If there is one thing to be said about the year of 2023, it is that it feels distinctly different than 2022: Much more optimistic, with owners and chefs alike owning their resilience, and new business bringing hope against a triptych of years before that were anything but hopeful. And with that lovely mood and aura, it is only appropriate that many are hyped for the new restaurants opening in Long Beach in 2024.
We have an onslaught of new food that is on the books to come into Long Beach—and that means it’s time for a listicle of places that are hoping to open in 2024 (and I say “hoping to open” because there are some holdovers from 2023 that have been moved to this list—so send them all the good permitting/contracting/licensing vibes, food lovers.)
6420 Pacific Coast Hwy. #160
Announced back in October, Telefèric is the 30-year-old-plus Barcelona staple that will take over the former Hungry Angelina space (which closed in late 2022) at the massive 2nd & PCH retail complex in Alamitos Bay.
If among the gaps in the Long Beach food scene one were to be quite large, it would be proper Spanish food—tapas, paella, pitchers of sangria…—if you were to excuse our sole representer of Spanish cuisine, the highly coroporatized giant that is Cafe Sevilla in DTLB. The Social List, back in its wee baby days, attempted a pseudo-tapas space that had croquetas and pan con tomate—but eventually abandoned.
Technically having its roots in San Cugat, just slightly northwest of Barcelona, when it opened in 1992, pioneering what would become the Basque and Catalonia region’s staple: pintxos and tapas. The restaurant’s quick liege of patrons made its owners, brother-and-sister team Xavier and Maria Padrosa, open up shop in the bustling Barcelona to equal acclaim.
After coming to the States on a scholarship, Xavier—called “Xavi” by friends—wanted to open up shop in NorCal, eventually having spots in Walnut Creek, Palo Alto, and Los Gatos before opening their first location in Los Angeles earlier this year.
Could this be the most anticipated restaurants opening in Long Beach? It has competition from…
244 E. 3rd St.
Oh yes, Long Beach: Chivichangas and caramelos are coming as Sonoratown—the flour-tortilla empire that is a staple in Downtown Los Angeles and often appears on Best Of lists around the country—will be opening its first Long Beach location.
Opening in the former Under the Sun space across from Ammatolí on 3rd Street in Downtown Long Beach—which closed its doors back in March of this year—Sonoratown opened its OG DTLA location in 2016 followed by another location in Midtown near LACMA.
“I just wanted to let you know that we signed a lease on a space today in Downtown Long Beach—we’re over the moon,” co-owner Jennifer Feltham said. “Teo [Diaz-Rodriguez Jr., co-founder] went to CSULB and he’s always loved Long Beach so much. We’re both ecstatic to be coming to the neighborhood.”
Broken Spirits Distillery
244 E. 3rd St.
UPDATE (Feb. 6): Signage has officially gone up on the Broken Spirits Distillery building after the removal of the former Portuguese Bend signage started earlier. If all goes as planned, the space could be open by March.
UPDATE (Jan. 12): The Broken Spirits team has been held back by permitting issues, with the City claiming the patio wasn’t properly permitted; it is likely that, since the patio sits on public right-of-way and therefore falls under Public Works, they need to update their permit rather than go through the entire process of re-permitting. Lucius Martin of the Mayor’s Office has connected with the team to assist a smoother opening transition. Should the patio get permitted, Broken Spirits could be open by February.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: When it was announced in October of 2023 that the group behind Orange County’s wildly popular Smoke & Fire and Villains Brewing concepts would be taking over the former Portuguese Bend space, there was a huge sigh of relief: Portuguese bend was wrapped up in bankruptcy and drama following its abrupt closure in the beginning of 2023, marking the downfall of the city’s first formal distillery.
So it was only a good thing that the space (and its distilling equipment) wouldn’t be tossed away—and if there is anything to say about master distiller Max Stecca’s first look he provided me, we are in for a treat: In a serendipitous exchange, Stecca’s former workspace, Blinking Owl Distillery, found itself in its own between-owners drama, abruptly closing before Stecca was able to serve his first offerings of rums, whiskies, and aquavit. So he bought them back—and they will be among the first offerings when the distillery and restaurant hopefully opens in the first quarter of 2024.
New concept from owners of Padre/Mezcalero
310 The Promenade N.
UPDATE (Jan. 12): Owner Jay Krymis, who has been diligently renovating the space, says he hopes to open by Mar. 1.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: DTLB—amid the constant accusations that the neighborhood was diving into an impossible-to-get-out-of hole by pundits and local newsrooms alike—exhaled yet another sigh of relief: Following the announcement of the aforementioned Broken Spirits and the takeover of the former Beachwood space by ISM Brewing, the long-shuttered Lupe’s space was acquired by someone many know: the owners of Padre and Mezcalero.
Jay Krymis and Michel Verdi, husband-and-wife owners of Padre and Mezcalero in DTLB, will be taking on the space, filling a much needed hole at the Mosaic retail-restaurant-residential complex. The pair have long been searching for a new home: With the announcement that the building which houses Padre and Mezcalero at 525 E. Broadway will eventually be demolished to make way for a residential development, their entire team has been teetering on when, exactly, the closure would come—leading them on their years long search.
Jay said the space will be open in the first quarter of 2024.
12155 E. Carson St. (in Hawaiian Garden)
UPDATE (Feb. 6): Shor will be opening Feb. 9.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Announced earlier this month, Chef Imran “Ali” Mookhi’s high-end, premium alcohol-free bar space that is Shor in Hawaiian Gardens is being hyped as it takes over the massive space that was formerly home to Peri’s.
If one is wondering about Mookhi’s culinary pedigree, his Fullerton space, Khan Saab, is not just a local staple that has helped North Orange County redefine its conception of Desi cuisine—the Southeast Asian food that is centrally wrapped around the flavors of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and more—but twice recognized by the Michelin guide to Southern California. And now, he will be opening his Shor restaurant in Hawaiian Gardens come 2024.
Oh yes, bring on the naan, dal, curries, and kabobs.
Royal Indian Curry House
445 E. 1st St.
UPDATE (Feb. 6): According to co-ower Babbljit Kaur (aka Bubbly), it “all falls on the landlord as of now. The previous tenant has completely skipped town and left behind a lot—a lot. So we are hoping the landlord can handle the concerns. Once they are ready, so are we.”
UPDATE (Jan. 12): Ownership is cunrrently in a lock with City officials, with Bubbly noting that the space is having extensive work required that “puts everything up in the air.”
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Three months after it was announced that longtime East Village Arts District restaurant Utopia would permanently shutter, its new owners have already moved in and begun to alter the space—and that includes raising temporary signage.
Even better? It’s from the former owners of Natraj: In a story that is more cute than it is journalistic, one of my favorite workers at my local RiteAid—she goes by Bubbly—had mehndi on her hands, so I had presumed she had recently been to a wedding and she had. We talked about how much I loved the food my friends Pakistani-Cambodian wedding and that’s when I learned that her and husband Singh were the former owners before they sold. Formally known as Amarjit Singh and Babbljit Kaur, Bubbly told me they are trying to open a new space at 1st and Linden—and what do you know: It’s RICH.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
244 E. 3rd St.
UPDATE (Jan. 12): L’Antica da Michele formally opened in its doors on Jan. 5 in Belmont Shore. Take a look at the beautiful space, inspired by Palm Springs mid-mod architecture, by clicking here.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: When restaurateur Francesco Zimone of the famed L’Antica Pizzeria—whose motherland brand and location was the heart of the Italy section of the popular book and movie, “Eat Pray Love”—announced he was expanding his presence (all the way back in 2021) in the U.S., it came only a few years after opening his Hollywood location.
