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The Independence, An Ambitious Santa Monica Tavern Opening Thursday

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Tom Block helms the menu while Vincenzo Marianella mixes drinks.

Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Buddha's Belly has had the upgrade of a lifetime. Owner Jonathan Chu has taken his old space and turn it into the bright and airy The Independence, named after the railroad that once traversed the City of Angels back in 1875. Hiring Tom Block (BLT Steak, Allen & Delancy, Beelman's Pub) to oversee the menu, expect dishes like chicken wings with salsa verde, or dry-aged rib eye with wild mushrooms on the menu. Since this is a user-friendly pub, there's also a burger touting gruyere and caramelized onions, as well as shellfish stew with clams.

On the drink side, barman Vincenzo Marianella, who still works Chu's sister spot Copa D'Oro just a block away, is preparing beverages like the Longshore, made with bourbon, port syrup, lemon, egg white, and bitters; or consider the Last Stop, blending scotch, grappa, amart averna, coffee, and whipped cream. Finally Santa Monica native Tatia Oshidari manages both the front of house as GM and the 10 taps behind the bar, which pour mostly Californian brews.

When it opens, The Independence will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Independence
205 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA