as Kitchen United MIX. And what is that? It appears to be a chain of food halls that describes itself as, “the nation’s first ‘Multi-Restaurant Ordering’ to-go experience” that “allows foodie fans who love variety to order meals from 10+ restaurants, all on the same bill.” Kitchen United MIX has a few locations across the US and are planning on a major expansion. There are upcoming locations on the books for Westwood and Torrance as well. This location is aiming for an October opening.
Santa Monica’s branch of Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern disappeared during the pandemic restaurant closures, leaving a gaping hole at 1733 Ocean Ave. But a new contender is stepping forward to give the space a go. There’s a banner off to the side of the patio announcing the impending arrival of Sol-Agave. This will be the fourth location for the Mexican chain that started out as a food truck in in 2014 in San Juan Capistrano. According to their website, it appears that they are also planning on a location at 800 W Olympic #A130, near STAPLES Center. We wish them the best of luck.
Were you wondering what was going on in the tiny space at 321 Santa Monica Blvd? The location has been a number of different incarnations over the years from coffee shops to, most recently, a boba spot. Now it has transformed into something called the Pink Daisy Cafe. As it turns out, Pink Daisy is a sister restaurant to Santa Monica’s perennially favorite brunch eatery Blue Daisy. Now you know…
The Venice Whaler has been the go-to destination in Venice since 1944. Now they are bringing their beachy vibes and fish tacos to the Good People of Santa Monica. Ma’Kai, on the corner of Broadway. and Ocean Ave. in Downtown, closed up shop during the pandemic. A number of months ago plywood went up on the front, and eventually a help wanted notice hinted at what the new bar/eatery was going to be. But now it’s official: Recently installed signs declare that this will indeed be a new outpost of the legendary Beach party spot, The Santa Monica Whaler.
There’s a new ABC application up on the front of the diminutive space at 530 Wilshire Blvd., formerly home to any number of nondescript cafes, that should bring hope to all Santa Monicans. With three other locations across LA, self-described “Neighborhood Lobster Joint” Lobster And Beer is expanding to Downtown Santa Monica. What more do you need to know?
I’ve been out of town for a few days and returned home to a stuffed inbox with messages from perplexed and shocked locals lamenting the quick and unceremonious disappearance of Santa Monica’s branch of Asian-ish eatery and longtime corner of 4th and Wilshire anchor P.F. Chang’s. All signs have been ripped down, and as you can see, the front is boarded over. Disheartened die-hard fans are seeking answers, so if you have more information, let me know…
A big “coming soon” banner has recently gone up on the front of the former BurgerIM space at 1237 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica. And pasted to the front of that is a smaller banner announcing something called Chick It Out and promising hot chicken. Apparently this has been in the works for a while now, and What Now Los Angeles has a lot more on this story which you can read here.
Before the pandemic, window displays went up on the space at 313 Wilshire Blvd. in Downtown Santa Monica announcing that Hollywood Burger would be moving in… and nothing happened. But that arrangement seems to have changed. There’s a new banner over the troubled location letting us know that Papi Tacos & Churros is on the way. Papi’s has a location on Jefferson Blvd. in LA that appears to be “temporarily closed”. I’m not sure if this is a second location or a total move, but in the mean time you can check out their current menu of “authentic Mexican street food” here.
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.
Check out what they built in the middle of The Third Street Promenade, between Broadway and Santa Monica Blvd. There’s a new beer garden operated by popular local watering hole West 4th & Jane. And just to the north of that is a new oyster bar brought to you by nearby restaurant The Independence. What a great idea!
I’d been keeping an eye on the location that used to house popular tourist restaurant Trastevere at 1360 Third St. Promenade to see what would develop. Recently, an ABC application went up on the front naming the new business. With locations in Woodland Hills and Huntington Beach, HQ Gastropub appears to be moving in. Expect a menu of “Global cuisine”, high quality beer, wine and spirits, and decor with a “motif of musical artists, fashionable design, and classic vintage guitars”.
