“It’s just not sustainable—and if we want to keep Beachwood alive in Long Beach, it’s the only choice we have.”
These are the words of Beachwood co-owner and master brewer Julian Shrago on Tuesday night of this week, one day before the gastropub announced publicly they will be shuttering their kitchen while maintaining the space solely as a brewery and tasting room beginning February 1.
“We have high-rise construction on three of our four sides,” Shrago said. “And none of these projects were supposed to happen at the same time but then COVID hit… My last trip from Belmont Shore to the pub took longer than if I walked. And it’s just decimated business here.”
“None of the office jobs in Downtown have returned since the pandemic, decimating lunch business,” Shrago said. “And that affects nearly every restaurant in Downtown, not just Beachwood. Some might be able to handle those dips better than others but lunch business is gone—let’s just be honest.”
Shrago noted that the company is lucky to have other locations—particularly their booming canning facility and restaurant in Huntington Beach—buoy the enterprise but, unfortunately, it means closing the DTLB kitchen in order to keep its Promenade location alive.
Beachwood has been one of the larger figures in the discussion surrounding problems Downtown: Co-owner Gabe Gordon wrote a private email to the Downtown Long Beach Alliance only to have that email forwarded to an elected official, making it public.
Noting everything from acts of violence to open drug use, the leaked email sparked huge concern about the overall image of Downtown and how much longer businesses can hold on.
Lupe’s has indefinitely closed up shop while Portuguese Bend has limited hours to a handful of hours across a handful of days per week. Congregation has been sold to new owners and Michael’s has undergone an entire concept change.
On the flip side, Ammatolí, The Ordinarie, Recreational Coffee, The Auld Dubliner, and other businesses are skating along fine, open for lunch and dinner service—albeit not without their own concerns: Ammatolí owner and chef Dima Habibeh has had to deal with violent outbursts occurring outside her business and unhoused wanderers exposing themselves to patrons sitting outside.
“Every permutation of things we could think of—menu changes, altering hours, everything just couldn’t hold us up,” Shrago said. “And we love Long Beach, it’s one of our homes… So this is the best step forward so we don’t entirely cease operations in the city.”
Beachwood is located at 210 E. 3rd St.