News has been slowly dripping out on the latest batch of contenders in the saga of the Kitchen United MIX (formerly The Gallery Food Hall) at 1315 Third St Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica. I’ve already told you about Duck Donuts and Santa Monica Brew Works, but now we have more news because of a sign that recently went up on the front. Here’s the impressive lineup: Lolo’s Tacos, Calico Fish House, 101 Burger, Mad Scientist Ice Cream, Go Go Ya, Ms. Cluck’s Deluxe Chicken & Dumplings, Farmesa, and breakfast experts Blu Jam Xpress.
I haven’t quite figured out the revolving door situation at Kitchen United MIX (formerly The Gallery Food Hall) at 1315 Third St Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica. Restaurants seem to come and go with alarming rapidity. But at least two new eateries are giving the location a go. Recently, I told you about a branch of Santa Monica Brew Works that is settling in. And it now appears that Duck Donuts will be occupying the front space. Duck Donuts has locations across America and offers customizable made-to-order donuts with choices for coatings, toppings, and drizzle.
Holiday pro tip… There’s one yearly tradition that many of us don’t relish: Standing in a long line at a local See’s Candies to buy essential gifts for hosts, coworkers, out-of-town relatives, and service folks. But this year, to ease the burden on Santa Monicans, See’s has opened a full size pop-up that practically no one know about yet. It’s on the ground floor of Santa Monica Place, near Nordstrom, and it promises to save you a lot of time. You’re welcome.
The space at 1315 Third St Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica has had a turbulent history. A while ago, it was The Gallery Food Hall. That cleared off to make room for mega ghost kitchen Kitchen United MIX, which as recently as July was promising new food options. I’m not sure what’s going on, but while the Kitchen United signs are still up, the place is closed and gutted with construction underway. And last week, a new ABC application went up on the front announcing that Santa Monica’s very own Santa Monica Brew Works is moving in. As you know, Santa Monica Brew Works is that crazy-busy complex on the corner of 20th and Colorado with proprietary brews and famous square pizza. I don’t have more info than this at this time, but I’ll keep digging…
Santa Barbara’s finest, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, is opening a location in Downtown Santa Monica. There’s a now hiring notice posted in the window of of the diminutive space at 1456 Third Street Promenade, most recently home to ice cream shop Somi Somi, and Pinkberry before that. For over 70 years, McConnell’s has been producing what some call the “best ice cream in the world” using simple, straight-forward ingredients. It looks like they’re close to opening…
The space at 1237 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica has seen a number of eateries come and go. Years ago it was a Greek restaurant, then a BurgerIM, and most recently, a hot chicken place was slated to move in. But apparenty that fell through… Italian specialists Ugo Cafe has long had a relationship with Downtown Santa Monica. Originally, they had a shop in Santa Monica Place. Then they moved to 1400 Third Street Promenade. And now, they are opening a new location at 1237 3rd St. As you can see, the sign displays the new business as Ugo An Italian Trattoria. A spokesperson assured me that this will be their second location in Santa Monica (and third in total), and whereas their current Promenade location is more of a “grab and go” concept, the new location will be more of a “fancy” sit-down restaurant.
A reader (Thanks Tom!) noticed new options coming to Downtown Santa Monica’s outpost of the rapidly expanding ghost kitchen enterprise Kitchen United Mix at 1315 Third St Promenade. This location (formerly The Gallery Food Hall) has had a troubled past, and has seen many eateries come and go. According to a banner on the front, we can soon expect take-away food from popular chains than previously were not easily accessed by the beach community: Chili’s To-Go, Maggiano’s, and It’s Just Wings. Chili’s To-Go‘s website says that they will open on August 9th.
Ghost kitchen chain Kitchen United Mix is exploding across our region bringing a myriad of delivery choices. They describe themselves as, “the nation’s first ‘Multi-Restaurant Ordering’ to-go experience”. Back in October of last year, I told you about a branch moving into the old Gallery space at 1325 Third St. Promenade. That branch recently opened and here are your choices: Camile Thai, Continental Empanadas, Fuku (chicken sando and fingers), and Wow Bao. I’m told more are on the way…
It appears something new is taking over the Market Pavillion at 1260 Third St. Promenade, last home of the extremely short-lived Kindred Spirit coffee shop. Actually, two new things. The north half is turning into something called Bubbletopia LA. The south half will be Dogbite Gourmet Hot Dogs. Bubbletopia LA will feature milk tea, fruit tea, and waffles with ice cream and various toppings. Dogbite‘s menu offers such things as Chili Dogs, Elote Dogs, and Ring Dogs (bacon-wrapped beef dogs with onion rings, coleslaw, onion, and BBQ sauce), served alongside fries with various toppings. Curiously, I can’t seem to locate much information about these two businesses, so if you know more, let me know…
I first told you about Kindred Spirit back in June, when I noticed help wanted flyers on the former ISno Cafe and Monsieur Marcel space at 1260 Third Street Promenade. KS opened back in August, but is hosting a Grand Opening event this weekend. The good folks at Kindred Spirit reached out to me and asked me to pass this along to you:
“Kindred Spirit – a new project from the Demitasse coffee geeks featuring an all day menu of alcohol free cocktails, lunch and brunch plates, and a rotating seasonal menu of classic patisserie inspired by the Santa Monica farmers market in a plant filled open air space on the Promenade is now open and will be having a grand opening event this weekend.
Kindred Spirit has been soft open since August but will be celebrating an official grand opening the weekend of October 23rd with a “Sober October” event from 12-4p featuring the launch of of their fall menu, an adult and family friendly mocktail and craft session with Makers Mess (dried floral wreaths like these), and complimentary sampling from the Free Spirits alcohol free spirit brand who are featured in a number of Kindred Spirit’s elixirs. Makers Mess craft session complimentary with food and beverage purchase.
Following that Kindred Spirit has a number of on site alcohol free brand pop-ups planned through the holidays and into Dry January.”
KS Lox of things Bagel /Photo: Carolina Korman
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.
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.
ISno Cafe closed its doors early this year, leaving the former Monsieur Marcel space at 1260 Third St. Promenade once again empty. But there’s a small now hiring notice hanging in the window that lists a new business, Kindred Spirits, is moving in. There’s not much out there about KS, except a job listing calling for bartenders, baristas, pastry cooks, and hosts. But the contact email on the notice references Cafe Demittase, which is the quiet neighborhood coffee spot just north of Wilshire on Third St. I have no clear understanding of what the relationship is, so if you have more info, let me know.
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.
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”.
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 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…