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.
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.