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Chef Thomas Keller Tapped to Helm Dining at Santa Barbara’s Historic Coral Casino Beach

Plus, Roy Choi gets saucy, new menu items at Willie Mae’s, and more

Chef Thomas Keller in a white chefs coat.
Chef Thomas Keller.
Chelsea McManus
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

Chef Thomas Keller — whose credits include NYC’s Per Se, Napa Valley’s French Laundry, and Beverly Hills’ shuttered Bouchon — is headed to Santa Barbara for the reopening of Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club. The entire property — which includes the Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore Santa Barbara — has been closed since March 2020.

Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club is part of billionaire Ty Warner’s company Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts, which is responsible for renovating the 86-year-old property. For decades, Casino Club was a hangout for Old Hollywood and is the home to the pool where actor Esther Williams once famously performed water ballet.

Keller will oversee the entire food and beverage operations, which includes restaurants Tydes, La Pacifica, Coral Cafe, and Fins, along with poolside eats. Both Tydes and La Pacifica will reflect Thomas Keller’s style and brand. For the first time, the private property will make Tydes restaurant accessible to the public on a reservation-only basis.

Roy Choi gets saucy

Chef Roy Choi’s been busy with his TV show Broken Bread, a cooking Masterclass, media appearances, and now the sauce game. Choi’s company called Hi Note produces a sweet garlic teriyaki sauce for sale at Costco.

Broad Street Oyster Company update

An update for one of the summer’s most anticipated openings: according to a person working on the project, the Huntington Beach Pier outlet for Broad Street Oyster Company is just a few weeks away from being open to the public.

Willie Mae’s new menu items

New Orleans’ West Coast outlet and fried chicken legend Willie Mae’s added summer specials to the menu. Head to the West LA or Venice sit-down locations to try the new fried catfish and fried shrimp.

Fried catfish, cornbread, and mac and cheese at Willie Mae’s.
Fried catfish at Willie Mae’s.
Eddie Sanchez

Burgerlords returns to the beef

The Burgerlords Highland Park outlet announced via Instagram that it is serving beef burgers again. If that sounds familiar, the Chinatown location made the same shift back in January.