Two more big restaurant names are biting the dust in greater Los Angeles, adding to a growing pile of big closures in the past few months around what has for years been the country’s most dynamic dining city.
First up is Chez Melange, the nearly 40-year-old staple South Bay restaurant in Redondo Beach. Chez Melange is the work of partners Robert Bell and Michael Franks, who opened the restaurant on Catalina Avenue in 1982 with the idea of providing affordable takes on American and European staple dishes. Over the years the whimsical menu moved in and out of fashion, turning to burgers, Asian flavors, craft beer, an oyster bar, and more. More recently the restaurant split into a sub-space known as Bouzy Gastropub as a way to lean into the everyday burger and drinks fare, and offered a more elevated seafood-focused fine dining experience inside under the name Sea Change as well.
Now Chez Melange and all of its associated permutations are going away, starting with a farewell tour of sorts that winds through a few of the owners’ favorite dishes from across the decades. That should give diners time to get in for one last bite, and to say goodbye to the owners and longtime staff. Reps for Chez Melange tell Eater that Franks and Bell are planning to retire after the closure.
For now the final day of service is expected to be February 29, but in a closing notice sent to Eater, Bell and Franks say that an ending could possibly come sooner than that. “Thank you,” they add in the note to longtime diners:
Thank you for your loyalty. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your support. You’ve been more than just wonderful and loyal customers since we opened in 1982; you’ve been our family and our friends. And after 37 years, the time has come to bid adieu to Chez Melange.
The second surprising shutter is the upscale Asian restaurant Mr. Chow in Malibu. The hip former hotspot first opened in 2012, but closed earlier this month without so much as a peep. A tipster send along a couple of photographs of the buttoned-up space, including the signature white-on-white interior that has been completely lifted of any furniture.
Reps for Mr. Chow confirmed that the Malibu location closed after more than seven years at the Malibu Country Mart. The final day of service was January 2, and signage is down (as is the phone line) there, despite the fact that the restaurant still appears on the Mr. Chow website alongside the iconic Beverly Hills location and others in London, New York City, Las Vegas, and Miami. A note from said reps reads: “Mr. Chow is grateful to all of their staff and guests for their support in the time they they’ve been open. They look forward to welcoming their guests at one of their other Mr. Chow locations.”
The loss of Mr. Chow and Chez Melange (in February for the latter) adds to a growing discussion on sustainability in the restaurant industry in greater Los Angeles. Since late last year a number of high profile players like Tartine (featuring food from Chad Robertson and Phoenix’s Chris Bianco) at the Row development Downtown, the Firehouse in the Arts District, and Maximiliano in Highland Park have all called it quits.