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…
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.
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…
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.
Once a darling with posing celebrities, Pinkberry lead the pack in the frozen yogurt explosion a number of years back. Could this be an indication that times and tastes have moved on? I was surprised to see that Pinkberry has vanished from its prime location at 1456 Third Street Promenade. I’ll keep watching to see what may take over the space.
What was in distant memory once a dusty old Third Street Promenade tourist pit stop, The Gallery Food Hall, has been systematically transforming into a remarkable food destination over the past few years. Joining such lofty names as STRFSH, Paperboy, Dialogue, and the fascinating Social Eats concept, there’s now another name to add to the list. Kameo Shave Ice has opened in the old Everytable space on the ground floor. But you’d better hurry, the website promises a “limited time” only.
Trouble for Everytable? With a visionary concept of bringing fresh, nutritious, made-from-scratch meals to a fast food world, Everytable ambitiously sought to transform the food scene along the lines of what McDonald’s did a half century ago. But sadly, their location in the Westfield Century City Shopping Center is now vacant, and so is their spot in Santa Monica’s mercurial The Gallery. Other locations appear to be open.
Everytable Century City…
Everytable Santa Monica…
Downtown Santa Monica’s premier Food Hall The Gallery is hosting Pride events this weekend to correspond to the first ever SaMo PRIDE Festival. All this week we are promised “unicorn food specials”. On Friday (June 14), from 7pm-10pm on The Deck, there will be Drag Bingo hosted by Pandora Boxx with prizes and giveaways. And on Saturday, during PRIDE on The Promenade, The Gallery will have food and drink booths set up. Read more about the events here.
It looks like they’ve figured out what to do with the last remaining open stalls in The Gallery Food Hall at 1350 Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. With such high-profile tenants as Dialogue, STRFSH, and Paperboy Pizza, I’m sure they chose carefully. At any rate, the still-undeveloped part of the first floor is now under plywood proudly declaring that Social Eats is moving in. Social Eats is a K2 project (STRFSH, Paperboy, Nighthawk), and will be a collection of five different eateries, or so I’m told. As you can see, expect beer and wine as well.
Update: More on Social Eats here.
Update 2: Social Eats opens July 19th, 11am.
Café Crepe has long anchored the corner of Broadway and The Third St. Promenade, and was perpetually crowded with tourists. So it comes as a surprise that they have abruptly and unceremoniously closed up shop. A brief note on the door bids a quick Au Revoir, and mentions the Canadian company’s other LA location, at Union Station.
A banner is up on the old Monsieur Marcel space at 1260 3rd St. Promenade announcing a branch of Taiwanese shaved snow dessert people iSno Café. For those who are unclear, Taiwanese shaved snow is a milk-based “snow” topped with various toppings. What makes iSno different is that, according to their website, instead of copious quantities of condensed milk and canned fruit, theirs is made from “organic lactose-free, low-fat milk infused with organic honey and sugarcane” and using “real fruit with puree and superfood with no condensed milk”. ISno currently has one other location in Irvine.
Update: I heard from a company spokesperson who clarified: ISno is NOT a Taiwanese dessert shop, but rather their own brand with a uniquely “shaved snow creation”, as well as organic teas and coffees, and made-to-order croissant pastries. We wish them the best of luck.
This is a bit mysterious… What was formerly a short-lived Bobarrito at 1321 Third St. Promenade in Santa Monica has morphed into something called Pink Sushi. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I’ll keep watching to see what develops.