From the closing of a neighborhood Mexican restaurant in Pasadena to the return of L.A.’s most prolific restaurateur, here’s what’s happening in the Los Angeles food and drink world:
End of an era: If you’ve lived in Pasadena at some point during the last 50 years, chances are you’ve had a meal at Ranchero. The pint-sized, neighborhood Mexican restaurant opened on East Foothill Boulevard in 1969, and it has been a favorite with locals ever since. This is where you went for cheesy enchiladas swimming in red sauce that always threatened to slosh off the plate — and icy margaritas in giant coupe glasses. The restaurant, opened and still run by the Mejia family, will hold its last night of service on Saturday. According to a sign posted in the window of the restaurant, Ranchro is closing because it lost its lease. Over the years, the restaurant expanded to four locations, including a restaurant in San Gabriel, one in Duarte and one in El Monte, although they have all since closed. 2663 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena.
He’s back: Restaurateur Bill Chait (the man behind such noteworthy restaurants as Bestia, République and the Tartine Manufactory coming to downtown L.A.) has partnered with Jordan Ogron and chefs Raphael Francois and Sally Camacho to open Tesse, a new restaurant in West Hollywood. The West Sunset Boulevard restaurant is scheduled to open in March, in the same complex as the new Fred Segal store. Francois has worked as the executive chef at Le Cirque in New York City as well as at multiple Michelin starred restaurants in Belgium and Paris. Camacho has worked as a pastry chef for the Wolfgang Puck Group. The name is a nod to the French word délicatesse, which means “delicate.” It is also the name for “charcuterie” in French. Francois describes the menu as contemporary but casual, and the dishes will skew French. Alexis Readinger of Preen Inc. is handling the design of the restaurant. 8500 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood.
By the horns: On Verge Hospitality, the company behind the restaurants Ashland Hill, Art’s table, Margo’s and OP Cafe, has reopened the Golden Bull in Santa Monica. The restaurant, located at the bottom of the Santa Monica Canyon, has been open since 1949. The hospitality group closed the restaurant on Jan. 1 and partnered with the Golden Bull ownership to update the dining room and redo the menu. During the first two weeks, the new Golden Bull bar will be open with a limited menu, and the main dining room, with the full menu, will follow. Chef Jason Gonzales, formerly of Superba and Cliff’s Edge, is behind the new menu, which will include the Bull Burger (made with grilled Maui onions and smoked cheddar). Gonzales also plans to continue the restaurant’s tradition of having an Early Bird special from 5 to 6:30 p.m. 170 W. Channel Road, Santa Monica, (310) 230-0402, goldenbull.us.
SGV steak: EST. Prime Steakhouse, a steakhouse inside the new Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel Hotel, is now open. Executive chef Joseph Mills, recently the executive chef of the Westin Bonaventure, is helming the kitchen with a classic steakhouse menu that incorporates oysters from Morro Bay, Kobe beef, 35-day-aged Kansas City steaks and crab cakes. Mills is also using produce and herbs grown in a garden at the hotel. 303 E. Valley Boulevard, San Gabriel, (626) 639-0300, www.sheratonlasangabriel.com/san-gabriel-restaurants.
Making waves: Chez Melange restaurant in Redondo Beach is now a seafood-centric restaurant called Sea Change. The restaurant is part of a group of three concepts operating under one roof, all owned by Michael Franks and chef Robert Bell. A gastropub called Bouzy Gastropub is in the front, Sea Change is in the back, and an oyster bar — called Oyster Bar — is on the side. Chez Melange started as a single restaurant in the South Bay area 32 years ago, but split into the three parts when it moved to its current location in Redondo Beach in 2008. The new Sea Change features a seafood-focused menu that includes kung pao-style lobster, zarzuela (a Spanish seafood stew) and Hawaiian ono fish in a Thai coconut curry broth. 1611 S. Catalina Ave., Redondo Beach, (310) 540-1222, www.chezmelange.com.