Santa Monica Place has just announced the fast-casual and chef-driven restaurants that will spring up once the classic Westside mall reopens with its new look towards the end of next year. The entire third floor will be dedicated to dining, with a 17,000-square-foot partially-glass encased and partially-open air dining deck. Among those offering quickies are Downtown’s Charlie Kabob, plus Chick n’ Ribs, which sounds self-explanatory, as well as Sushi Itto, Stefano’s Pizza, Fatburger, and Sarku outposts. Unfortunately, rather than getting a Guelaguetza or even a Lucy’s Drive-In for that matter, pinche Pinches Tacos will be there too, likely serving some of the most regrettable tacos we’ve ever had the misfortune to try.
After Westside Tavern’s debut, we are less in doubt of fine mall dining’s potential. So far, five chef-driven restaurants are being dangled in the hopes of luring fancy-pants foodies on shopping sprees. There will Chris Yeo’s Xino Restaurant and Lounge for gussied up Chinese food, another location of Richard Sandoval’s Sandia for modern Mexican, as well as another location of his pan-Latin Zengo (the chef must have the contract negotiation skills of Blackwater), as well as Ozumo for Japanese cuisine, and Pizza Antica, both upscale imports from Northern California.
While we’re sorry not to see some more of our local heroes appearing at this legendary local destination, we imagine there’s room for some shuffling before Santa Monica Place’s expected opening in late 2010. Til then, stay tuned.