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Chez Melange Chef Suffers Heart Attack During Tax Fraud Raid

The climactic scene literally gave the chef a heart attack.

Farley Elliott
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Holy crap. Not only did Chez Melange,longtime Redondo Beach staple for something like 30 years (albeit in two different locations) just get raided for tax fraud, but according to the South Bay’s Easy Reader News, chef/co-owner Robert Bell had a heart attack during the process.

The scary scene unfolded last week when the Redondo Beach restaurant’s offices were raided by California Highway Patrol officers, acting on an ongoing tax fraud investigation by the Board of Equalization. You know, the tax people. Officers in full gear also took down Bouzy’s, the attached gastropub and the homes of both chef Robert Bell and co-owner Michael Franks, over issues regarding sales tax.  It’s at Bell’s home that he suffered the heart attack, apparently believing the armed officers to be robbers.

Behind the wild scenes, Franks and Bell are hoping to resolve the issues with the Board amicably to allow their restaurant to reopen as soon as possible. As for the sales tax specifics, those are still pretty scarce, but safe to say it must have been a pretty big deal. As for Bell, he’s thankfully recovering following open heart surgery at a nearby hospital.

UPDATE: A previous report held that the restaurant was currently closed. However, Chez Melange continues at this time to serve both lunch and dinner daily.

Chez Melange

1611 S Catalina Avenue, Redondo Beach, CA 90277 (310) 540-1222