Category Archives: Venice Beach Restaurants

These posts are about where to eat and what to eat in Venice Beach California!

Venice Sheds a Tear for Shuttering Stalwarts

9:13am

By Melanie Camp

Venice has suffered another blow to the old guard with both Joe’s Restaurant and Roosterfish announcing, in the same week, that they will be saying goodbye to the neighborhood. Their departures fur- ther adding to the changing face of Abbot Kinney Blvd.

Locals expressed outrage on social media regarding the shutterings, Yvonne Sjostrand writing on Facebook in a response to the news that Joe’s would be closing: “everything old Venice seems to go away slowly one by one. Soon we all have to start our story with remember when…”

On twitter Frank Fox wrote: “Gentrification has finally hit me where it hurts. If hipsters turn Roosterfish into some vegan vodka bar, I’m out of Venice! Nothing Left!”

It seems indeed that gentrification is playing a part in the demise of Roosterfish. After original owner, Walter Schneider, passed away 10 years ago, Gary Mick took over the bar saying he has, “been a fortu- nate trustee.” Roosterfish had been offered a new lease, Mick says it was one they chose not to accept. Adding that he is beginning to wonder how any business can survive on Abbot Kinney with the current cost of commercial leases, “it’s getting to be more about bragging rights. Location, location.”

James Allen from Coldwell Banker Preview Estates has been a realtor in Venice for almost 20 years. Over the last few years Allen says he’s witnessed the jump in price per square foot on Abbot Kinney. Allen says the Roosterfish building owner is asking $17 a square foot per month.

Venice business rentals average $7 to $8 per square foot, according to Allen, with Abbott Kinney commanding prices between $10 and $17 a square foot.

Joe's Restaurant Venice
After Nearly 25 Years in Venice Joe’s Restaurant will Close on Valentine’s Day

“This jump in the price per square foot over the last few years brought on by the ‘Gentrification of Venice’ is really changing the landscape. Popular Venice businesses such as Hal’s, Joe’s Restaurant, and the Roosterfish can no longer pay these exorbitant rents and these places, that have been local favorites for years, are one-by-one having to leave the Venice area for good,” says Allen.

As far as relocating, Mick says, “Roosterfish is a one of a kind creation, made what it is by the folks passing it’s threshold. It’s unlikely that we would relocate with that name,” adding that there are no plans for a new bar either, at this time.

“In the 37 years we have seen the gay community grow to be more mainstream. Gay rights, gay marriage. We have a long way to go for perfect equality, but we will persevere as we always have,” says Mick.

Sadly for Venice and the Westside LGBT Community, the bar, which has been Los Angeles’ longest continually running gay bar, will not persevere. In May Roosterfish will call last drinks for the last time, shutting the doors forever to the iconic aqua location, “there’s a

lotta history in here,” says Seth who works at the bar, “and until we close in May we’re going to give it a good more 3 months.”

Roosterfish 3
LA’s Longest Running Gay Bar Set To Say Goodbye

“In the early days the neighborhood was pretty ghetto,” Mick adds
. “We still have a hole in the ceiling were a bartender shot his gun off in the bar, back in the day. We have witnessed dark times in gay history along with everyone in the country. Lucky for us Venice is a fairly forgiving place to be. A message for the Venice community? Thank you for the pleasure. My crew and I have had a ball! Happy trails to you.”

In a heartfelt email message to those on the Joe’s Restaurant mailing list, Chef Joseph Miller made the announcement that his restaurant would be saying goodbye to Venice writing, “after 24 years, I have decided to close Joe’s Restaurant. My restaurant. I have had a great run bringing Farmer’s Market-driven, fine-dining to Abbot Kinney. I have seen this community through many changes.”

Miller says that the decision to close came with mixed feelings, and he hopes locals, “who have frequented my restaurant over the years will find time before the 14th of February to come in for one more meal and to say good- bye. But most of all, I want to say, thank you.”

With this Valentine’s Day being the last day of business at Joe’s Restaurant there is sure to be a whole lot of love pouring out to the place that has been on Abbot Kinney for almost a quarter of a century…and may be after dinner, everyone can filter down the street for a nightcap at Roosterfish. A farewell tour of two Venice OGs.

Read more on Joe’s Restaurant here and more on Roosterfish here.

Joe’s Announces it’s time to Go

12:45am

In a heartfelt email message to those on the Joe’s Restaurant mailing list, Chef Joseph Miller announced today that that yet another of Venice’s OG’s will be departing Abbot Kinney Blvd.

Goodbye Letter from Joe's Abbot Kinney

With this Valentine’s Day being  last day of business at Joe’s Restaurant there is sure to be a whole lotta love pouring out to the place that has been on Abbot Kinney for almost a quarter of a century.

Tonight  La Fiesta Brava on Rose Ave., will host a their last farewell, and Roosterfish announced this week that they, just like Hal’s and now Joe’s, will soon be ending their run on Abbot Kinney.

Many locals have been left reeling over the news  that more and more Venice institutions are closing their doors.

