Thanksgiving meal planners looking for their favorite pies from Marie Callender’s this year will find a new restaurant in its place at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Burchett Street -- but the faces, surroundings and recipes will be familiar.
Gevik Beginian, the restaurant’s owner, decided last week to drop his franchise with Marie Callender’s -- which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection -- and opened his own restaurant called Serious Bar & Grill.
When he purchased the restaurant last March, it had been a Marie Callender’s, but the former owner had dropped the franchise. Beginian decided to return to the Marie Callender’s brand, but after some debt built up and he was forced to pre-pay for Thanksgiving turkeys, he decided Marie Callender’s wasn’t for him.
In addition to the unexpected debt, Beginian said he had invested about $200,000 in remodeling improvements, including getting rid of the carpeting and replacing it with hardwood floors. He also made extensive improvements in the kitchen, recovered the backs of the booth seats and replaced the sinks, mirrors and lighting fixtures in the bathrooms.
There are now French doors that separate the two large seating areas, new flat-screen TVs on the walls and ceiling fans in the outdoor dining area.
Beginian printed a new menu that looks totally different from Marie Callender’s, but the dishes are similar -- right down to the signature pies. The only difference, Beginian said, is that he had to find new crusts.
-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News
Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam