Tar Pit closes down, vows to return in new location
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Tar Pit, Mark Peel’s ode to the classic American supper club, is no more. Friday evening an invitation went out on Facebook to attend ‘Tar Pit’s Final Act’: ‘It is with great sadness that I spread this message but Tar Pit will be closing its doors for good following service tomorrow night. Please come out and say farewell to the beautiful space and the wonderful staff that bring it to life,’ the unsigned announcement read. [UPDATED: An earlier version of the story implied that Jay Perrin was still with the restaurant when it closed; he had already left the business.]
And then Saturday night the La Brea Avenue restaurant officially closed down, done in by the age-old restaurant bugaboo of a problematic lease, according to Peel. ‘I am sad we are closing here just because of lease problems,’ he texted Sunday night in response to questions. ‘I am proud of what we have accomplished. We are not selling, because we are keeping everything. We will be back in a new location with the core people.’
Tar Pit opened in December 2009, with Peel’s contemporary reimaginings of classic American supper club fare such as steak Diane, clams casino and lobster thermidor, and an inventive cocktail menu designed by New York mixologist-to-the-stars Audrey Saunders.
It received two stars from Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila, who described it as ‘a promising idea, and a good fit with the neighborhood, but ... still a bit rough around the edges.’
Peel’s landmark Campanile restaurant just down the street, now in its 22nd year, continues to thrive.
-- Russ Parsons