And to much of everyone’s surprise, one of the two California expansions included a location in Long Beach, taking over the former Papalucci’s space at the westernmost edge of Belmont Shore’s stretch of businesses.
There have been many updates, including a false hope that they would open by Thanksgiving of 2023. Zimone has invited me to check out the space and has a few more contracting issues to iron out before opening in the first quarter of 2024. Look for the first look inside in the coming days.
2306 E. 4th St.
Speaking of pizza…
For Long Beach Vegan Pizza—the pizza popup that has impressed vegans across the region and will move onto Retro Row into the former Scholb space at the southeast corner of Junipero Avenue and 4th Street for its first brick-and-mortar—its humble owner Paul Reese has always said one thing: It all began with a desire for a pepperoni pizza. A vegan one, of course.
“The whole journey of Long Beach Vegan Pizza started based off of pepperoni,” he said in a video showcasing his story. “My wife and I really wanted a good vegan pepperoni pizza and there was nothing around. We saw the opportunity and we said, ‘Okay, cool, we need to make an amazing pepperoni pizza.’”
By October of 2020, after multiple pepperonis, multiple doughs, multiple cheeses, they felt they had something worth selling and began selling online. Soon, with steady popups at spaces like Hi-Lo Liquor in DTLB, the brand began to grow and became not only a growing part of L.A.’s regional Black- and POC-owned vegan spaces scene but owned Long Beach as the premiere vegan pizza spot.
And now, they’re ready to expand into their first brick-and-mortar. Latest update? They have a health check next month with the hopes to open in the days following.
Grill ‘Em All
57 Bay Shore Ave.
UPDATE (Jan. 12): Grill ‘Em All will be moving its entire business operation to Long Beach, where it will be opening in the Bayshore concession stand location near the south end of Horny Corner. That means its flagship operation in Alhambra will shutter permanently, its last day of service being Jan. 21. Owner Matt Chernus expects to be open by February/March.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Yet another hyped restaurant opening that was supposed to happen in August of 2023 when it was announced they would be opening in Long Beach in May, Alhambra fave Grill ‘Em All has a cult-like following (hence the hyped-up-ness).
Grill ‘Em All has built a brand around its metal-inspired, “death to all false burger” mantra as it nears a decade of serving the Alhambra community. This follow its days as a food truck, where Grill ‘Em All blew up nationally after being featured on the Food Network’s “Food Truck Race” in 2010.
But steps have been taken forward: Their sign went up earlier this month with owner Matt Chernus gave up on his hopes of an August opening and is positive they will open up early next year if not sooner.
Ackee Bamboo Jamaican Cuisine
3222 E. Broadway
UPDATE (Feb. 6): Owner Marlene Sinclair-Beckford assured that “all is going well. Things are slowly but surely moving forward [with our new contractor].”
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Speaking of false hopes for opening, the famed Leimert Park legend that is Ackee Bamboo Jamaican Cuisine has been facing its own slew of uphill battles in getting their Broadway location open in the former Cafe Piccolo space.
The food coming from Ackee is important because there is a frank reality: The representation of Black food in Long Beach has dwindled along with the Black population itself—but for Blacks and non-Blacks alike throughout the city, the cuisines of the Caribbean, Africa, Afro-Latin America, and elsewhere are not only wanted locally but directly sought after by those locals in other cities.
After Cafe Piccolo closed their space on Broadway following decades of service, the owners of Ackee Bamboo Jamaican Cuisine announced their move-in last year. Owners Marlene Sinclair-Beckford and Delroy Beckford told me earlier this year that, praying construction follows through as planned, the restaurant hoped to open in May. Then they hoped to open by the fall.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen—but they hope within the first half of 2024, Long Beach will see its first Ackee.
57 Bay Shore Ave.
Announced back in July of 2023, the much-missed katsu burger joint that used to be in what is now Water’s Edge Winery will be returning—and it will open in the same building it used to be in.
