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Fall Tracking Report: La Grand Orange Cafe

Fall is a time for restaurant openings. Lots of them. Restaurateurs will tease and taunt us with their grand plans. Consider this the intel to keep abreast of it all. Obsess if you must.

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La Grand Orange: Raymond Avenue, near corner of Del Mar Blvd.
Initial Debut Projection: April 2007
Current Debut Projection: Mid-December
Odds, On Time Arrival: 4-1
Eater Projected Opening Date: 1/4/08

Is it wrong to check in on a restaurant that will probably open this winter, not fall? Let's anyway. Here we have La Grand Orange Cafe, a huge undertaking just south of Pasadena's Old Town at the Del Mar Gold Line Stop. We took a spin around the space---then an empty historic train station---way back in January, with promises of a spring opening. In July we ran into someone affiliated with the restaurant who said it would open this fall. Designer Kris Keith showed us around the massive space the other day, and it's nowhere near finished, but things are moving at a fast clip. The kitchen alone is more than 2,000 square feet, there are two patios (one with a fireplace), indoor and outdoor seating, plus a second building the owners aren't quite sure what to do with yet. LGO Hospitality owns several restaurants in the Scottsdale area, all casual, seasonal fare. The menu looks basic on paper, but if it's really good salads, pan-fried chicken, meatloaf and pizza, LGO Cafe might have a chance in the Deathwatch vortex of Pasadena. Although the chef is here and hiring is in progress, we're stretching the debut to January because who wants to open during the holidays? Also, the Santa Monica LGO Cafe is underway on Main Street, but barely; that's definitely a 2008 opening.

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Lots of construction inside: banquettes for middle of room, ac ducts over head, tables will be strewn around.

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Looking from the back-third of the kitchen towards the dining room

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The patio bar faces the Gold Line tracks, which gets lound when the train goes by (all that bell ringing). Moveable glass walls are going up, says Keith.

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