Restaurateur Moe Ghazi, owner of the popular Caffe Panini in Corona del Mar, has taken over management of Odessa restaurant in Laguna Beach, changed its menu, installed a new head chef and soon will be changing its name and opening for lunch.
Ghazi said he has replaced Odessa's French-New Orleans style cuisine with a palette of European and Pacific Rim offerings under the supervision of chef Chris Felippa, formerly of Citrus restaurant in Los Angeles.
A name change is pending, Ghazi said, "but we don't know what it will be yet." He said he is asking residents of the Laguna Beach area for suggestions as part of a campaign to bolster local support for the restaurant, owned by an investment group that includes former Los Angeles Lakers star Norm Nixon and his wife, actress-choreographer Debbie Allen.
Odessa has drawn much of its support from the tourist trade, "and you can't always count on tourism," Ghazi said in explaining the changes.