After a year and a half, Nyesha Arrington will close her Santa Monica restaurant Native. The last night of service will be Sunday.
“It’s so sad because I just got it going,” Arrington said.
Despite rave reviews — Native was a Jonathan Gold pick for The Times’ 101 Restaurants We Love — Arrington said she’s been battling with the rising costs of running a restaurant in downtown Santa Monica.
“Minimum wage has gone up, and our rent is crazy and it’s just hard to turn a profit and consider it a business when it’s so much overhead,” said Arrington.
Celebrating Los Angeles and local farmers has been at the crux of Arrington’s approach since she opened the restaurant in late 2017. Her menu highlights ingredients from the Tehachapi Heritage Grain Project, Weiser Family Farms and Coleman Family Farms.
“It’s sad because I get to use these four walls to showcase the farmers and celebrate Los Angeles,” said Arrington. “Who knows? Maybe my story would have been different at a different location. I don’t know.”
Before Native, Arrington opened Leona in Venice; that restaurant has since closed.
When asked if she would consider moving Native into a space that was more sustainable financially, she responded: In a heartbeat.
“It’s cool now because females are being celebrated, African Americans are being celebrated, entrepreneurs are making a name for themselves and I’m all of those things,” Arrington said.