I’m quietly optimistic about Downtown Santa Monica. During the Pandemic, many of the big chain stores and restaurants disappeared overnight. But there has been a recent uptick in activity, at least as far as restaurants are concerned. Many new projects are in the works: Trejo’s Tacos, Nick the Greek, Ugo Cafe, SMiZE Cream, Jinky’s Coffee, Winston are all moving in. And you can add one more name to that list: Practically overnight, a new charming coffee joint set up shop in the former location of Cafe Crepe at 1460 Third St. Promenade. Cult promises “food.coffee.cocktails” and is on a “mission is to pay homage to the city of Los Angeles, its chefs, dishes, drinks and trends”. Check out their menu here. We wish them the best of luck.
Don’t underestimate Ugo Café! When I told you about the closure of their Santa Monica Place location (which is now in the process of turning into Tyra Banks’ SMiZE Cream), I thought that was the end of their footprint in Santa Monica. But the plucky Italian coffee and food purveyor hasn’t given up just yet… A banner has recently gone up at 1400 Third St. Promenade (formerly home to Caffe Bella) announcing their impending triumphant return.
Santa Monica has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic: 40% of businesses in The Third St. Promenade are now permanently closed. And Montana Ave. and Main St. aren’t faring much better. With such a bleak outlook, I’m glad that I was able to post some good news this week. This is the third post in a row about new eateries moving into Downtown Santa Monica, surely an indication of hope… A new sign is proudly declaring that the space that used to be home for Le Pain Quotidien, at 316 Santa Monica Blvd., will be the future location for a branch of wildly popular and beloved Trejo’s Tacos. This is indeed exciting news for the area.
It looks like popular breakfast/lunch spot Jinky’s Cafe is expanding into the world of coffee and grab-and-go. You may recall that The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on the corner of Second St. and Santa Monica Blvd. disappeared in last year’s mass extinction event that saw so many closures for the beloved SoCal chain. Now there’s a banner on the location, at 200 Santa Monica Blvd., announcing a new java joint: Jinky’s Coffee. We are promised a chai and coffee bar, bakery, sandwiches, wraps, and “empanads and samosas”.
At least one restaurant has been expanding during COVID… After opening a new location in Westwood in November, Nick The Greek Souvlaki & Gyro House is moving into the location at 219 Arizona (Third St. Promenade) in Santa Monica, most recently oppcupied by Creams & Dreams. Nick The Greek has a number of locations in Northern California, and is slowly moving into SoCal. They offer a menu of souvlaki and gyro, as well as falafel, burgers, salads, and soup.
After having sat vacant for ages, the space at 1705 Ocean Ave. in Santa Monica, previously inhabited by H B Daisy and a dubious branch of Joan’s on Third before that, is about to get a new tenant. Window dressing has gone up on the commodious corner shop informing us that this will soon be the home of a branch of popular pastry perfectionist Winston Pies. This will be their third location, we wish them the best of luck.
In the very center of Santa Monica Place is a small, unassuming kiosk that, until last September, used to be the home of Santa Monica’s branch of Ugo Cafe. Now window covering is informing us that something called SMiZE Cream is moving in. And what exactly is SMiZE Cream? Apparently, it is a “Super premium ice cream w/ a hidden, yummy SMiZE Surprize” launched by none other than TV personality and model Tyra Banks. (SMiZE = “smile with your eyes”) Definately an interesting development for Downtown Santa Monica…
I first noticed banners declaring the intended arrival of “shaved snow creation” shop iSno Cafe in January of 2019. It took them a year, but they opened in January of 2020. And now in less than a year, sadly, they have closed their doors at 1260 Third St. Promenade. COVID to blame?
Another sad restaurant loss… Like its counterpart in Beverly Hills before it, Panini Kabob Grill appears to have permanently pulled the plug on its location at 312 Wilshire Blvd. in Downtown Santa Monica. The space is gutted and signs have been pulled down, and a for lease sign hangs on the front. I’ll keep my eyes on the location to see if any brave eateries will give it a go, but I won’t hold my breath.