Beverly Hills lost its branch of international gelato brand Amorino during the Pandemic. Now it looks like another icy treat company is moving to the space at 9605 Santa Monica Blvd. The address was recently rented, but no signs have appeared. There is, however, a small legal notice taped to the front door. It lists the new tenant at Ample Hills Sub LLC, the company behind Ample Hills Creamery. Ample Hills make their ice cream from scratch in their Brooklyn “plant” where they actually pasteurize their own dairy and bake their own mix-ins. They have locations in New York, New Jersey, and in Long Beach CA.
Note: I do not yet have confirmation on this story.
For a while now, I’ve been watching the former home of Panini Kabob Grill at 9601 N Santa Monica Blvd. Construction has been fierce since the Mediterranean eatery closed its doors during the Pandemic, but there was no signage to indicate what was replacing it. Recently a now hiring banner went up on the front that lets us know that this will be a branch of the ever-popular chain Shake Shack, which as you know, began life around 22 years ago as a pet project of legendary New York restaurateur Danny Meyer and has ever since embarked on an inexorable march toward world domination fueled mostly by the cultish devotion of fans.
The Westfield Century City Shopping Center continues to hemorrhage eateries. A reader (Thanks Jerry!) reached out to let me know that Bok Bok Mediterranean has disappeared from the food court. Bok Bok only opened back in 2020. This leaves another conspicuous hole in the sputtering food court.
If you’ve been missing Forty Carrots‘ peanut butter yogurt you’re in luck. There hasn’t been an outpost on the Westside of the Bloomingdale’s house brand since the store closed in Santa Monica. But there is now an location on the third floor of the Bloomindale’s in The Westfield Century City Shopping Center. Expect a menu of frozen yogurt, sandwiches, and salads.
Compartes Chocolates closed down fairly early into the Pandemic, leaving their first floor Westfield Century City Shopping Center location vacant for months. But a new tenant is on the way. A reader (Thanks M!) wrote to tell me that this will soon be a branch of Cha Cha Matcha. CCM currently has two other LA locations and four NYC outposts and “specializes in all things matcha” using only ceremonial-grade powder from Uji, Japan. Looks like they’re shooting for a Spring opening.
While no one was looking, a new confectionary spot has arrived to the Westfield Century City Shopping Center. Almost overnight, Brique French Toastery has appeared on the ground floor, directly underneath Del Frisco’s. And what is that? Their menu appears to be singular: “Rock Toast” which is thick cut brioche French toast topped with proprietary peanut butter coconut maple syrup, toasted coconut chips, and vanilla whipped cream. If they’re not open by the time you read this, they will be very soon…
Kaido Japanese Cuisine has had a difficult time of it. They were forced to relocate to 1049 Gayley in Westwood when their original location in a strip mall in Santa Monica was cleared to make room for another big development. And now, sadly, it appears they are done at their current location. There’s a large “available” sign on the front announcing the news.
A delightful new outdoor dining experience has landed on Santa Monica Blvd. in West LA. You could easily miss it if you weren’t looking, but set in the back of an empty lot at 11819 Santa Monica Blvd. is Empire Hotdog. The food truck has build a clever home for itself in a park-like setting complete with tables and chairs and a large LED screen, that at the time I visited, was showing Shakira videos. Grab a burger and a drink and sit under the stars marveling that such a place even exits in busy West LA.
Don’t count out plucky Everytable… The nobly inspired concept chain aimed to bring fresh, nutritious, made-from-scratch meals to a fast food world at price points based on what a community could afford. Then they ran into a spot of trouble a while ago and closed various outlets. But hope springs eternal. There’s window paper covering the prominent space at 11049 Santa Monica Blvd Suite A in West LA (former site of a CBTL) announcing that they are opening a new branch at this location… and just about everywhere else as well. Check out this impressive list of upcoming Everytables, including Long Beach, Van Nuys, and Torrance. This branch is planning on a November 5th opening.
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…
I’m sure you’ve noticed that Santa Monica Blvd. on the Westside has been undergoing a major gentrification of late. An indication of this is the new Starbucks that is coming to the corner of Purdue and SMB, at 11401 W Santa Monica Blvd. This would normally be unremarkable news, except that this will only be the third stand alone branch of the coffee chain on the Boulevard between the 405 and The Beach (the others being at 26th and Bundy), and that is a little remarkable for this neck of the woods.
I recently noticed paper covering the windows at 9632 S Santa Monica Blvd. You may recall that this space was most recently inhabited by a branch of Danish lifestyle brand Joe & The Juice. It looks like Joe has moved on and something called La Ong is moving in. I don’t have any information on La Ong, except that “Thai cuisine” will be on offer.
Long-standing Westside staple Mama Hong’s Vietnamese Kitchen is moving locations. A complany rep gave me the skinny on the new signage up at 12201 Santa Monica Blvd. in LA. This address used to be home to burger joint Quicksand which fell victim to the Pandemic. Mama Hong’s will be closing their Brentwood location in the under-renovation shopping complex at 11819 Wilshire Blvd. in about a week, and opening in the new space “soon”. They also have locations in Burbank and Orange as well.
It appears that a new healthy eatery is landing on a prominent corner in West Hollywood. There’s window paper up on the former optometry space at 8801 Santa Monica Blvd. announcing a new branch of Kale Me Crazy. Kale Me Crazy operates a number of outlets, mostly in The South but also another location in West Hollywood, and describes itself as a “super food cafe” offering “juices, smoothies, salads, and wraps in a sleek, upscale environment”.
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.
Good news, Westsiders! From out of nowhere, a tiny outpost of LA’s iconic Canter’s Deli has appeared in the strip mall on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Bundy in Santa Monica (12109 Santa Monica Blvd. to be exact). This miraculous apparition is now up and running from 10:30AM to 9:00pm and is offering a takeaway menu of Canter’s classics, including their legendary soups, sandwiches, black and white cookies, salads, and breakfasts. You’re welcome.
Erratum: Thanks KJ, this is officially West LA.
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!
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”.
It looks like West LA is getting yet one more pizza joint to grace its strip malls… A reader (Thanks Jennifer!) let me know that there’s a banner up on the space at 12219 Santa Monica Blvd., previously home to Pizza Hut, announcing that Prime Pizza is moving in. Prime Pizza has three other locations across LA and promises “authentic NY style Pizza”.