Pasadena’s dining scene is quickly on the rise, as yet another opening places itself in the heart of the action on Green Street, between Crack Shack and Rocco’s. The upcoming Agnes by chef partners and owners Vanessa Tilaka and Thomas Kalb will focus on fine cheeses and regional American cooking, taking comfort in the Midwest, California, and beyond.
The duo first met in the Bay Area at San Francisco’s lauded Flour + Water, and have spent time each working at restaurants like Al’s Place, Bar Agricole, the Slanted Door Group, and Octavia. Locally Tilaka worked at M. Georgina, Cookbook, and elsewhere; at Agnes she’ll be putting her newest talents as a cheesemonger to direct use.
The plan for Agnes is to operate as a daytime-through dinner operation that is split thematically, if not physically, into a cheese store and market cafe, with a large patio and more sit-down dinner service in the back. The kitchen will be open to it all, and the market will offer seating across the space, including some sidewalk availability in the front. The city of Pasadena has spent more than a year building out open-air dining space for restaurants there, a trend that has helped small businesses (particularly in Old Pasadena, with its brick-lined streets) fend off the worst of the pandemic and economic slowdown.
Expect sandwiches, salads and daytime provisions including wine to-go from the space up front, with a more fully-realized sit-down menu for hearth-cooked dinner and cocktails that runs Tuesday through Saturday in the back. Sundays are for brunch on the wide and leafy patio, part of the 1920s-era building being remade by ORA. Expect an opening sometime this summer at 40 West Green Street.