Chef Philip Pretty—riding high on the city’s first Michelin Star given to his Heritage Long Beach space that he shares with his sister and co-owner Lauren—is opening a second concept, Olive & Rose, in the former City Center Motel at the southwest corner of 3rd Street and Atlantic Avenue.
And before you jump to conclusions about the dilapidated space, just know that Pretty himself couldn’t be more thrilled about a project that will likely become a destination for not just locals but those beyond the borders of the city.
Wait—the chef from Heritage Long Beach is opening a restaurant at a run-down motel? Yeah. Well, kinda.
Built in 1962, the City Center Motel was once a mid-mod dream of a space that mimicked (though not quite as beautifully and much more affordably) the sense of Edward Killingsworth’s Lafayette Hotel down the street at Broadway and Atlantic. And now, after years of neglect and eventually full-on abandonment—outside of a nice appearance in Netflix’s “Griselda” series, which saw multiple Long Beach locations throughout its run—there is a group ready to restore it to glory.
Announced by famed firm Omgivning with their partners Paloma Communities back in December of 2021, crews didn’t begin really breaking into the project until last year—and while Pretty’s new space will be attached to the hotel, him and Lauren are rightfully adamant that this concept is one-hundred-percent theirs.
“I didn’t want to partner with any group but rather just have a lease of my own for my own concept,” Pretty said. “Through a year-long process, we arrived at a place where I won’t have to handle in-room dining and have complete creative control over Olive & Rose.”
(Look for the full feature on the redoing on City Center in the coming weeks.)
So what will Olive & Rose be like—and how will it differ from Heritage Long Beach?
Full creative control: “That’s the only way I would ever do anything,” Pretty said. “Well, that and keeping it in Long Beach.”
Those two points are expounded by the fact that, post-Michelin Star and rightfully having a continually packed dinner service at Heritage, Pretty has obviously been approached by many to take his talents elsewhere for new concepts. This one, however, presented itself with the ideal situation for both himself and Lauren.
“We are Olive & Rose,” Pretty said, noting that it is named after his two daughters. “We’re going to have an outdoor bar that leads up to the back of the restaurant so guests will come up, have a drink, and be seated for dinner service.”
While the space will have a daytime concept that, for now, Pretty is still tinkering on, the dinner service will be Pretty flexing his all-out French cuisine muscles in a way that hasn’t been seen since, well, perhaps Frenchy’s closed over in Zaferia in 2011.
“We’re in full-swing with research and development—about three-quarters of the way done and the rest to be finished in the coming weeks,” Pretty said.
So what does that menu look like, exactly? Think steak tartare. Bread and butter. Oysters. Olives. Rabbit sausage. A daily pasta. A mackerel dish. An aged beef take on steak frites. And with a full liquor license, Pretty plans on paying with pre-Prohibition era cocktails.
The beauty of this, of course, is that it is a creative full-circle for Pretty: Much like he brought the ubiquitous West L.A. California bistro to Long Beach via Restauration in a time when such things didn’t exist, he is bringing a hole in our dining scene with that sexy, gimme-a-martini-and-oysters space that echoes Angeleno staples like Petit Trois, Merois, and Élephante.
“We wanna be something different than anything in Long Beach—that’s the goal,” Pretty said. “This has been a two-year project, with some $11 million being spent to make us and the space look amazing. It’s not joke and we’re here to show out.”
Can we get an amen?
Olive & Rose will be located at 255 Atlantic Ave.