One Last Fiesta

12:11am

La Fiesta Brava Last Week on Rose 1
Locals line up La Fiesta Brava’s last week on Rose

The end has been looming for almost a year and locals have had time to mourn the impending loss of favorite, low-key eating spot La Fiesta Brava. The time has now come to say goodbye, as the family run Mexican hole-in-the-wall, gets ready to close it’s doors forever  at their location on 423 Rose, Ave., in Venice.

In 2015 the Camarana family saw their restaurant become a poster-child for those against the gentrification of Venice as rising market rents, an evolving restaurant culture, and a proposed new development on the lot made it clear there was going to be no room on Rose for the family business.

However, after a year filled with anxiety and uncertainty, the family are now ready to move on, and look forward to the future with optimism.

La Fiesta Brava Last Week on Rose 3
Sam Camarena serves customers during the restaurant’s last week on Rose

“We don’t want people to mourn the move. Saturday is a celebration of all the years we’ve been in the Venice community. What happened was unfortunate but there’s nothing we can do about it now, so it’s time to look forward,” says Sam Camarena.

Camarena is just one of the five Camarena children who grew up at the family restaurant. A restaurant that had been successful enough over the years to support the entire family and put all the children through college.

La Fiesta Brava Last Week on Rose 2
La Fiesta Brava a local favorite for over 20 years

“My Dad built this place. He came here 22 years ago,” said Jasmin Camarena, the eldest Camarena daughter. “People have watched me grow up here, a lot of our customers, they’ve known me since I was 5 or 6 years old,” Camarena told Yo! Venice back in May 2015.

Saturday’s farewell party will run from 4pm-7pm at La Fiesta Brava and the family is inviting all of Venice to come join them, and a Mariachi Band, for one last supper at the Rose location before the doors are shut forever.

After Rose the restaurant will be opening a pop-up restaurant in the old Sauce space at  259B Hampton Dr, Venice.

Novack to Announce Plans for New Hal’s

8:53am

Don Novack, co-owner of Hal’s Bar & Grill, will provide an update for the community on the new plans for Hal’s in Venice and Playa Vista this Saturday night at The Electric Lodge in Venice.

The night also marks the launch of the Westside Jazz Concert Series. Hal’s Bar & Grill and Westside Jazz will co-host the evening  highlighting the diversity of today’s jazz scene in Los Angeles.

The concert series will showcase LA’s finest jazz musicians, including those who have played at Hal’s over the years. This friday event, ‘The Venice Connection,’ will bring together, for the first time on one Hal's Bar & Grillstage, an incredible collaboration of musicians and will feature two trios, one led by piano virtuoso Theo Saunders, the other by Motown great and leader of one of Hal’s long-standing bands, Quentin Dennard.

The event runs this Saturday, December 5, 2015 from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM

More details and tickets here.

Veg Out in Venice at Plant Food + Wine

12:52pm

October is Vegetarian Awareness Month and to kick it off OpenTable.com has revealed the 52 Top Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly Restaurants in the US.

Seven of the restaurants are in the Los Angeles area and one, Plant Food + Wine is right here in Venice at 1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd., in the old Axe space.

Plant Food + Wine School
The Matthew Kenney Culinary School in Venice located above Plant Food + Wine

Matthew Kenney is the founder of Plant Food + Wine. He also runs one of his 5 culinary schools in the upstairs space above the restaurant. With other schools in Thailand, online, and another set to open in Miami.

“We’re honored to be part of it but I’m even more excited to see Open Table put an emphasis on vegetarianism to begin with. The fact they took the time out to celebrate World Vegetarian Day. It was a great list. I saved it,” says Kenney.

Plant Food + Wine Founder Matthew Kenney
R-L Plant Food + Wine Founder Kenney with Manager Repicé in the restaurant’s ‘Garden of Vegan’

Joey Recipé is the beverage director and manager at the restaurant. He says, “it’s so awesome to be part of a movement. I think more and more people are becoming aware of what they put in their bodies as a correlation to how they are feeling.”

According to OpenTable.com the list was decided “based on our restaurant experts’ recommendations and diner reviews,” and that all the restaurants “feature vegetables front and center, creatively presented with expert technique and serious attention to flavor.”

Plant Food + Wine Cricket Fox
Vegetarian food that even carnivores can sink their teeth into

Diner Alice Fox, who is not a vegetarian, said while dipping a roasted fingerling potato into carrot ketchup  “Oh my gosh, these potatoes are delicious. They taste like they’re cooked in chicken fat!”

Kenney explains that you can use different, non-animal, ingredients “like smoke and spice and salt in ways that satisfy those desires for comfort food.”

Plant Food + Wine may be local but  Kenny has a vision that reaches further afield.

Plant Food + Wine
Plant Food + Wine on Abbot Kinney

“We want to change the way people eat and change the way the world eats and show that plant based food is actually the most exciting and most beautiful food and the only way to do that is for there really to be a lot of amazing options around the world. That’s why we train students so they can go out there and do this, and share it,” says Kenney.