Tag Archives: restaurant

Birth of a Dream

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Photo by Carley Rudd

“Chez Tex,” reads the yellow painted letters on the glass door on Main Street. Maybe you’ve passed by and wondered, “Who’s Tex?”

It’s Jesse Tex Feldman, a 36-year-old restaurateur named after his grandfather, and whose restaurant is the only eatery on the east side of Main Street between Rose Avenue and Marine Street.

Jesse grew up at Ashland Avenue and Fourth Street in Santa Monica. Twelve years ago his family opened Barndiva, a wedding destination in Healdsburg known for its elegant farm-to-table fine dining. Let’s just say hospitality is in his blood.

After spending some time in New York City, where he worked in corporate America and met his wife Hayley, the two decided to shake things up. They quit their jobs in pursuit of their passion: food. This past August, Chez Tex celebrated its one-year anniversary.

It took the couple, who also have a 10-month-old daughter named Loulou, about three years for their dreams to materialize. It took one year to find a location, one year to build it out, and one year to acquire permits and a beer and wine license.

“This was the first place we saw when we started our hunt in Santa Monica and Venice,” says Hayley. “But it presented a lot of challenges. It would take a lot of work.” …

Read the full article at The Argonaut.

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Last Call at Joni’s

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Photo by Marina Martin

For some, it’s a coffee shop. For others, it’s a bar or a deli. That place in your neighborhood you’ve come to rely on, sometimes even visit every day. “Where everybody knows your name.”

One such place was Abbot’s Habit on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, which closed this past summer. After 24 years, the café could not afford to pay a rent increase as Venice property continued to soar.

Abbot’s Habit was my father-in-law’s favorite hangout, where he went each day to buy a cup of coffee he could have easily made at home and chat with his friends (also locals, some retired like himself) and others who set up their “office” at Abbot’s. When the owners announced it was closing, I remember teasing him: “Where will you while away the hours? Where will you go?”

This is not a new story. It’s become quite a common affair on the Westside.

Now another neighborhood institution — this one 30 years in the making — is getting the boot.

It’s Monday morning, Nov. 27, and the crowd at Joni’s Coffee Roasting Café is animated as usual —except these smiles will soon give way to sighs. This is their last breakfast at their favorite place. …

Read the full article at The Argonaut.

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Brioche Burgers in Paradise

foodFor 10 years, Venice residents and tourists could count on Danny’s for “great service, tasty food, awesome beer, good vibes,” as one Facebook fan put it. Sort of like “Cheers,” but by the beach.

When the boardwalk-adjacent restaurant closed last November, it was hard to picture a successor that could fill the same enormous shoes.

Samesun Backpackers, the hostel upstairs, had the same thought — so they hatched a plan. Upon hearing about Danny’s departure, the Canadian company bought the space, hoping to preserve its role as
a local meeting spot for the Venice community.

“When we first opened, people would come in and say, ‘What happened to Danny’s?’” says Surfside Venice Bar + Grill Executive Chef Jesse Gutierrez, who came on board in March. He’s been busy crafting seasonal menus highlighting California comfort food, L.A.-Korean dishes, sustainable seafood and vegan options.

It was definitely Danny’s atmosphere that had people hooked, and unique touches like the mural on the wall filled with caricatures of Venice characters and legends. Out of respect for the legacy of Danny’s, they didn’t remove the mural but built a wall over it so it would remain intact.

Business has been good for Surfside since opening its doors on June 23. …

Read the full article at The Argonaut.

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