Monday, June 17, 2024

Long Beach’s ReMix Kitchen Bar to partner with ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ runner-up Chef Benvenuti in hopes to permanently rebrand space


ReMix Kitchen Bar, the fusion cuisine space at Long Beach Exchange, is looking to do a massive rebrand that will hopefully become permanent: Bringing on “Hell’s Kitchen” runner-up Chef Johnathan Benvenuti as a popup under the brand Bar Becky—and should it prove fruitful, will become a permanently rebranding of the space.

And it could alter the Long Beach food scene for the Eastside.

remix kitchen bar
ReMix Kitchen Bar at Long Beach Exchange. Photo by Brian Addison.

Why is ReMix Kitchen Bar potentially rebranding to Chef Johnathan Benvenuti’s Bar Becky?

While ReMix Kitchen Bar—the Eastside, Long Beach debut of lauded Orange County chef and all-around great human Ross Pangilinan—has been vastly underrated since its opening mid-pandemic in 2020, it has been extremely difficult to connect with the Long Beach patronage.

Back when I talked with him last year, Pangilinan told me that many of the dishes and specials he offered at ReMix were “always been big hits in Orange County despite being actually more expensive there… We were trying to chase these different things and nothing has clicked. Did we not do it long enough? Did we not market it enough?” 

Those concerns, especially after a handful of years serving a community, can weigh on a chef-owner—and it seems only suitable to take a step back from the creative and focus on the business. It is both a humbling and necessary move for Pangilinan, who doesn’t want his Long Beach connection to be jerked from the outlet.

“We’re bringing on a really talented team and through a series of limited dinners, we’re going to see if it can work as a permanent concept,” Pangilinan said.

long beach food scene
ReMix Kitchen Bar at Long Beach Exchange. Photo by Brian Addison.

What to expect from the Bar Becky popup at ReMix Kitchen Bar as it premieres in the Long Beach food scene

“We’re gonna partner up and [Chef Johnathan is] going to take over the restaurant and be the face and the chef there while Jason Scarborough [the former bar head for Trust in Downtown Santa Ana and Pizzeria Mozza in Newport Beach] heads the bar program,” Pangilinan said. “I’ll still be involved but kind of on the backend of things as Chef takes on a series of dinners across multiple days in February.”

Those days—Feb. 14, 15, 17, 23, 24, 25, 28, and 29—will see Benvenuti take on full, prix fixe dinner menus with special wine and cocktail pairings provided by Scarborough. Following that, come Mar. 1, Benvenuti will have a limited set of a la carte offerings that will be a future preview of his permanent menu should the partnership work out.

“There are still many hurdles when it comes to rebrands—you can’t just change the sign overnight and there’s a lot of legalities like dealing with the landlord, ABC, and what not,” Pangilinan said. “If it works out, Bar Becky will become the permanent brand of the space.

bar becky
Chef Johnathan Benvenuti. Courtesy of FOX.

So what is the deal with Chef Johnathan Benvenuti?

Benvenuti’s long-time presence in Orange County—having worked at Chef Omar Santan’s Broadway and most recently at Trust in Downtown Santa Ana—primed him for what would be nothing short of a star-making turn on Season 22 of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen.”

And Bar Becky—named after his late mother—marks his first formal dive into the Long Beach food scene.

A fan favorite—and eventual runner-up to winner Chef Ryan O’Sullivan—Benvenuti’s Italian-American takes on food are both aesthetically beautiful and saliva-inducing. And for Benvenuti, the experience was so overwhelming positive that he would happily repeat it.

“Working with Gordon Ramsay has changed my life. He teaches you so much about professionalism and being a young chef,” he said in an interview with Mashed. “When you get to spend some time with him, you progress a little bit as a person and as a chef… By no means is he this mean, angry chef people think he is.”

ReMix Kitchen Bar is located inside the Long Beach Exchange retail complex, located at 3860 Worsham Ave. To make a reservation, click here.

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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