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Officially Official: Cafe R&D Taking Over Montana Lounge

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SANTA MONICA: We finally get official word from SBE about Montana Lounge, which the group just opened in March after letting the former Yu Restaurant sit idle for months.

SBE Restaurant & Nightlife Group has entered negotiations to sell 1323 Montana Avenue (the space where Montana Restaurant and Lounge is located) to Hillstone Restaurant Group. Hillstone plans to take over the space officially as soon as the liquor license is transferred, which is expected by the end of July, and Montana Restaurant and Lounge will close. Although there has been an overwhelming response to the temporary concept, no official plans are in the works to open Montana Restaurant and Lounge in another location.
Rumor is that Hillstone, which owns Houstons, Bandera and Gulfstream, will open a Cafe R&D in that space. From the sound of OC Yelpers, the one in Newport is so-so mediocre.

BEVERLY HILLS: Hillstone is also awaiting license approval to open a Cafe R&D in a former Hamburger Hamlet (122 S. Beverly Dr.), which has been closed a couple years now.
· EaterWire: Montana Lounge Sold [~ELA~]
· Montana Lounge: Good Drinks, So-So Food, Bad Uniforms [~ELA~]
· Exclusive: Yu Restaurant is Now Montana Lounge [~ELA~]