For many restaurateurs and businesspeople, opening a new food spot in Santa Monica can be a nightmare. Red tape and delays make the process a long, dragged out affair. (Am I right Lemonade, Creams & Dreams? And Caffe Primo… we feel your pain.) But for some magical reason known only to the god of multinational coffee chains, a new Starbucks can open in days in the notoriously challenging city. It was only back in mid-October that I told you about a new branch of the ubiquitous coffee purveyor being built on the ground floor of Santa Monica Place near Bloomingdale’s. One month and a half later, Starbucks is open and probably giving Ugo Café a run for its money.
You could be forgiven for not noticing that The Beach’s preeminent shopping complex, Santa Monica Place did not have a branch of a large chain coffee shop. There has always been an outpost of the Italianesque mini-chain Ugo Café, and a now departed Groundwork made a valiant effort, but the big name ubiquitous coffee joints have been kept out… until now. Construction is underway on a free-standing brand spanking new Starbucks on the ground floor, near CB2, directly beneath the upcoming Arclight Cinemas.
Only in Santa Monica does one require a remodel after being open less than a year… Anywho, it looks like Ugo Cafe, the fresh Italian eatery on the ground floor of Santa Monica Place is currently closed for a re-do. According to the wallpaper, they’ll be reopening on May 13th, with what well may be a slightly expanded menu. If you’re dying for a panini or gelato, you can still visit their Culver City locations. http://www.cafeugo.com/