Taking over the space that once occupied Revive Juice Bar, the succinct announcement provided little details about when but former owner John Bower—who also owns the downstairs watering hole gem that is the Blind Donkey and led the OG Burger Daddy space with friend Chef Justin Farmer—has clarified he will not be involved with the new iteration.
South of Nick’s
5354 E. 2nd St.
Nick’s Restaurant Group—the massive, Irvine-based group that is home to mid- and upscale restaurants through the region—has decided to expand its presence in Belmont Shore by providing a sibling to its Nick’s on 2nd location, South of Nick’s.
The group’s Mexican concept, announced all the way back in June of 2022, already has two locations in Laguna Beach and San Clemente; its Long Beach location will take over the historic building at 5354 E. 2nd St., formerly home to Citibank before it closed several years ago.
While it is certain that Nick’s doesn’t challenge much in terms of its food—the existing location on 2nd has a menu that has largely remained unchanged since its opening nearly a decade ago—and it is as straight-forward as an American restaurant can be: Excellently made steaks, sides like fried deviled eggs that rarely fail and a butter cake dessert which is one of the best in the city. And while it could certainly elevate with a bit more finesse and a bit more focus, as well as a shift in its layout, to achieve something like the elegance of Arthur J, Nick’s on 2nd has been an anchor in a Shore that has constantly changed.
The space applied for its alcohol license back in May and is still under construction.
Flamin’ Curry (second location)
3387 Atlantic Ave.
UPDATE (Feb. 20): Flamin’ Curry, the (rightfully) lauded fast casual Indian space in Belmont Heights, is opening a second location in Cal Heights (just south of Bixby Knolls) at the former Mustard’s space (which closed over a decade ago so for those that are searching for other surrounding food landmarks: Across the street from Dave’s Burgers and the gas station and next to Bamboo Teri House.
95 Pine Ave.
UPDATE (Feb. 20): Los Angeles mini-breakfast chain And Waffles (stylized as & Waffles) will be opening a Long Beach location at the former Pier 76 space in Downtown Long Beach at 95 Pine Ave. and is expected to open summer of this year. For more information about the place, read the original announcement.
Crazy Creole Sausage King
456 Elm Ave. (inside Partake Collective)
UPDATE (Feb. 20): Crazy Creole Sausage King—which used to operate a brick-and-mortar at 900 Long Beach Blvd. before shuttering in 2019 and going to strictly catering—will reopen inside the Partake Collective in the coming weeks. Expect the usual from the King: his much-loved Bayou Bowls, fried baskets, seafood boils, po’boys, and, of course, Boudin sausage.
Nothing Bundt Cakes
4680 E. Los Coyotes Diagonal
The popular bundt chain Nothing Bundt Cakes will be taking over the former Polly’s Pies space that closed at the corner of Los Coyotes Diagonal and Ximeno Avenue—and despite rumors, will not be becoming a “small-format grocer.” Founded by friends and then-neighbors Dena Tripp and Debbie Shwetz founded the business in 1997 out of their Las Vegas kitchens and its popularity has catapulted them to over 500 locations. But in all honesty, with Bundts on Melrose and Creative Cakery, Long Beach already has some stellar options.
Speaking of the former Polly’s Pies space…
4680 E. Los Coyotes Diagonal
UPDATE (Jan. 17): Cava will open on Friday, Jan. 19.
Opening in the same space will be Cava, D.C.’s homegrown fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant that has seen an explosion of expansion since its inception in 2010, but especially across the past five years: Not only does the company have over 70 locations across the states, Cava Group, Inc. scooped up another Mediterranean chain in 2018, Zoe’s Kitchen. That gave it over 300 additional restaurant spaces toward its portfolio.
What to expect? Lots of build-your-own or preset bowls filled with ingredients harissa honey chicken, spicy falafel, hummus, tzatziki, and more.
