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Malibu-Area Restaurants Miraculously Survive the Still-Raging Woolsey Fire

The Old Place, Saddle Peak Lodge, and others remain intact

250,000 Evacuated In Southern California As Woolsey Fire Torches Over 80,000 Acres Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

The Woolsey Fire has mercilessly ripped across Southern California since Thursday, leaving property and restaurant owners to wonder if their structures are still intact. Amazingly, it appears (at least so far) that restaurants and bars within the fire’s path have been spared from the flames.

The gigantic Woolsey Fire blaze is over 85,000 acres and stretches from Malibu’s coastline all the way to Point Mugu; from the west side of Thousand Oaks to the east in Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Reserve; and up into the Chatsworth Reservoir in the north. With all of Malibu, Thousand Oaks, Topanga Canyon, and other areas under mandatory evacuation and unable to assess damage, news is still trickling in about local restaurants directly from business owners or via social media.

Below is a rundown of prominent restaurants and their last known status. Got any updates to share? Drop a note in the comments section below.

  • Neptune’s Net — Sixty-two-year-old Neptune’s Net has been spared, even though the fire was strikingly close to the restaurant, as seen in the company’s own social media post below.
  • Old Place Restaurant — The access bridge to classic roadhouse the Old Place was completely damaged, but the 48-year-old restaurant was spared.
  • Nobu Malibu - The oceanside restaurant did not report any damage, but remains closed.
  • Saddle Peak Lodge — The leafy canyon steakhouse reported no structural damage on Facebook.
  • Mon Li — Cocktail chef Matthew Biancaniello debuted Mon Li, his cozy twelve-seat hideaway, in early October. While Mon Li’s building is still standing, a spokesperson tells Eater that it’s impossible to assess any damage until Pacific Coast Highway reopens. Two other structures on the property appear to have been destroyed. Biancaniello’s garden and bee-keeping structure is still intact.
  • Mastro’s — The steakhouse is undamaged and remains closed.
  • Sunset Restaurant — A Twitter user shared striking photos that illustrate just how close the fire got to Sunset Restaurant on Friday. According to the restaurant’s Instagram page, neighbors helped extinguish fires threatening the structure. As of now, the restaurant is still standing but remains closed.
  • Geoffrey’s Malibu — On Facebook, Geoffrey’s left the following message, “Geoffrey’s Malibu is currently still standing in all her beauty — however, will remain closed until further notice.”
  • The Rock Store — Ed and Vern’s motorcycle-heavy market and eatery is fine, but the bridge to access it appears completely melted.
  • Habana Cafe Malibu — The Mexican/Cuban eatery’s status is unknown at this time.
  • Duke’s — The Malibu Times reported no damage to Duke’s.
  • Malibu Country Mart — The property appears to have escaped damage.
  • Malibu Cafe — Via Instagram, the Malibu Cafe owners gave the following statement, “We feel very grateful and blessed that The Malibu Café has withstood the fire.” Previous incorrect reports listed the restaurant as a total loss.
  • Calamigos Ranch — The LA County Fire Department noted that Calamigos Ranch sustained minor damage but is “largely intact.”
  • Malibu Wines — The popular Mulholland Highway vineyard shared images to Instagram reporting that it had lost multiple structures, and is still looking for some animals.
  • Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market & Patio Cafe — A Facebook user surveyed Pacific Coast Highway and captured the exterior of Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market & Patio Cafe. The surrounding areas are completely charred, but the restaurant is still in place.

Malibu Seafood still standing, the hills on both sides are black.

Posted by Chris Sullivan on Sunday, November 11, 2018

UPDATED AS OF NOVEMBER 12, 2018 AT 6:02 P.M.