Score one for Marina del Rey’s waterfront dining district. The star culinary team behind Dear John’s has quietly taken over the former Chart House location at the end of Panay Way in the Westside neighborhood, with plans to rehab the seaside spot in time for an opening later this year.
The incoming restaurant will be called (appropriately enough) Dear Jane’s, and will nod to the oceanside address with a focus on seafood, cocktails, and those marina views.
“This is a process that started for us when we didn’t know the fate of Dear John’s,” says Patti Röckenwagner, who is shoring up the new restaurant project alongside partner and husband Hans Röckenwagner and Josiah Citrin of Melisse. The three are venerable Los Angeles hospitality veterans and have helped to change the LA dining scene plenty over the past few decades. “We were looking at other opportunities when it seemed like our lease was going to be over,” adds Röckenwagner, “and we happened to see this space.”
The group has been in a bit of limbo over the past several years, with the Dear John’s address in Culver City slated for eventual demolition and redevelopment. Given the popularity of that steakhouse and red sauce Italian destination, the trio had been trying to secure a new potential home as a backup plan, and the Chart House space fell into their hands. More recently the group has inked a deal to stay at the current Dear John’s for at least another year, shifting the plan in Marina del Rey to seafood and cocktails.
Röckenwagner says that the new direction “is in line with both the location and the notion of honoring the history of Los Angeles landmarks.” She cites the waterfront views out to the marina and the direct sightlines to the boats there as easy inspiration for what should be an elevated but casual seafood affair, with nods to a variety of continental American classics — again, just like at Dear John’s, where steaks, caesar salads, and chicken parmesan hit most tables on any given evening. Only time will tell if shrimp cocktails, sand dabs, and lobster thermidor make the finished menu at Dear Jane’s.
The new Dear Jane’s should arrive well before the end of the year at 13950 Panay Way in Marina del Rey, with dinner hours to start and sunset views of the marina always.