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Chaya Venice Closes Suddenly After Almost Three Decades

The original Chaya family restaurant opened in the 1600s in Japan

Sushi at Chaya
Sushi at Chaya
Wonho Frank Lee
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.

In a surprising turn of events, Chaya in Venice has closed its doors for good. The out-of-nowhere news comes just six months after the long-held property promised a slew of new changes, including an update to its dining room and a new focus on izakaya fare. The Main Street spot had been in operation for 27 years, though the family behind the company claims a restaurant lineage that goes back hundreds of years in Japan.

The Venice location of Chaya has long been an anchor for the once-robust company, holding on and in many ways thriving despite an increase in nearby competition across both Santa Monica and Venice. In 2016 the restaurant completely overhauled its dining room, adding a modern flair and introducing loads more natural light to the restaurant and bar. Meanwhile, the Downtown location of Chaya closed somewhat quietly back in September, following an almost ten-year tilt on Flower Street.

Ownership for Chaya sends along the following note:

We want to thank our incredibly loyal staff and all of the guests that have visited and supported us over the last 29 years, while allowing us to share and celebrate so many important milestones and memories. Being a part of the Venice community has been an incredible experience and we will each continue to carry with us its indelible spirit.

Others are less positively reflective of the sudden shutter, with one supposed former employee writing in to say that workers were given absolutely no notice by management that anything was amiss. Reached for comment, Chaya ownership says that they realized they “would most likely not make it through the end of the year,” and thus decided to pull the plug before the holidays. They also say they are attempting to create severance packages for some longtime employees. Meanwhile, more casual offshoot M Cafe de Chaya continues to operate on Melrose Avenue.

Chaya Venice. 110 Navy St., Los Angeles, CA.