4720 Candlewood St. (in Lakewood)
The former Souplantation on Candlewood St. was demolished in April to make way for comedian and actor Kevin Hart’s plant-based Hart House restaurant. The tiny chain currently has two locations open, with another planned for Hollywood in addition to Long Beach.
“The menu features plant-forward food including sandwiches, salads, nuggets, fries, tots and milkshakes,” the company said in a press release in February of 2023. “Founded by Kevin Hart and a team of passionate partners, Hart House is committed to the future of food by disrupting the quick-service industry with an affordable and flavorful alternative.”
Beach Hut Deli
180 E. Ocean Blvd.
Since opening near Folsom Lake in 1981, Beach Hut Deli has expanded to over 40 locations across California (and now Arizona and Nevada)—and, as it was announced in July of 2023, it will open its first Long Beach location at the 180 E. Ocean building, currently home to Ruth’s Chris. Think higher-quality Subway, along the lines of Jimmy John’s and Jersey Mike’s (both of which have existing locations in DTLB).
5354 E. 2nd St.
UPDATE (Feb. 6): Signage has gone up for the space and co-owner Joshua Sanchez has reached out to “clarify confusion” over his initial interview with the Press-Telegram. Look for the piece in the coming days.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: The former Chianina space in Naples, Long Beach—which has long had an application notice for a change of ownership belonging to Drizzy Enterprise LLC—will become the 4 Shore restaurant, as was announced in April of 2023.
The space—a renovation on the existing space that will ditch the charcoals and blacks for pinks and golds, the centerpieces being a triple-arched bar with marble tile accents and booths with individual curtains and chandeliers—will harken to what Chianina focused in on: fine dining and exclusivity—though with a slightly different aura and attitude.
The brow-furrow-worthy name is just the beginning of what the 4 Shore hopes to be: While the restaurant’s play on “for sure” insinuates an über-casual if not outright lackadaisical vibe, owners Joshua Sanchez and John Ross III—both Long Beach natives with the former being a financial adviser for professional athletes and the latter a professional athlete himself, serving as wide receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs—will have a strict policy, enforcing both a dress code and mandatory bottle service for all tables.
777 E. Ocean Blvd.
Announced earlier this year, the quickly expanding, self-described craft breakfast sandwich chain that is Eggbred will be opening its first Long Beach location at the ground floor level of the Shoreline Gateway tower in Downtown Long Beach—as its owners have been trying to renovate and take over the space since the franchise agreement was signed in November of 2022.
Set to take over the building’s northern-most commercial space facing Alamitos Avenue at Ocean Boulevard, the Orange Country-based, pandemic-birthed concept from brand overseer Albert Shim has quickly expanded since opening in 2020: Come 2021, after franchising the concept and receiving some 200 inquiries to sign off on, he went with six new franchisees, including those in Long Beach and Huntington Beach.
Owners Goldie and Zach Brown had hoped to open in the spring of this year but have seen setbacks as the space required an entire build-out—Shoreline’s commercial spaces do not have kitchens pre-built, for example—on top of permitting, training, and brand coordination.
5201 E. 2nd St.
After opening earlier this year, it was announced in August of 2023 that YASU has closed up shop to make way for Turkish ice cream and dessert shop Dondurma, an expansion effort into food from the folks at Istanbul home.
Earlier this year, they announced they would also be opening Galata just east of Istanbul Home. Set to become a restaurant dedicated to the Turkish delights of their heritage, it will open in the former Buona Gente space, which closed in 2022 after serving the Shore’s community for over three decades. And can we somehow make Le Pink Wall a thing?
San & Wolves Bake Shop
3900 E. 4th St.
Speaking of sweet spaces, Kym Estrada’s wildly popular Los Alamitos monthly vegan pop-up, Sans & Wolves Bake Shop, will be moving beyond the popup world and into the former B&Q Art Gallery space on 4th Street for her first brick-and-mortar, adding to Long Beach’s growing Filipina-owned bake shops. (Shout-out to the OG Catherine Talentino of Gemmae and Maria Leyesa of Foodologie.)
