Thursday, May 30, 2024

Five years after closing, beloved bistro At Last Cafe to host popup at Liberation Brewing Co.

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After a closing in 2016—and still carrying a cult-like following of admirers to this day—the Alamitos Beach bistro that was At Last Cafe (and that is now home to the stellar Ellie’s) will be hosting a popup marking its five-year absence from the local food scene.

Taking over part of the space at Liberation Brewing Co. in Brewery Knolls—Bixby Knolls for those not in tune with the neighborhoods great beer—the popup is a warm welcome in two senses: Liberation has felt a part of its food spirit a bit empty following the closure of Fire Bird earlier this yearand, despite being five years shuttered, many locals still reminisce about the food of Chef John McLaughlin (Fun fact: John’s son, Eric, is one of the owners of Liberation so the event is definitely a family affair.)

Running this Saturday from from 4PM to 9PM, the small-but-mighty menu will include a variety of McLaughlin’s cheesecakes and “the greatest hits,” those items have not been revealed quite yet.

When the classically trained McLaughlin opened At Last Café in the Gayborhood of Long Beach in 2007, just a bit south of Broadway at Orange Avenue and 2nd Street, his French-forward cuisine was astounding in terms of local food at the time—so the community is mourning the fact that he is serving his last plates of food to the public today.

From his famed brick chicken to lamb ossobucco, McLaughlin’s takes on a neighborhood eatery echoed the many fantastic restaurants that litter French towns and cities: Comfortable and humble, their success forced them to expand in 2010 and taking over the corner with sidewalk dining in 2014 with one of the city’s first food-centric bulb-outs that expanded its seating by double. 

Liberation Brewing Co. is located at 3630 Atlantic Ave.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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