Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger Are Cooking in Santa Monica Once Again

Baja seafood platter
Anne Fishbein

Today is the day for Socalo, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s long-awaited Westside restaurant. The modern casual Mexican spot is meant as a next chapter following the closure of Border Grill Santa Monica way back in 2016.

The new Socalo is simultaneously much the same for Feniger and Milliken, and in many ways very different. The pair have long had a fascination with keeping up with Mexican food trends both in Mexico proper and in Los Angeles; their Downtown restaurant Ciudad predated the arrival of Staples Center and that neighborhood’s overall rebirth, and the duo continues to operate Border Grill locations both in California and Nevada. The first Border Grill opened in Hollywood in 1985.

With Socalo, the plan is to start with breakfast and lunch (the restaurant is inside the Gateway Hotel, after all). That means everything from simple savory morning granola and egg dishes to casual “Mexican pub” fare like vampiros, jackfruit tacos, drinks, and more.

Steak and vegetarian vampiros
Anne Fishbein

The evening menu, overseen by executive chef Giovanni Lopez, will move into full service and include a raw bar, large-format seafood dishes, lamb birria, and more. Juan Martinez oversees the cocktail program at the restaurant, which seats 99 inside with communal tables and booths alike.

Socalo opens today, keeping hours, when fully operational, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Right down the middle
Luke Gibson
Communal seating
Luke Gibson
Socalo at night
Luke Gibson
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Ooo, the Queens of Dull are back at it. The last experience I had with the one chef was her restaurant Street. I guess she was being ironic, because there was nothing ‘street’ about that joint. As I recall she had a fancy hamburger on a brioche bun. I suppose that was representing a street in Beverly Hills.

Yawn. These two are the Joe Biden’s of chefs.

Are there any local LA chefs you enjoy? Because there seems to be no one in this city that you won’t shit on in the comments. Susan Feniger is great, one of the only "celebrity" chefs I consistently see working in her various restaurants. And your criticism of her place "Street" tells me the grand total of your experiences there was briefly looking at a menu, if that.

Seriously, this person has not had a positive comment for anybody. Someone like this is why Yelp or any review site can be terribly skewed. #Troll

Making you the Trump of comment threads. Lighten up guy.

Everyone’s comments remind me of something that I’ve often wondered about. Why does there have to be "celebrity chefs"? Restaurants and the people who make food should be about…FOOD.

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