Ed Pilolla

Hermosa Beach looks to reduce closing time for Cafe Boogaloo

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The Hermosa Beach Planning Commission on Wednesday voted to roll back the late-night operating hours for Café Boogaloo from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m. as a result of nine violent crimes inside and outside the establishment over the last year and an audit of the business’s sales receipts.

The planning commission will officially vote on modifying Café Boogaloo’s CUP in January, after which the business will have the option of appealing the decision to the City Council.

Café Boogaloo attorney Peter Howell told commissioners that the establishment has hired a retired police officer to help institute a new security plan, which includes oversight of the next door parking lot. Commissioners, however, said they were displeased that an audit of the business’s sales receipts showed that it was selling 8 – 13 percent more alcohol than food between January 2011 and October 2012.

The city requires that a 50-50 ratio of food and alcohol be served in order to qualify as a restaurant, as stated in the business’s Conditional Use Permit.

“If you can’t comply with your CUP, I’m prepared to put you out of business,” said Commissioner Peter Hoffman.

Howell told commissioners that only one of the nine violent incidents occurred within the last six months, indicating that the new security measures instituted at the beginning of the summer were working. Café Boogaloo increased its late-night security team from five to eight people, Howell said.

The establishment’s kitchen, which features Cajun-influenced food, closes at 11 p.m. Howell offered to keep it open until 1 a.m.

“The restaurant recently hired a new executive chef, who is in the process of developing a new menu that the restaurant believes will significantly increase food sales,” Howell wrote in a letter to the city.

The planning commission, which has the authority to modify or revoke an establishment’s CUP, has reduced the hours of other late-night establishments over the years, including Blue 32 and the Dragon nightclub, which is now Watermans Safe House for Surfers.

Boogaloo, located at 1238 Hermosa Ave., agreed to install security cameras and abide by other entertainment restrictions. Commissioner Sam Perrotti said that when Boogaloo changed ownership in 2009, the establishment focused on becoming a sports bar, with the number of TVs growing from 3 to 24. Gary Alonso, who owns Game Changers next door, purchased Café Boogaloo in 2009, according to city documents.

City staff originally recommended reducing Café Boogaloo’s closing time to midnight, but commissioners decided on 1 a.m. with an eye toward reviewing the establishment’s performance over the next six months.

“We want a chance to prove ourselves, that we are an asset to the city,” Alonso told commissioners.