Richard Foss

South Bay dining news: Barney’s Beanery opens at the Redondo Pier, R10 Social House in the Marina, Jimmy’s on 190th,

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I was chatting with the manager in a newly opened cafe who sounded rueful about the fact that they missed a chance to cash in on the holiday season. January is a slow time in the local restaurant community – I walked around downtown Manhattan Beach last Sunday at a time when most places would still have their peak dining crowd and didn’t see a single restaurant that was more than half-full. Any new place that has to recoup an investment quickly would find it mighty hard to do so at this time of year, and the ones that had planned their budgets on November openings but were delayed may be feeling the pinch. On the other hand, restaurants that open in peak season find themselves trying to train staff while cranking out meals at full speed, which can be a recipe for disaster. A few weeks of lean income may pay off in the long run, because the experience for those diners who do show up will be good enough that they are converted to repeat customers…

Barney's Beanery at the Redondo Pier has opened.

Barney’s Beanery at the Redondo Pier has opened.

  Speaking of openings, more have happened in Redondo in the last week. Barney’s Beanery has welcomed their first customers on the upper floor of the Redondo Pier, and Jimmy’s is open in the spot on 190th that was formerly 20/20 Sports Bar. As the name suggests, Barney’s is famous for serving chili, which the original restaurant started doing in 1920, and they have five kinds always available along with pizzas, tacos, and other casual food. The original used to be a shabby dive but morphed into a hipster spot with décor that could make a peacock feel drab – I haven’t been inside the one in Redondo yet to see if they’re replicating the garish color scheme. Another opening is coming soon in El Segundo – the “Now Hiring” sign is out at Grimaldi’s on Rosecrans, the sure sign that the renovation of the long-shuttered Daily Grill location is finally complete. Watch for a line to get coal-fired oven pizzas starting around the end of this month…

        And A Closing… Hotdoggers has finally called it quits after more than a year of a dubious concept in a terrible location. They opened just as another hot dog-themed place less than half a mile away was closing due to lack of interest, and their debut was disastrous – the service was chaotic and there were long waits for food that arrived cold. They never did work out all the problems – when I visited most recently and got a fairly decent burger, the fries had obviously sat a while. The for lease sign is up, and it’s someone else’s turn to try to make a go of this space…

        Event AlertsThe Bluewater Grill is serving both cioppino and bouillabaisse at a special dinner on January 14, so those who enjoy seafood soup may compare two from different traditions. It’s $28.95 for French and Italian soups, with glasses of wine from both countries – a nifty idea, I must say – reservations can be made at 310-318-3474… A bit further south in Redondo, HT Grill is showcasing the talents of new chef Nael Taki at a dinner on January 30 – five courses that emphasize stylish takes on beef, including steak tartare with gribiche sauce and quail eggs, oxtail ravioli, and a tenderloin with duck confit. It’s an interesting look at what this chef wants to do, priced at $90 plus tax and tip, including wine – reservations at 310-791-4849…

        First looks… The old Mermaid space was dark – the new one is black. Yes, the walls, ceiling, and furniture are actually black, and it can be disorienting as you walk in. They’re obviously trying to attract a younger clientele, and since the clientele at the Mermaid’s previous incarnation had an average age approaching giant redwoods, that’s a savvy move. They’re serving fancy cocktails and American classics, and when I went in on a weekend afternoon the place was packed. I’ll have to drop in again in the evening, after making sure my GPS is working so I can find my way out of the building. I also stopped in for dinner at the R10 Social House, which has redecorated the old Delzano’s space in stark contemporary style. The austere look seems out of place in the neighborhood, but the warm welcome and innovative food should be a draw. The menu is short but based on quality ingredients interestingly prepared, the portions moderately priced but small so you are encouraged to share things. Some items worked, some didn’t, but that happens in new places. I’ll certainly be back to see how this daring new place matures…

        Out Of Limbo On Pier Avenue… There’s news about the fate of the former Hibachi space, which was scheduled to be a Spanish tapas restaurant until the project fell through. It will become a traditional steakhouse under the ownership of Jed Sanford and Tin Vuong, who also own Little Sister, Abigaile, and the former Boogaloo. Once all three Hermosa spaces are up and running, they’ll be operating three restaurants on the same large block. It’s a canny idea – if one place needs to borrow a pound of sugar, cup of flour, or a server for an evening, they’ll be sure of a sympathetic response from the neighbors…

Our mistake: Contrary to my previous report, Shark’s Cove in Manhattan Beach is not changing hands. Owner Scott McColgan informed me I was misinformed. I was and I apologize. Scott also mentioned that Sharks Cove now has a Kings Cove in the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo. The walls on either side are glass so patrons can watch the Stanley Cup champions Kings practice while watching one of the 17 TV screens.

        Any new openings I should know about, any food events? Drop me a line at Richard@richardfoss.com.

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