Richard Foss

Pitfire Grill comes to MB, chefs takeover Abigaile, Simmzy’s 100,000th burger…..

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Arrivals and Departures… Downtown Manhattan Beach has big changes going on. Pomodoro’s conversion to a Pitfire Grill is underway, and I’m looking forward to the new opening – I have visited other locations and been impressed by the quality and value. Elsewhere, things seem to be up in the air at the former Sashi location; a widely reported venture by celebrity chef Thierry Perez seems to have fallen through, and a group of local investors are negotiating for the space. It’s a desirable spot with plenty of parking and walk-by traffic, but whatever moves in has to fit the neighborhood – the deli in this space and Sashi were often empty while their neighbors prospered. Around the corner, Mr. Cecil’s has finally thrown in the towel – the phone is disconnected and the lights are off. Another restaurant and lounge in the area is about to change ownership and concept, so whatever downtown looks like a year from now it will be different from today…

Meanwhile, in Hermosa… The former Planet Earth café on Upper Pier is being remodeled into a new restaurant, name unknown as of this writing. The new business will be owned by a former chef from Mediterraneo, which suggests intriguing possibilities. And a correction: I reported that the Spiaggia project in the former Amigo’s Taco’s on Hermosa Avenue is dead – it apparently isn’t, though the progress of the seemingly endless remodel is glacial…

Unarmed takeover… Abigaile will be hosting an interesting event on December 12 – a “takeover” of the kitchen by chefs from other restaurants, each of whom will present some of their signature dishes. Major talents are involved – John-Carlos Kuramoto of Michael’s in Santa Monica and Bernhard Maringer of Bierbeisl in Beverly Hills will join locals like Sean Chaney of Hot’s Kitchen. If I were a chef taking a night away, I’d take over a spa, theater, or wineshop instead of a kitchen, but these artisans are dedicated to their work. The price is a very reasonable $65 for tastings and sit-down dinner– call 310-999-3508 for reservations for your evening, and bring a toy for the Beach Cities Toy Drive to make someone else’s day…

Event Alerts… Mar’Sel at Terranea will be hosting a charity dinner and wine auction on December 9 to benefit the Center for Learning Unlimited, a local organization helping children who face challenges that can’t be addressed in conventional schools. The gala dinner will feature wines from Villa Oneiro, the only winery in Palos Verdes. Admission is $150.00 per person, and reservations may be made at 310-997-1900… And on December 12, Jackson’s Bistro and the Vintage Shoppe will host a four-course dinner featuring Niner Estates wines – it’s $95 for Central Coast wines thoughtfully paired. Call 310-546-9463 for more info…

The First Hundred Thousand is the Hardest… Congratulations to Simmzy’s, which served their 100,000th burger this week! We’re not only amazed that you did it, but that you counted every one…

 

 

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