A new Latin American restaurant plans on opening April 23 in the old Empire space at 1519 Wilshire Blvd. La Condesa is the latest project of Misael Guerrero. Guerrero, who originally hails from Sinaloa, is the man behind the rapidly expanding chain Culichitown and Mama Por Dios. He is known for his Mexican sushi and lively atmospheres. We wish him the best of luck.
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!
While I’ve been watching the transformation of the former Starbucks at 1426 Montana Ave Ste. 4 (corner of 15th), it was a reader (Thanks again, Kurt!) who sleuthed out the next tenant. While no signs are up yet, I had a chance to speak with someone inside who confirmed what Kurt had discovered: This is to be California’s first branch of Texas’ La La Land Kind Cafe. And what is that? La La Land is a “socially conscious” cafe on a mission to “normalize kindness” by hiring foster youth who, when they turn 18, are often aged out of the system with few supports. I don’t have any confirmation that this will be the model here, but La La Land provides real opportunity and apparently some really good coffee. They offer an extensive menu of coffee and tea, signature drinks, and toasts. We sincerely wish the the best of luck.
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.
It appears that Santa Monica’s tony Montana Ave. is turning into something of a dining destination… Thanks to a sharp-eyed reader (Thanks Kurt!), I went by 714 Montana Ave., formerly home to Osteria Bigoli which called it quits in Spring of last year. While there’s no signage yet, a small we’re hiring notice spills the beans that the new eatery will be Breakfast by Salt’s Cure. Someone inside did indeed confirm the news. I’m told it will open “very soon”. Until then, check out the menu of the West Hollywood branch, and get very excited…
From out of nowhere, a new noodle joint has magically appeared on Montana Ave. in Santa Monica. Kai Ramen opened last week to a good reception at 729 Montana. Kai Ramen has locations across LA, and offers a menu of “gourmet Japanese ramen” with pork, chicken, or vegan broth, as well as appetizers, sushi, and rice bowls.
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?
It looks like West LA’s adorable purveyor of all things cheese, Lady & Larder, is coming to Santa Monica. A sharp-eyed reader (Thanks Robert!) spotted the ABC application on the space next to Milo SRO at 828 Pico Blvd. #2, clearly indicating that the Simms Sisters are intent on bringing gorgeous cheese boards to the good people of Santa Monica. At the time of this writing I couldn’t confirm if this will be a second location or if they’re moving operations, but as soon as I find out I’ll let you know.
Originally, I had reported that something called Kohi Cafe was coming to the space in the new multi-use complex at 3008 Santa Monica Blvd. in Santa Monica. But plans seem to have changed. A new sign just went up letting us all know that Kissaten Coffee / Wine Cafe is moving in. I don’t know exactly what to expect. A “kissaten” is a type of old-school Japanese lounge/coffee shop… I think. Please feel free to educate me if you know more.
Good people of Santa Monica, your juice is back! Ever since the 4th and Santa Monica Blvd. branch closed after a troubled few months, die-hard fans of Jamba Juice have been forced to drive to get their favorite drinks. But no more… A sharp-eyed reader (Thanks SB!) spotted a new branch at 2461 Santa Monica Blvd.
People have been wondering what was going on with beloved institution Izzy’s Deli, at 1433 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica. A while ago, plywood covered the entire front, they appeared to be closed, and there was no explanation. (At the time, it wasn’t unusual for businesses in the area to be boarded up.) Some were concerned that the 24-hour eatery was permanently gone. Well, you can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Recently a large banner went up informing us that they are in the midst of a “mandatory earthquake retrofit”. So, starting in February when they plan on reopening, not only will you be able to get their classic egg salad again, you’ll be safer as well.