Announced via Instagram back in August, what does this mean for Long Beach food lovers? A ton of vegan Filipino pastries: ube cookies, donuts, pan de sal, ensaymada, bibingka…
Moonbridge Doughnut Studio
6344 E. Spring St.
UPDATE (Feb. 6): Moonbridge Doughnut Studio has officially soft opened its doors as of Feb. 4.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: And speaking of even more sweets, Moon Bridge Donuts will be opening near El Dorado Park as first reported by Caitlin Antonios. Owners Anabelle Brown and Kim Gros supposedly have over 20 flavors they are working on that will be the final result of brioche donuts, cake donuts, crullers, old-fashioned, and bear claws.
“A beautiful blur of a December has gone by. We’ve been busy with buildout and training our dream team! All of us can’t wait to open our doors in January. Soft opening dates to be announced soon. The merriest of holidays to our dearest community,” the pair announced on Instagram.
5332 2nd St.
UPDATE (Feb. 6): Le Macaron soft opened on Feb. 6.
UPDATED ARTICLE: Founders Rosalie Guillem, who was living in Florida and her daughter, Audrey Guillem-Saba, living in France where the family is from, opened their first shop in 2009 in Florida. The shop has now expanded nationwide, being found in nearly every state with a continually growing presence here in California. They are expected to open in late summer.
Wild Fork Foods
6405 E. Pacific Coast Hwy.
Okay, so this isn’t quite a restaurant—but it’s definitely an important food space for exotic meat lovers that was formally announced earlier this month: alligator, ostrich, bison, rabbit… These are just a few of the some 500 varieties of frozen meats and seafood—flash frozen at some -40 degrees to reduce crystallization—offered by Wild Fork Foods, opening its first Long Beach location inside the former Ruby’s space at the southeast corner of 2nd Street and Pacific Coast Highway.
Crews have already demolished the entirety of the former diner’s interior, making way for what will be aisle upon aisle of both frozen and fresh offerings as Wild Fork Foods is mixture of both traditional market and specialty store.
Those aisles will feature everything from common meats—your good ol’ chicken and beef and what not—to their specialty meats and seafood—think razor clams, elk, whole turbot, goose, quail, kangaroo, and more.
2741 E. 4th St.
UPDATE (Feb. 6): El Sauz’s 4th Street location has officially opened as of Jan. 16.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: It was supposed to open Nov. 9—but that was a false start, as El Sauz’s second location on 4th Street across from Shady Grove Foods and Gusto has been put on hold.
Announced back in March of 2023 with their signage going up in May, their second location at the northwest corner of 4th Street and Temple Avenue will take over the former Bebot space. The original space on Anaheim—what used to be known as Brite Spot—skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade thanks to the restaurant’s taco window, which allows patrons to order tacos from outside and happily eat them in the chairs provided in the parking lot.
The Nook Breakfast Spot
1798 E. Willow St. (Signal Hill)
UPDATE (Feb. 6): The Nook has officially opened its Signal Hill location as of Feb. 3.
The Lomita-based Nook Breakfast Spot will be taking over the former GD Bro Burger spot in Signal Hill at 1798 E. Willow St. The spot is a straight-forward, breakfast-all-day joint that highlights the classics: From house-made biscuits and gravy to a seemingly endless variety of omelettes.
4150 McGowen St. (inside The Hangar)
After hosting a slew of popups—including showing up at Long Beach’s Rising Japan festival as well as the (vastly underrated and stellar) Sake Day Festival at Rancho Los Cerritos—Wagyu Street had announced they would be opening their first brick-and-mortar inside The Hanger at the Long Beach Exchange retail complex, playing of their other yakiniku-centric restaurant in Tokyo, Gyushige, which has long been a staple of grilled meats for decades now.