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Mendocino Farms Moves West, Opens Next Thursday

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Mario Del Pero, longtime restauranteur and owner of the critically acclaimed Mendocino Farms concept is jittery. "We're almost open, it's been a long time coming..." It's almost as if he can't believe it, which, coming from someone with as much experience in the food business as he has, is hard to believe. Del Pero comes from a long line of food guys; his great grandfather owned a butcher shop in San Francisco way back when. And, he's also the owner of Casa, that Bunker Hill hot spot that opened a couple of years ago. But, back to Mendocino Farms. The place has been blogged about endlessly, it seems, and still remains something of a downtown gem. Well, westside, get ready. Mendocino Farms Marina Del Rey is about to open and it's going to pack a punch.

The first westside location is bigger than the Flower Street outpost. The design, by Poon Design of Beverly Hills, has its own style - a little bit country, a little bit rock n' roll. There's a blue cow above the doorway, faux grass running along one of the partitions, exposed duct work, a pressed tin ceiling, photos of old Marina Del Rey restaurant scenes, lots of country blue, grass green, olive woods and classic white marble. It's roomier than the downtown locations for a number of reasons. Del Pero's a family man, so he and his partner in life and business, Ellen, were thoughtful enough to make the place family friendly. The spaces between tables are big enough to fit a stroller. There's a kids table with chalkboards and a kids menu that may very well be the best deal in town: A sandwich, side and drink for under $5. And, since this is a Rick Caruso property, Mendocino Farms is part of the Kid's Club, an activity filled calendar of events targeted to families and divided among places like The Americana, The Grove, and other Caruso developments.

On to the food. The menu, unsurprisingly, isn't much different from the other Mendocino Farms locations. Look for that Kurobuta Pork Belly Banh Mi, the Cubano Classic, and popular Drunk’n Goat in Paris. The kids menu offers some family friendly favorites like Grilled Cheese, Mendo-style, of course. As for booze, this location will eventually serve, but the license has not yet been approved. When it comes though, the restaurant is ready with an enomatic wine system. To use the system, you order at the register and pay for a card. Then you can pick and choose which wines you want to taste and how much you want to drink. There are also beer taps behind the registers. All wine and beer will be from Anderson Valley in Mendocino County, CA, "we're happy to be supporting Californian wines and beers," Del Pero says, noting that supporting their namesake can't be a bad thing.

Word came not long ago that even more investors were getting in on Mendo mania, so it sounds like this place is about to become a (grimace) chain. "No, no, we don't think like that," Del Pero protests, "Chef Judy and I, we're coming at this from a different angle, we're focused on the food, on the product, on the farmers. What we are doing here is featuring quality ingredients and giving back to the community, giving them something special, something nourishing, something to remember." Mendocino Farms Marina Del Rey is set to open its doors on Thursday April 29.
·All Mendocino Farms Coverage [~ELA~] — Daniela Galarza

Mendocino Farms

4724 Admiralty Way., Marina del Rey, ca

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