The unexpected closure of Santa Monica's relatively new Punta Cabras came as a shock to many, with locals saying furniture and kitchen equipment have been getting hauled off from the property en masse over the past few weeks. So what exactly happened to the restaurant, which opened less than a year ago on Broadway?
According to owners Daniel Snukal and Mark Mittleman, the issue has come down to some persistent problems with their corner address, and a landlord that’s unwilling to step in to help. They told the Santa Monica Daily Press recently that “there’s a very slim likelihood that we’ll be back,” after failing to find common ground with Fortuna Asset Management, which oversees their property, on issues like a leaky roof and mold.
Because of this season’s strong rains, several leaks developed in the roof of the building, eventually drawing water into the restaurant and causing damage that prevented them from reopening. Ownership tried to work with landlords on a solution, they say, and even contacted the city of Santa Monica to see what could be done, but the latter found no formal code violations to write up. The Daily Press also spoke with nearby coffee shop owner J. Cho from Funnel Mill in the same plaza, who said that he has lost something in the neighborhood of $10,000 over the years because of the leaky roof.
The loss of Punta Cabras means that, after a business partner rearrangement, the loss of their original Santa Monica home, and a protracted build-out along Broadway, Snukal and Mittleman are once again without a place to sell their tacos. It’s unclear what will happen for the restaurant next, though the pair have indicated that they may sue Fortuna Asset Management over issues with the building.