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Woolsey Fire Damages Malibu Cocktail Destination, Prompting Temporary Closure

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Matthew Biancaniello’s ambitious drink omakase hopes to reopen by spring 2019

Calamigos Beach Club
Damage to the grounds at the Calamigos Beach Club
Courtesy of Matthew Biancaniello

As one of Southern California’s largest fires, the Woolsey Fire damaged hundreds of properties, including the recently-opened Mon-Li at The Calamigos Beach Club. Cocktail innovator Matthew Biancaliello opened the twelve-seat omakase food and drink eatery in early October, only to temporarily close it until 2019.

To get a sense of the fire’s scale, last week the Los Angeles Fire Department compared the Woolsey Fire’s to the city of Denver. Mon-Li is on the grounds of the Calamigos Beach Club. The fire charred the grounds and damaged the property’s electrical system. Biancaniello estimates the restaurant will reopen sometime in the spring after they complete repairs.

With rain in Wednesday’s forecast, the damaged areas are under close watch as the conditions could bring possible mudslides and debris flow. In early 2018, deadly mudslides claimed the lives of nearly two dozen people after 2017’s Thomas Fire, and left the region covered in mud as restaurant owners dug their way out.

Biancaniello says he’s working on new recipes for Mon-Li while focusing on a second book, a follow-up to “Eat Your Drink.”

Mon-Li in October 2018
Wonho Frank Lee