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EaterWire: New Owners for Venice Whaler, Le Pain du Jour Upgrades, One More 5x5 Collaborative Dinner

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VENICE: A very concerned reader sent a note about the Venice Whaler, the two story bar near the pier: "I just heard my beloved neighborhood dive bar is closing! Heard it is going to be a Japanese restaurant. Any info???? I must know!!!!!" We spoke with the general manager today: The Venice Whaler is not closing but there is a new owner as of last Friday. "A new sheriff in town," as the GM put it . That means Barrie Harnett, who opened the Whaler in 1999, is out. Since the new owner just took over, changes are still to be decided but expect some aesthetic upgrades (replacing the ripped furniture, etc.) soon. [EaterWire]

SANTA MONICA: A temporary closure had another tipster on edge about his beloved Le Pain du Jour bakery on Pico: "I was scared that it was closing up shop but apparently they were just redesigning. Before they were just a counter with bread on a shelf, but they've redone the place into a mini cafe." This guy swears by the brioche and harvest loaf, but others say the croissants are some of the best in the city. [EaterWire]

MID-CITY: We ran into Water Grill's David LeFevre who told us that although it was advertised that tonight's 5x5 Chefs Collaborative dinner at La Terza is the 2008 finale, it's not: Expect one more to make up for the the one canceled when Walter Manzke left Bastide. Maybe that means Manzke will find a home soon?. [EaterWire]

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