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Star Chef Miles Thompson’s Venice Tasting Menu Tryout Is Over After Just Two Weeks

Plus Tanino Drago in Westwood seems closed, and Sqirl’s all-star pastry party

Inside Makani
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.

Walking away

Chef Miles Thompson has left Makani, the Venice restaurant he started up with just two weeks ago. Eater has confirmed that Thompson is no longer involved with the restaurant as of last weekend, though both sides have so far remained amicable in the sudden split. Owner Jeff Carzino says:

The opportunity to work with a chef like Miles Thompson was one we could not pass up. He had a vision to create a menu and concept that would be innovative and ingredient-driven, and we were pleased to offer him autonomy. But we realized quickly that our guests were not ready for us to pivot in this direction. It is truly unfortunate that we could not offer Miles the platform he deserves, and we wish him well.

It’s unclear what is next for Thompson. As for Makani, the restaurant will open with a mellow, neighborhood-friendly menu on Wednesday, as planned.

Goodbye, Westwood

Meanwhile, Tanino Drago in Westwood seems to have closed. A tipster says that staff began informing customers last week, and the restaurant is no longer taking reservations online. Eater reached out multiple times for more information, but has not heard back.

Getting together

Some of America’s best pastry chefs are heading to Sqirl for a big group party on Saturday. The so-called Pastry Action Network event runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features five different pastry chefs from across the country, each doing their own dish. Tickets are $50, and proceeds go to the Yellowhammer Fund and the James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Fund.

New faces

Upcoming hotel the Wayfarer in Downtown Los Angeles has a new culinary lead: Francis Dimitrius. Fans may know his name from his stint at Villa Blanca in Beverly Hills, where the chef occasionally appeared on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules, but Dimitrius also spent years at Matsuhisa in Aspen, Koi in West Hollywood, and elsewhere.

Getting Modern

Modern Times Beer has officially opened its taproom and restaurant up in Santa Barbara. The spacious location right off State Street offers close to three-dozen taps of craft beer and cider as well as a ton of vegan food and indoor-outdoor seating. Hours for the space at 418 State Street in Santa Barbara run 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

A large loss

Marie Alfano, the namesake matriarch of Southern California chain Maria’s Italian Kitchen, has died. The 86-year-old was killed earlier this month in a car accident in Palm Springs.

Oyster time

There’s a new oyster bar to know about out in Redlands. It’s called Redlands Oyster Cult, and it offers evening service with loads of seafood as well as beer, wine, and cocktails. 16 E. State Street, Redlands.